Shutter count is seen as important for establishing the ‘life’ of the camera. Why shutter count? Well, if/when the shutter goes in your camera, you can pretty much kiss it goodbye. Yes, you can get the shutter unit replaced, and maybe that’s worth considering if the body cost you $4k? But many will consider it cheaper to ‘upgrade’ their camera instead. Although to be honest, most photographers will have upgraded their camera body long before their shutter has reached its limit.
Secondly, the older the shutter unit, the more likely it is to be ‘out’ in terms of shutter accuracy. You probably won’t notice it, since it may only be out by mere fractions, but it still won’t be as accurate as it was when it was new. When buying a second-hand camera, I like to see the shutter count at less than half its rated value. I have passed on at least a couple of DSLR’s whose shutter counts have been approaching 3/4s of the manufacturers recommended life.
Most manufacturers will quote an expected shutter count that a particular camera has been tested to – say 100,000 shutter actuations – although this is by no means a certified guarantee. Think of it as more of a guideline. The more ‘professional’ a camera, the sturdier it’s shutter, and therefore the more shutter actuations it will be rated at. For example, Canon and Nikon’s 1D and D4 series have been rated at around 350,000 shutter actuations, with many users claiming at least double these figures. From what I can establish, it seems that the OM-D E-M1 is rated at around 150,000 – which is quite a few photos!
Checking the shutter count on a camera is a case-by-case scenario. On some it is relatively easy, on others it is more difficult (if not down-right impossible). Depending on your make and model of camera there is probably a software programme that can easily spit out the shutter count for you. I’ve successfully used Camera Shutter Count (camerashuttercount.com) on many cameras – but it doesn’t work for all of them. Olympus OM-D cameras keep track of shutter actuations (among other things), although it’s not an intuitive process to retrieve the information. It can be done however – and here’s how:
|Navigate to the 'Wrench' icon and the 'Adjust Brightness' Menu|
On the screen of the camera you should now see a series of letters with numbers beside them. The first four are the important ones in terms of shutter actuations. The first, ‘R’ is the shutter release count – this is the number you’ve been looking for. Whatever that number is equates to the number of times the shutter has been fired. My number is 002428 – meaning the cameras shutter has been pressed just 2,428 times. Wo-ho!
|All the important numbers should be now visible...|
The third letter – ‘C’ refers to sensor cleaning. If you have accessed the cameras menu to clean the sensor it will register here. My camera has never had this menu accessed.
And finally, the ‘U’ stands for Ultrasonic filter count. This is a helpful figure because it indicates how many times your camera has been turned on (since that’s when ultrasonic cleaning of the filter is activated by default). My camera has been turned on only 542 times. So yeah, I guess it pretty much is ‘minty’ fresh. There are other pages, with other figures, but I have no idea what they mean to be honest. The four above are the all-important numbers if you want to know the ‘life’ of your OM-D. Check yours out. You may be surprised at exactly how many images you’ve actually taken?