Closeup of finger on shutter button of DSLR

Shutter Count Guide: Nikon, Canon, and Sony

Modern cameras have complicated electronics, but only a few moving parts. The most important are the shutter mechanism and the motor that flips up the mirror in a DSLR. As a camera gets older, it’s important to be aware of your camera’s shutter count. This is also very important when considering purchasing a used camera.

What is Shutter Count?

Shutter count is the amount of photos that your camera has taken. It’s an important number that indicates the life expectancy of your camera. It’s a mechanism that flips a DSLR’s mirror out of the way, built from tiny and delicate parts. Then, a curtain will move from top to bottom, exposing the sensors, followed by another curtain covering it. This process also often moves incredibly quickly, which can subject them to a surprising amount of force:

For example, if you’re taking a picture in bright afternoon sunlight, your shutter may only be open for 1/1000 of a second or less. In order to stay open for such a short amount of time, it needs to start moving very quickly and then stop moving just as fast.

Over time, the forces involved in opening and closing the shutter are going to lead to the parts wearing out and the shutter mechanism breaking down. When this happens, you may have to either send the camera back to the manufacturer to replace the shutter mechanism–which is expensive and time-consuming–or get a new camera.

Fortunately, shutter mechanisms are built for a fairly large number of actuations. In most cameras, the shutter is rated for at least 100,000 to 200,000 shots, with top-tier pro models rated even higher. It’s also common for camera shutters to last far longer than their official rating.

For casual shooters or even many semi-pro photographers, this could be enough to last for many years and longer than you would want to keep the camera. Heavy shooters, though, will start to run into problems much sooner. If you shoot 2,000 shots a week (not difficult for certain types of photography, such as weddings and events), you might only be looking at a year or two before hitting the shutter lifespan.

If your camera is starting to get some age on it or you are looking at buying a used piece of gear, it can become important to check your shutter count to know how close you are to reaching the shutter’s limit. After all, the last thing you want is to have your shutter fail during the middle of an important shoot.

How To Check Shutter Count

Luckily, camera manufacturers build a tool into a camera to keep track of the shutter count. It’s not always easy to access this data, however. Depending on your camera, there are many ways to check your shutter count.

What is EXIF Data?

All cameras store a lot of info in each image’s EXIF data. For many cameras, such as most Nikons, most Sony Alphas, and some Canons, this includes the shutter count. You can use any program that will show you the complete EXIF data (not just an image viewer that only shows the basic information) and look for a line that says something like Image Number or Shutter Count.

Adobe Photoshop will show your EXIF data by clicking on File Info in the File menu and clicking on the Raw Data tab. You can view complete EXIF data on images uploaded to Flickr. There are also a large number of websites that will allow you to upload an image and will tell you the shutter count.

Alternatives for Canon Cameras

For Canon cameras, if the shutter count isn’t saved in the EXIF data, there are some alternative tools you can use. If you use a Mac computer, the Shuttercheck App will connect to your camera and show your shutter count. The firmware hack Magic Lantern also adds the option to view shutter counts directly in the camera.

Shutter Count Ratings

Different cameras have different shutter counts ratings from their manufacturers. These ratings are what the camera makers expect the minimum shutter life to be. Depending on how you use your camera (and your general luck), your actual shutter life may be lower or far higher than what the manufacturer states.

Canon Shutter Count Ratings

Canon has released shutter count ratings for most of their cameras above the Rebel line. Only some of the Rebels have official ratings available.

Camera Model Shutter Rating
Canon 1D X Mark II 500,000
Canon 5D Mark II/III/IV 150,000
Canon 6D Mark II 100,000
Canon 7D Mark II 200,000
Canon 60D/70D/80D 100,000
Canon T5i/T6i 100,000

Nikon Shutter Count Ratings

Nikon also states shutter count ratings for most of their camera models.

Camera Model Shutter Rating
D4/D5 400,000
D500 200,000
D850 200,000
D3500 100,000
D5600 100,000
D7500 150,000

Sony Shutter Count Ratings

Sony has for the most part avoided giving official shutter count ratings on their cameras. The only models that have been given an official statement for their shutter count lifespan are the a7R II, a7R III, and a9, all of which are rated for 500,000 actuations. It’s common to hear comparisons made between camera shutter counts and car mileage. While this isn’t exact, it can give a useful frame of reference about how long to expect your camera to keep working well. Like with mileage, this value is generally a suggestion and not a rule. You can get far more or less life out of your camera than their official rating. If you’re preparing for a major shoot or looking at buying a used camera, know if you’re near the rating to avoid potential problems.

Alexandria Huff's photography and lighting tutorials can be found on 500px and her blog. See her lighting tutorials here. She is a Marketing Associate Manager at She learned about lighting and teaching while modeling for photographers such as Joe McNally and has since gone on to teach lighting workshops of her own in San Francisco. Before focusing on studio portraiture, she shot motorsports for X-Games, World Rally Cross, and Formula Drift. See her chiaroscuro-style painterly portraits on her website.


  • Bob McAnally

    I found a used camera web site that actually shows shutter count on many of their cameras for sale.

    Drill down on “SHOW STOCK” for a particular camera.

  • DK

    find an online shutter count where you upload an image from the camera.
    google, how to get a shutter count from a Nikon Z50.

  • Ed

    EOSinfo is no longer available.



  • Marcos

    Tengo 4 cámaras: Sony, Panasonic, Nikon y Canon….En NINGUNA pude obtener un puñetero recuento de disparos….Estos counter son, a no dudarlo, un fiasco y una ventajeada..,


    Non ho trovato il numero degli scatti possibili sia sulla D5000 sia sulla D60 NIKON. Chi ha fatto la sostituzione dell’otturatore quanto è costato?? Cortesemente mi date notizie sulla mia email Grazie.

  • Jerold Scripter

    Many cheers for sharing!

  • tGrudzinski

    you have to take a photo to read the count. At zero frames, there is not a jpg to downlaod

  • HvH

    Well… I’m testing this on/for a Nikon D90 that I’m selling, but I can’t get any number out of the exif data. All websites give an error and I can’t find it in Photoshop Elements.

    Do you have any suggestion for me to get this working?

    Kind regards,

  • David

    This was a great article as I just bought a new Nikon D3500. I checked it out of the box and the shutter count was 1.

  • Stevie Opp

    This is normally very informative content plus written well for a change. Is actually nice to see that will some people still understand the best way to write a new quality publish.!

  • Alexandria Huff

    That is an excellent question – I’ve never thought about this before and hunted around for an answer. There is a lot of debate around it but it appears that most cameras, indeed, just have a shutter count of zero when brand new. Sometimes people see up to 50 but it’s apparently pretty rare. If cameras are being tested – necessitating a certain number of shutter clicks – they are likely reset prior to going out anyway.

  • Michael Rianda

    Nice article.
    On a new camera, should the shutter count be ZERO?
    Would factory tests, prior to shipment, show when a shutter count above ZERO on a new camera fresh out of the box?

  • Royce Duewall

    What a rare piece of luck! What happiness!

  • john zerzan

    thank you x art

  • Glow Dude

    Its always nice to see a glowing good blog post.

  • john yates

    thank you for your support

  • Andrew

    Have 2 Nikon D750
    1 – 380 605
    2 – 200508
    All working done…

  • Suman George

    Things explained perfectly in simple manner.
    Thank you for educating us on it. I am planning to buy used camera and your suggestions will go a long way

  • Bech

    Ce pa vrai pour le canon 5d mark 2

Comments are closed.

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