What is Shutter Count in Digital Photography?

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What is Shutter Count in digital photography
What is Shutter Count in digital photography

Undeniably, the advances in the world of photography have rapidly increased since the the more affordable prices of DSLR camera. There are even beginner-class DSLRs that has a price tag In the $500 range. By purchasing a DSLR, a person will have the opportunity to learn more about photography while ensuring quality results in their photographs and avoid disappointment when using high ISO settings. All these comforts makes us excited to continue photographing and unknowingly produce thousands of photos in a short time.

But did you know that each shot of a DSLR camera is recorded and is stated and counted as “shutter count.” This count records the amount of shots the DSLR camera has taken since purchased. The part of the DSLR camera counted in the shutter counts is the shutter unit that mechanically opens and closes at a certain speed (up to 1/8000 second) every time the trigger button is pressed. On non-DSLR cameras, the shutter works electronically making it more durable. But in DSLRs, these shutters work mechanically, which makes them have a limited life span. For that, there are estimations and testing in the manufacturing plants to determine the shutter’s shutter count limit before it becomes problematic.

Low-end DSLRs have been tested to have a shutter limit of 50 000 shutter counts, and middle class DSLRs have been tested to endure over 150 thousand shots before becoming problematic. However, this figure is not set in stone. There are instances when DSLR units turns problematic before the shutter count limit is reached and then there are those that surpasses the limit without any problems for its users.

There are several factors that determine the durability of the shutter’s age:

– Usage: If you are the type of photographer that frequently uses high shutter speeds (over 1/1000 seconds), your shutter unit will have to work harder.

– Burst: If you often photograph using the continuous shooting mode, what with DSLRs nowadays being able to have shooting speeds of more than 5 frames per second, your shutter will also have to strain.

To know the shutter count of a DSLR camera isn’t a simple task. There are no immediate information on the LCD screen that states the shutter count. You may be mislead if you rely on the file numbers as the shutter’s count because these file numbers can easily be reset. Several image viewer softwares like the xN view enables us to view the shutter count data in the file’s property. You can also use Opanda or other image viewing softwares. If you upload a photo to flickr, you can also see the technical data there, complete with the DSLR camera’s shutter count.

Because shutter counts are like the mileage of a car, when we conduct pre-owned DSLR transactions, this is the first value checked. Large shutter counts will decrease the value of that DSLR. Shutter units can be replaced and done by authorized agents at the cost of about $100 USD.

So learning photography using a DSLR, in one hand, is the right way to go because the camera does support all the fun manual settings for that rich learning experience. However on the other hand, do not take too long to learn because your DSLR may outlive your progress in learning the craft.

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