How to Find Total Shutter Actuations on Nikon and Canon DSLRs

During the last several weeks, I have received several requests from our readers about finding the total number of shutter actuations on their DSLRs. I decided to write a short article on how you can find the total shutter actuations on both Nikon and Canon DSLRs, in case you are interested in seeing how much you have been using your camera or how close your shutter speed is to the manufacturers’ rated shutter life of 150,000 (on most entry and mid-level cameras) or 300,000 (professional cameras).

1) EXIF Data

The information on the total shutter actuations on your camera is preserved in file headers, known as “metadata” or “EXIF”. If you do not know what EXIF is and what it is used for, check out my “What is EXIF” article that I wrote a while ago. Basically, your camera writes all exposure-related information such as date, time, shutter speed, aperture, ISO and a bunch of other important information into the header of each file. Some camera manufacturers like Nikon and Canon also add unique shutter actuations data fields that are used for seeing the total number of exposures or “shutter actuations” cameras have.

2) Switch to JPEG format

If you are shooting RAW, it is best to switch to JPEG format just for getting the required information from your camera. While the camera native RAW format preserves all of the EXIF information that is coming out of the camera, third party conversion software like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom can strip out some of the proprietary EXIF data, including the number of shutter actuations. Therefore, switching to JPEG will allow you to view EXIF data straight, without having to import the image into Lightroom or Photoshop first. It doesn’t matter what size of JPEG files you choose – even JPEG BASIC works fine. Once selected, take a picture of anything you want.

3) Download EXIF viewer

In order to view the proprietary EXIF information from files, you need to use an image EXIF viewer that does not strip out anything from the file. Unfortunately, almost all current image viewers only display generic EXIF data that most people use and ignore the rest. Instead of properly reading EXIF data from files and then parsing the results, they typically just look for generic EXIF tags within the file and display them when they are available. If something is not available, it stays blank. To reduce the number of blank items to the minimum, they only provide generic information that is more or less standardized across most camera manufacturers.

Since these kinds of image EXIF viewers are not going to work to find the total shutter count, we will need to use less popular versions of EXIF data viewers, such as Phil Harvey’s “ExifTool” and Opanda’s IExif.

4) Viewing Shutter Count EXIF Data via ExifTool

Once you download the single ExifTool executable from this website, move it to the root drive of your main drive (typically C: on Windows and / on MacOS), then open up the command prompt via Start->All Programs->Acessories->Command Prompt. If you are using a Mac, fire up the shell terminal. Type “cd c:” in Windows or “cd /” in MacOS to be in the same folder where the ExifTool executable resides. Then type:

  1. Nikon DSLR:
    exiftool source_jpeg_file.jpg | find "Shutter Count"
  2. Canon DSLR:
    exiftool source_jpeg_file.jpg | find "Image Number"

Obviously, replace “source_jpeg_file.jpg” with the name of your actual JPEG file. The program should return something like this: “Shutter Count: 19889” or “Image Number: 19889” – the number to the right of the string is the total shutter count on the camera.

5) Viewing Shutter Count EXIF Data via Opanda IExif

If you do not want to mess with command prompts, the best alternative is to use either Opanda IExif (for Windows). Just download the latest version of Opanda IExif and install using defaults.

Once the program is installed, open it up and then click the “Open” button to browse to your file. Select the JPEG file and you will see something like this:

Opanda IExif

Opanda IExif

Now scroll down until you see either “Total Number of Shutter Releases for Camera” and note the number:

Opanda IExif Shutter Count

Opanda IExif Shutter Count

Simple EXIF Viewer for MacOS has a different interface, but works similarly.

If you shoot with a Canon camera and your shutter count is not displayed by any of the above images, check out this website.


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Avatar of Nasim Mansurov About Nasim Mansurov

is a professional photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. He is the author and founder of Photography Life, along with a number of other online resources. Read more about Nasim here.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Rahul

    hi Nasim,

    You have a very nice site/blog , excellent for newbies to understand photography terminology, and superb bird photos ( not to say the others aren’t , the ones I saw were mostly birds). I too voted for you and it’s good to see you up in 2nd spot ! Hope you get the 1st spot !

    One question about shutter count , rather two questions :
    Doesn’t the camera itself have a function that shows shutter count readout on the LCD ?
    I read that shutter replacement itself costs 1/2 the price of the camera , having read replacement costs like 200 or 300 Euro. That is mighty expensive , is the shutter really that expensive ? I thought the sensor would be the most expensive part of the body.

    Phew , ok more questions !
    I had been looking for a D90, but it is now unavailable . I chose the D90 over D5000 mainly because of the AF motor, dual control dials, prism VF , the higher battery capacity and optional grip along with better LCD cemented it further. But are AF lenses still sold , or are all new lenses AF-S , making the in-body AF motor less relevant as I won’t be buying used lenses. Are in-lens motors more likely to fail than in-body AF motors ? A motor is a machine , thus likely to fail sometime, and so I expect AF-S or Canon EF lenses won’t last as much compared to non-motorized lenses , is it correct ?

    My choices are to either by a used D90 (again not easy to find, I found one but with no warranty ) , buy a lower segment body like D5000 or D3000 (D3100 not launched yet) , or wait 1 year for the D95/D7000 (D90 successor) which rumors say is an awesome camera – magnesium body , 6-8fps , 16MP but with better high ISO performance than D90, 100% VF and dual card slots , and a hefty price ( hence the 1 year, for the price to reduce to something I can afford )!

    What do you suggest I do ? How is the D3100′s low light performance compared to D5000′s ?

    Sorry if ask too much, but

    • 2
      ) Rahul

      Eh, my post is missing some text !

      Sorry for asking so many questions in one go …google doesn’t have all the answers, or maybe not easily found answers.

    • Thank you Rahul!

      In terms of shutter count, the camera only shows what is left on the memory stick or will show a number next to a file name, which is only the last 4 digits. Once you go over 9999 images, the sequence starts over… And yes, shutter replacement is expensive because they have to open the camera up and it is not easy to do.

      In terms of focus motors, there is no such thing that they fail more often than cameras without them, so don’t worry about that.

      As for your D90 purchase – if you have not done it already, wait for a few weeks and see if Nikon announces an update or not. Even if you can’t buy one now, the price on the used D90 cameras will drop by at least 50-100 USD.

      In terms of D3100 vs D5000 – don’t know yet, need to perform some tests.

      • 4
        ) Rahul

        hi Nasim,

        Thanks for your replies. It’s surprising that manufacturers don’t display full camera information within the camera display itself.

        About AF motors, I think you misunderstood me. I mean to say if, is the in-lens AF motor as all Canon EF lenses and Nikkor AF-S have, more likely to fail than the in-body AF motors that only semi-pro and pro level Nikons have ?

        So I guess you haven’t spent much time with the D3100. I was hoping to get a good idea of the D3100 low light shots, to guess if the D95/D7000 might indeed be worth waiting for in terms of low light performance , considering the increase in pixel count over the D90.

        Thanks again, I’ll be on the lookout for a D90, new or used for some time anyhow.

        • Rahul,

          I don’t believe anybody tracks how many AF motors in cameras die vs in-lens motors. I have many lenses with AF motors and never had a single one fail…maybe others do not get as lucky.

          I’m hoping to get the D3100 this week.

          • 8
            ) Rahul

            Hi Nasim,
            I did read someplace about in body motors outlasting in-lens motors, but not much else and no stats or numbers. I certainly hope they last, good lenses aren’t cheap !

            Hope to have your D3100 review soon , am most interested in how it does at in low light/high ISO conditions( and D7000 vs D90 on the lines of D90 vs D300s comparison too if/when you get your hands on the D7000) !

            • Rahul, lenses have a 5 year warranty versus 1 year camera warranty, so I would not be too concerned. Normally, cameras die faster than lenses, not the other way around…

              Hopefully to get the D3100 tomorrow morning.

  2. 5
    ) Amit

    Is it expected that the first photograph from a Nikon DSLR will have an exif with shutter count as 1?

    • Amit, technically, yes, it should. However, the count might be a little higher due to manufacturer’s QA process.

  3. 10
    ) Taz

    Hi I have a Nikon D700 it is showing the following data:

    Total Number of Shutter Releases for Camera = 23

    does this mean thats the total number of actuations it is a new camera please help :-)

    • Taz, yes, that means that the camera has had 23 actuations. This is normal – most likely the result of some tests during the camera QA process.

  4. 12
    ) Kevin Martini

    This doesnt seem to work for my Canon 50D:

    $ exiftool /Users/Kevin/Desktop/exmast.jpg | find “Image Number”
    find: Image Number: No such file or directory

    $ exiftool /Users/Kevin/Desktop/exmast.JPG | grep “Image Number”

    Have they changed the name of the variable from “Image Number”? I tried just scrolling through the whole list that exiftools spits out when you remove the find/grep after the | and I still wasnt able to see anything about total actuations…

    • 13
      ) Dragormir

      I have the same problem as Kevin Martini: cannot find the variable named “Image Number” when I analyze data with exiftool from a photo taken with Canon 40D.

      I want to buy this camera from a guy that lives 300km away, and I have to find out the real number of shutter actuations, so I asked him to send me some photos that were actually taken today with the camera so I can run them through exiftool. He did, but I feel a bit stupid now, since I cannot find the number at all :(

      Please advise if you have any additional info on this.

      Tnx!

  5. I heard there are cancount.exe that can do canon shutter count, does it still exist? or it is just a rumor?

  6. 15
    ) parham

    thanks a lot for your information but the thing is i download the program (Opanda IExif) its work perfect but it doesn’t show total number of shutter i dont know how to find out ,its very important for me bec im gonna buy a camera from my friend if you can help me for that ill be appreciate thanks parham

  7. There are plenty of websites out there that allow you to simply upload a jpeg right out of the camera to check the shutter count.

    • 17
      ) parham

      So what website is that can you give me that website ?

      • http://www.nikonshuttercount.com provides the ability to upload a jpeg and determine the shutter count quickly and easily. Try it yourself. It works for nearly all of Nikon’s DSLRs.

      • 19
        ) Flickr

        Actually, it appears that Flickr shows the shutter counts too. Upload a photo to Flickr, click on the ACTIONS button, and then select VIEW EXIF INFO. ‘Shutter Count’ is one of the data points shown

        • 32
          ) Ari

          I uploaded to Flickr and it doesn’t include that information from what I see. It doesn’t work for my 5D MK2 on Opanda either. Bummed.

  8. 20
    ) Daphne Goodwin

    Kevin seems to have it right for the Mac, and linux systems:
    exiftool ‘filename.jpg’ | grep “attribute value”

  9. Nikon JPG files on my pro D3, D3S and D4 bodies *do not* include shutter actuations. You need to stick with RAW.

  10. 22
    ) carlos

    thanks very nice , i check mine nikon d3100 and got 14391 still like 85000 to go :)

  11. 23
    ) MC

    Hey all you worriers. Lighten up. If like Carlos you have ,say 14.5k shots taken in 18 months or thereabouts, that’s 10,ooo shots in a year. So if the D3100 is rated to 100,000 actuations, that’s 10 years. Do you not think that so many new cameras will have come along, with so much new technology that you want to keep your current camera? In 6 years you will probably hand your camera to your son or daughter and say “here’s a box brownie equivalent to get you started, I’ve got a new Nikon XYD4s with 75 megapixels, 35 fps with intregral eyebrow plucker”! I have two fine film cameras lying in my loft, pristine, but not much good. Who’s to say that something better than digital will come along. Bet they went wild when steam trains came. State of the art they were!

  12. 24
    ) Kate

    I’m a bit confused by the data on jpg files from one card. I recently bought a pre-loved D300, used one card to shoot 4 jpg files in the store. The storeperson checked the files on the PC and told me the “actual shutter count is 3196″. I thought that was really low and I asked 3 times for clarification and was assured that the camera had done less than 4000 shots!
    Today I was thinking about it, so I researched how to check myself, and ended up here. But guess what? I have the same card with the same jpg files on it (haven’t used that card since the purchase) and each one has a vastly different shutter count – ie: not incremental by 1! Okay sure, there’s one at 3196 and one at 3197 in one folder, but two other folders were created for the two other shots (I don’t know why) and one shows a count of 5649 and the other is…wait for it….20,421! The 4 shots were taken between 3.06pm and 3.08pm with the first shot taken being the one reported as 20,421.
    Does anyone have any idea what I should make from this?? What is the real shutter count?

  13. 25
    ) MC

    Try this bit of free software http://www.opanda.com/en/iexif/sample.htm

  14. 26
    ) MC

    Or scroll to Opanda software at top of this page.

  15. 27
    ) JT

    Does Anyone know if the Opanda software has a Windows 2007 version. I see everything listed but that one.

  16. 28
    ) Isaac McGinley

    Thank you for this! Had no idea I’d shot so many! 20444

    I have a question, I shoot a D90 so can expect 100k shots or more out of the shutter…
    But once it’s gone is that it? Can I easily get it replaced in the future, and would it be obvious that the shutter is reaching the end of its working life?

    Thanks,
    Isaac

    • 29
      ) MC

      Hi Isaac.
      See my post no 23 above. The shutter can be replaced but ask yourself how long it took to fire off the 20k shots, 4 years? So that’s 5k a year which means the shutter will fail about 16 years from now. Or do different caculation. Then ask yourself if you will have moved to a higher spec camera well before then.

  17. 30
    ) Karen

    I am selling my camera and was asked what the shutter actuation was. I came to your site, downloaded the exif tool, and got the meta data I needed to find out the image number.

    Big Thanks!

  18. 31
    ) faz

    Hi Nasim,

    Would it be possible to reset the shutter count by any means? Service center would be having some ways of doing it? I had recently got my D800 replaced with a new one as the body had autofocus, dead pixels and dust in viewfinder. however the once replaced is having the serial number of older lot. the difference is 2000 in numbers. Would it be an issue or have the service center replaced it with a refurbished one? Please advise.

    Regards

  19. 33
    ) JohnBoz

    Just bought a D7100 and tried to get the shutter count using Image EXIF Viewer for MacOSX.
    Took one pic and got a long list of data and the following sets of shutter counts:

    Exif.NikonSi02xx.ShutterCount1 value = 0
    Exif.NikonSi02xx.ShutterCount2 value = 254 299
    Exif.NikonSi02xx.ShutterCount value = 16777216
    Exif.Nikon3.ShutterCount value = 2

    On the 4th pic, got the following:

    Exif.NikonSi02xx.ShutterCount1 value = 0
    Exif.NikonSi02xx.ShutterCount2 value = 255 185
    Exif.NikonSi02xx.ShutterCount value = 16777216
    Exif.Nikon3.ShutterCount value = 8

    I assume the correct values are the last in the series. Any idea why is the number doubled (2 & 8 instead of 1 & 4)?

    Thanks for your helpful information!

  20. 34
    ) Karan

    Hello Nasim,

    Is a used D5100 camera with 20,000 actuations considered a good buy?

    Thanks….Karan

  21. 35
    ) matzky

    my friend have a d5000, when we try to look for it’s actuation, the exef data shows data for d3100!
    did anybody know why?

  22. 36
    ) Bobby

    I found that if I opened my last jpeg in cs5 and then went to File>file info>advanced>schema

    It gives “image number” for my Nikon D3X it’s 44,000

    Is this accurate? No acuations are listed in EXIF?

  23. 37
    ) MC

    Uh, OK. But how the fuck do I get the jpgs out of the camera without going through Aperture or Lightroom?

  24. 38
    ) MC

    Obviously a different MC. You don’t need to go near PS or LR. Simply follow the instructions in paragraph no. 5 here..
    http://photographylife.com/how-to-find-total-shutter-actuations-on-nikon-and-canon-dslrs

  25. 39
    ) AJ

    Just sharing how I got my shutter count:
    I used a different program. XnViewMP is an image viewer with lite post-processing features. One of its most valuable capabilities is being able to show EXIF data in full deails.
    DISCLAIMER: I am in no way affiliated with XnViewMP.

    1. Just open your image via XnViewMP.
    2. Once its opened, rIght click on the image and select “Properties”
    3. Select “EXIF” tab
    4. Under “Makernotes” tree, look for the value of “Shutter Count”

    Have a good day!

  26. 40
    ) Mike

    Just confirmed with 2 D90′s that you can simply open the files in Preview and the Show the Inspector and click on the little i, then click on Nikon (if there, it was for me) or exif tabs. Under Nikon it shows Shutter Count, and in Exif it shows as Image Number.

    Hope this helps.
    Mike

  27. Let’s check a new FREE solution for shutter count at
    http://photosaddict.blogspot.com.au

    I was successful with my Canon 60D. So cool!

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