The shutter count, or shutter actuations, of a camera is the number of photographs that camera has taken. It is an important piece of information when buying a
used camera as it gives some indication of how much the camera has been used, but it is not the only indication of wear and the number itself needs to be viewed in
DSLR cameras have a mechanical shutter mechanism to cover and expose the digital sensor. Each time you take a photograph the shutter mechanism moves back and forth
across the sensor at a precise rate according to the shutter speed you selected. This is one actuation and adds one to the shutter count. Like any mechanical device
the shutter experiences wear and tear and eventually it will fail.
As the shutter is an important part of a DSLR’s inner workings people often use the shutter count as a proxy for how much the camera has been used. But there are
other indications of the kind of treatment a camera has endured. Dents, chips and excessive mount wear are all indications that a camera has endured a rough life and
may not have received the most loving care.
These indications can be more important than shutter count. After all a car that has gone a long way with a careful owner and received a regular service, will be a
better bet than one driven a shorter distance by a careless owner, bounced off every bollard and never oiled.
But unfortunately it’s more complicated than that. Not every DSLR records how often the shutter has been fired, and even the ones that do rarely record it in an
easily accessible manner. For many the number is recorded in the EXIF data (the meta data they attach to each photograph recording camera settings like aperture and
ISO) which can be read by photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop. But many don’t make it this easy and specialist (and often unreliable) software is required to
read it directly from the camera body’s hidden internal memory. And some simply don’t record it in any way meaning shutter count is not always the most reliable tool
for judging condition.
Despite not making it easy to find out the shutter count of their cameras, the big manufacturers have often released a ‘shutter rating’ for the shutter in each
of their DSLRs. This is the number of actuations the manufacturer has tested the shutter for while mounted in the camera. Of course, in reality the shutter may well
last much longer than this and they frequently do, this is the minimum the manufacturer would expect it to go for.
At Camera Jungle, we take the condition of our cameras very seriously. We take a close and technical look at the condition each one is in and make an assessment
based on shutter count, external condition, wear of the mount, grip and port condition and cleanliness among other factors. We then rate it as either Mint, Excellent,
Good, or (occasionally) Well Used. This complete rating gives you a better indication of the item you are buying than shutter count alone. But don’t forget, whatever
rating it has, a Camera Jungle camera will be in full working order and covered under our 12 month warranty.
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