Life expectancy of a DSLR

How long should your DSLR last?

I have no idea since it depends on how often you use it and how you baby it.

I have 4 DSLRs and I only have 2 hands.

All but the 40D is in good working condition. That particular camera has its days and is probably due for a repair.

A best guess is usually based on how many shutter actuations (fancy speak for how many times the shutter has been tripped) assuming that you never drop the camera or use it as a bashing implement.

The most vulnerable part of a camera body is the usually the shutter followed next by the lens mount.

The shutter is under the most stress on the entire camera body because that little piece has to provide let in light for durations of 1/8000 sec and perhaps 30 seconds.

The tension in the springs to generate that and then to dampen the vibration is enormous.

I was curious about what happens when a DSLR is refurbished since I bought one recently.

An online search turned up this free application (Windows only)  by the name of EOS info which can read the number of shutter actuations.

Nikon users can try Opanda IExif. Please note I say try. I haven’t tried that since I don’t have a Nikon DSLR handy.

Perhaps one of you Nikon shooters who read this blog can test this and let me know under comments.

Attach your DSLR to your computer with a USB cable and then launch EOS Info.

Check that number against the database found on

Canon users, if you don’t find your model, in the search field enter “Canon EOS……”  Don’t forget the letters EOS.

So how accurate is this? After I read the number for my Canon 5D Mark 2, I fired off one frame and then reconnected the camera to my wife’s old Windows laptop, launched EOS info and lo and behold, the counter changed by one.

Is this useful info?

I think so if you’re thinking of buying a used camera.

It’s probably like the odometer reading on an automobile.

Low mileage = low shutter actuations.

I went online and looked up camera destruction, found this video. Not for the faint hearted.

9 thoughts on “Life expectancy of a DSLR”

  1. Hi Peter, I’ve tried several programs. None work. I have a Windows computer in my house. I’ll give your app a try. I’ve read dozens of forums, all saying that they can’t find a program to read the 7D. I can read all of my other cameras, but for some reason the shutter count on the 7D remains blank when all the other info is shown. I’ll let you know what I find. Thanks for your help.

  2. Rigo,
    If anyone can find this info about the Canon EOS 7D, I know you can.

    I came across an app that claims to be able to read this EXIF info but it wasn’t free.

    Do you have access to a Windows computer? This app is free. I don’t own a Canon EOS 7D, so I can’t test this. If you know someone with Windows, see if this will work with your 7D

  3. Paul,
    How nice to hear from you! Holy Moley is correct. If what is stated on that page is true about your D2000, you must have one of those rare ones.

    We both know those are just averages numbers. I don’t know how stock we can place on those numbers but it’s all we have to go on.

    Remember when we bought used film cameras? Their shutters were very reliable. But then again, we could only blow through a 36 roll of film and stop and reload.

    Nowadays, as long as we have fresh batteries and large enough memory card….

  4. Morning Peter.

    Thanks for the info.

    I downloaded the EXIF reader for Nikon and it works. It says my d200 has over 160000 shutter trips! Holy Moley!

    But I had it cleaned and checked with a new mount and the shutter adjusted two years ago and haven’t really used it as much as before the checkup.

    Thanks again for the info Peter.

  5. Jim,
    I had a feeling I could count on you to help me out where Nikon gear was concerned.

    Yes, Kai from is quite the character especially with his British accent. It was difficult for me to watch the abuse he put those camera through though funny or otherwise.

    Thanks again for your help Jim.

  6. I’m a Nikon shooter and use Opanda IEXIF Peter. It works and is easy to use.

    Thanks for posting that video from Kai and DigitalRev. I like that guy and his videos are fun to watch.

  7. Hi Andy,
    Thanks for visiting my blog and sharing your experience.

    I don’t know if the professional photographer you dealt with meant to deceive or take advantage of you, but this little titbit can at least give you some insight.

    Camera owners can’t hide that info. Unlike automobiles, sellers are under no obligation to disclose this info. If you visit professional photography websites where there are classified ads for selling and buying used gear, the reputable sellers will actually disclose this.

    Come to think of it, even some “professionals” are unaware of this.

    If I were in the market to buy a used DSLR these days, I would certainly use that info I get from EOS info to negotiate prices.

  8. Yup. Used EOS info to keep me from getting screwed when I was looking for a 40D on craigslist. Beware of professional photographers who don’t list this info or don’t want you to see it. I loaded eos info on a laptop and showed up to look at the camera ….wayyyyy too many clicks for what the guy was asking.

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