Knowing the shutter count or the number of times a camera is triggered is a bit like knowing the number of kilometers a car has driven. You wouldn’t think of buying a car that has 500,000 kilometers on the clock, would it?
Well, it should be exactly the same when you want to buy (or sell) a used camera.
However, as with cars, not all cameras are created equal in terms of lifespan, since generally the “cheaper” the body, the shorter its lifespan.
For example, the Nikon D5 and the Canon 1DX Mark II, the two flagship of these brands, will have an estimated lifespan of around 400,000 triggers.
Most “consumer” devices will obviously last less, since their lifespan will be more around 100,000 – 150,000 triggers, or even less for low-end models.
Finding and knowing the number of triggers of your camera is therefore very important, since it will allow you to anticipate its resale: few experienced photographers will buy you a camera with a lot of triggers and therefore at the end of its life.
Unfortunately, this information is not easily accessible depending on the brands and the different models, so you will have to use external tools.
How to Find the Number of Shutter Counts or Triggers of a Camera?
First of all, I would like to point out that to know the number of times a camera is triggered, a very recent photograph taken by the camera will have to be used as a test. Indeed, it would make no sense to do this on a photo that is several months or years old, as the data would be distorted.
If you want to test the different techniques proposed in this article, I invite you to take a photograph immediately with your camera and to use only this one.
How to Find the Number of Triggers on A Nikon or Pentax Camera?
If you are using a Nikon or Pentax camera, you are the luckiest as these two marks keep the trigger count directly in the EXIFS of each photograph taken.
This information is therefore easily accessible and you just need to follow this method:
- Take a JPG photograph with your camera
- Transfer it to your computer
- Go to the Camera Shutter Count website
- Click on “Choose a file” and select your photo
- Click on “Upload “
- The site will then analyze the EXIFS (this is the information in your photo) to find the number of triggers of your device.
If you have a Mac, the operation is even simpler, since you just have to open your image directly with the preview software, then access the EXIFS menu.
How to Find the Number of Triggers on a Canon Camera?
If you have a Canon camera, it will be a bit more complicated than with a Nikon.
You can try using the camera shutter count site as well, but the number of compatible models is limited (you will find models that theoretically work on the site’s home page).
These little software are a bit dated, but will allow you to access the number of triggers of your camera.
All you have to do is connect your case to your computer using the USB cable supplied with your device, then launch the software so that it analyzes your hardware and gives you all the information you need.
If this still does not work, you will unfortunately have to send your camera to an authorized Canon repairer or directly to the manufacturer so that they extract the number of triggers for you.
How to Find the Number of Releases on An Olympus Camera?
The procedure is more accessible for users of Olympus cameras, since the number of triggers is visible directly in the camera menu. However, you have to do a series of manipulations to make a hidden menu appear.
Personally not having an Olympus device, here are the steps just below:
- Turn off the camera
- Hold down the “Menu” button then turn on the device
- Once the device is turned on, release the “Menu” button
- Press the “Menu” button again
- Access the LCD display brightness and temperature adjustment menu
- Successively press the right directional key, then the “Info” button then the “OK” button
- You then get a black screen with the model of your device and the software number at the top left of the screen
- Successively press the Up, Down, Left, Right arrows, then on the trigger button and finally on the Up arrow
- You finally arrive on the hidden menu of Olympus and the number of triggers of your camera is then on the second page.
- You just need to press the right arrow to access it.
- The number to take into account is the one starting with “R:”
How to Find the Number of Triggers on A Sony Camera?
Finding the number of triggers on a Sony is on the other hand much more difficult, the brand not having made this information easily accessible.
If you have a Sony Alpha, you can first try to use the site Sony Alpha Shutter Count and download a JPG photo directly from the device.
If that doesn’t work, or you have another Sony model, you can also try using myshuttercount.com, shuttercounter.com or camerashuttercount.com
The Other Methods to Find the Number of Triggers
If above mentioned different techniques do not work, here are some other methods that you can also try out to try and get your camera trigger count.
1. Access EXIFS Using Metadata Reader Software
EXIFS and metadata are all the technical information that was used to create your images. Among them, we find the best known which are the values of the aperture of the diaphragm, shutter speed and ISO sensitivity, which allow us to understand how the image was made.
However, dozens of other pieces of information are also recorded on every photo taken, and among them is the number of times your camera is triggered.
Here is a list of free software that provides access to this data.
Opanda (Windows) – Opanda is a small free software which allows to access the EXIFS of your photos. Once the software is installed, you just need to open a photo to get all kinds of information about your image. The number of triggers is then found at the bottom of the table under the name “Total Number”.
XnViewMP (Mac and Linux) – If you are a Linux user, the choice is more limited since only the software XnViewMP allows extensive access to EXIFS. Load your image into the software and look for the “Shutter Count” line to get the number of triggers for your device.
Note – This software also works on Windows.
PhotoME (Windows) – PhotoMe works the same as Opanda and you just need to open an image to get the EXIFS from it. Also look for the “Shutter Count” line.
ExifTool (Windows and Mac) – ExifTool is software developed by Phil Harvey which supports a large number of different devices and which allows to read and modify the metadata of the photographs.
Running on Mac, it is therefore a good alternative to XnView MP.
2. Use A Lightroom Plugin
Plugins are small pieces of software that are “grafted” onto Lightroom and allow you to do a lot of additional things. Among them is Metadata Viewer, a plugin that allows you to get a lot of information about our photos, including the number of triggers.
Once the plugin has been downloaded, go to Lightroom and click on the “File” menu at the top left, then on “Plugins Manager” in the drop-down menu to start the installation of Metadata Viewer.
Once the manager is open, proceed as follows:
- Click the “Add” button
- Go find the plugin folder on your computer
- Click on “Select folder”
- Click on “Done” to finalize the installation
Now all you have to do is select your last photo, then click on the “File” menu again, then “Plug-in – Extra” from the drop-down menu and click on “View Master Image Metadata” to open the plugin.
If the plugin doesn’t appear in the menu, simply restart Lightroom.
A new window will appear, then search for the term “Shutter Count” in the search bar to directly obtain the number of triggers of your camera.
Be careful though, because the plugin is free for 6 weeks only and you will need to donate to the author, Jeffrey Friedl, to continue using it afterwards.
3. Send the Camera to After-Sales Service
Since the number of triggers is not a standardized data among manufacturers, it is possible that absolutely none of the techniques presented in this article will work for you.
If this is the case, you will then have no other choice than to send your unit to after-sales service to obtain this information.
To see if the approach is worth the cost and the immobilization of your equipment.
How Not to Get Ripped Off When Buying A Used Camera?
As I said in the introduction, knowing the number of triggers of a camera that you want to buy is a bit like knowing the number of kilometers of a used car.
Unfortunately, in order to make significant profits, some unscrupulous sellers do not hesitate to tell anything and everything or even to tamper with their device, just as it is possible to tamper with a car speedometer.
Here is a simple measure to put in place to make sure you don’t get ripped off.
1. Ask the Seller for A Photograph Taken the Same Day
Asking the seller to take a photograph with the camera and email it to you will ensure that the camera is not at the end of its life.
You can then check with one of the methods presented in this article how many triggers the device actually sits at and whether the seller is being honest.
Of course, remember to also check that the shooting date of the photo corresponds to the current date and in order to ensure that the EXIFS have not been tampered with, do not hesitate to use several different methods.
If the seller refuses to comply with this simple request and send you a photo, then run away from him, because it’s a safe bet he is trying to cheat you.
2. Weigh the Pros and Cons
Brands often advertise on their website a shelf life for each of their products.
Some dealers are aware of this and sometimes tend to inflate this lifespan on their ads, so it is important to check the information directly with the manufacturer.
However, this data is not an exact science and some models will generally last, in practice, less or on the contrary longer.
Camera Shutter Life Expectancy Database (https://olegkikin.com/shutterlife/) is a collaborative site which allows to obtain an average of the lifetimes of cameras.
You just have to type in the search bar the model of your camera to access a table of average lifespans among users.
For example, Canon announces for its 5D Mark II a lifespan of 150,000 triggers, but looking at the data from Camera Shutter Life, we can see that many users of this model have reported having problems as early as 50,000 – 150,000.
However, it can also be seen that many report having pushed their camera up to 150,000 – 250,000 and some even went as far as over 250,000 photos.
It is up to you, therefore, to compare these different results before your purchase and to weigh the pros and cons: are you ready to take the risk or not of buying a device located near the most frequent “death zones”?
Be careful, however, because this data will also depend on each photographer and the care he has taken to his device and that, you cannot verify it.
That’s all for this article to get to know the number of triggers of a camera, a very interesting data and which allows to make sure to have a body that can still hold a while.
Good photos to you.