In this article we will look at 3 different ways that will let you know how many shutter actuations your camera has made so far. This article will be dealing with Nikon (also works for Pentax bodies) camera’s, but if you have a Canon body then you can use the free EOS Info tool created by David at AstroJargon which was created specifically for Canon bodies. The reason that the methods listed below won’t work for Canon bodies, is due to the fact that the shutter actuation count isn’t stored in the EXIF information on Canon bodies. To use the EOS Info tool, simply connect your Canon camera to your computer and start the program. Another great tool to check the shutter actuation count on Canon bodies, is the Shutter Count tool which works in the same way as the EOS Info tool above.
So why would you want to know your camera’s shutter actuation count?
Well, for one thing your camera’s shutter has a maximum amount of shutter actuations. After it reaches this amount, then it may require the shutter unit to be replaced. For example, my Nikon D300s has a maximum number of actuations of 150,000 which I am nowhere near yet. However, if I were to ever want to sell my camera, then the new owner would want to know what the shutter actuation count is so that he or she can get an idea of how much the camera has been used in the past, and if it is nearing the maximum limit for the unit. If you are interested in knowing what you camera’s actuation limit is, then head over to Olegkikin.com which has a selection of some of the most common bodies, although it is missing some of the latest models. If you are unsure then consult your user manual.
Below is what the shutter unit looks like on a Nikon D3s. The average shutter life expectancy on the D3s is around 300,000 cycles.
Please note that I have tested these methods with multiple images so my count will change from shot-to-shot. For Photoshop you can either use a jpg or RAW (NEF) file. For the other methods below, you can only use a jpg.
If you have a copy of Photoshop, then this is very straight forward indeed. Simply open a recent picture in Photoshop and go File>File Info
This will open the main metadata viewer for the image. To find the shutter count number simply head to the Advanced section. (this screenshot is from CS3, but later version will have the information tabs along the top of the window) Once there select the http://ns.adobe.com/exif/1.0/aux line and expand by clicking on the + (plus) symbol. The Image Number should now present itself.
Upload a recent image to Flickr and check the EXIF information via the site. If you don’t have a Flickr account, then it’s very simply (and free) to create one. You also get a whopping 1TB of storage for free.
Once you have uploaded your image and have it showing, select the additional options icon at the bottom of the screen to see the available choices.
Select View EXIF info which will then give you a long list regarding everything about the image and camera/lens. The information you want is the Image Number which is located towards the bottom of the list. Scroll down to find it.
Method 3 (Windows-based EXIF tool)
I have tested out quite a few EXIF tools, but most don’t actually show the shutter count number even though it is present in the EXIF data when using the above methods. However, one tool that did find it and is free to download and use, is ExifTool which was created by Phil Harvey. The tool can be downloaded over at the CNET site, but I would advise that you use the Direct Download Link as CNET are notorious for bundling loads of crap with their downloads. The direct download link is here.
Once you have downloaded the program, unzip it and place it at the root of your C: drive or where ever you wish. Now simply drag-n-drop your image onto the executable (you don’t need to run the program)
This will then open a command prompt and list the EXIF information for you. You will want the Image Number which will be located somewhere in the middle of the list.
Please bear in mind though that if you bought your camera second-hand, the actuation number may have been re-set by the previous owner. If this is the case, then you won’t be able to get an accurate reading for your camera. Check with the previous owner to see if this has been done, although for the most part, people won’t do this.
That’s it, I hoped that helped.