Sunday, March 28, 2010

Shutter Actuation Count

So, considering how much I've been shooting since I bought my D90 back in January of last year, I have been curious to know how many shots I've taken and how many shots my camera can take before the shutter could go.

I spoke with several "professionals" in camera shops throughout San Diego who stated adamantly that there were no ways to find out how many times I had activated my shutter. I decided to do my own digging and discovered several method to check the shutter use:
  1. Preferred Method: Download this neat and simple utility called Preview Extractor. I just used it on Windows 7 and it worked great.
  2. Upload your pictures to Flickr untouched and check the exif information on Flickr by clicking on MORE in the Additional Information section. I've tried this method several times and have yet to find my shutter actuation count there, but some people swear it works.
  3. Use Photoshop C3 (could not reproduce in C4) by clicking File\File Info\Advanced. From there, open up the 4th item ( and look for the line called aux:ImageNumber: The number listed in the number of shutter actuation count.
I'm sure there are more freeware out there that will do the same trick; just google Shutter Actuation Count to find them.

The second question I had was how many actuations until my shutter would die. I ran a quick goggle search for "D90 shutter life" and found out my camera could go to 100,000. You would think this would be good for a lifetime and that's what I thought until I ran my new little utility and discovered that in less than a year and a half, I have already taken ... you're ready for this? 38,492 pictures. No wonder I keep running out of room on the old external hard drive.

So my final question was how much would it be to replace the shutter. Again, the professionals threw their hand up in the air and told me that by that time, it would make more sense to buy a new camera. The camera I would have to buy, to be comparable to my D90 now, would cost anywhere between $900 - $1,500. If the shutter replacement will cost less than $400, I think it makes sense to get a new shutter. So off to google I went again and found some information. The research I've done has shown me that replacing a shutter will cost about $300 to upgrade to the 300,000 actuations going through Nikon directly.

For me, it's a no brainer. I absolutely love the D90 and will only replace it when I can upgrade to a fully professional camera. I would love this little jewel:

Of course, I will have to wait a while before I can splurge for this beautiful piece of equipment. In the mean time, I will probably settle for a $2K - $3K camera like the D300:

I never said this was a cheap hobby.

Keep an eye how for a couple of how-to posts I am working on and as always, please throw me some feedback:
I look forward to hearing from you.

1 comment:

  1. You should run a sole proprietorship and can therefore write-off your equipment purchases from your taxes.

    With my film camera, I may have shot 1 or 2 (36 exp) rolls of film a week, max. I typically shoot 300+ photos per day (when I'm shooting) with my digital. If I'm at an event, 1000+ easily.