How to Find Total Shutter Actuations on Nikon and Canon DSLRs

I received many requests over the past few weeks from readers to find the total shutter actuations for their DSLRs. In case you’re interested in finding out how to find the total shutter activations on Nikon and Canon DSLRs or how close you are to the manufacturer’s shutter life of 150,000 on most entry-level and mid-level cameras, or 300,000. on professional cameras, I wrote a quick article.

1) EXIF Data

File headers are used to store information about the shutter actuations of your camera, also known as metadata or EXIF. You can read my article “What is EXIF?” to learn more about EXIF and its purpose. Your camera records all exposure information, such as date, time and shutter speed into each file’s header. Nikon and Canon have unique shutter actuations data fields. These are used to see the total number or “shutter actions” that cameras have.

2) Change to JPEG format

RAW images should be converted to JPEG format if you want to get the necessary information from your camera. The camera’s native RAW format retains all EXIF information, but third-party conversion software such as Adobe Photoshop Lightroom can remove some proprietary EXIF data. This includes the number of shutter actuations. Switching to JPEG allows you to see EXIF data directly without needing to import it into Lightroom or Photoshop. You don’t have to choose the largest JPEG file size – JPEG BASIC is fine. Once you have selected the file, take a photo of whatever you like.

3) Download EXIF viewer

An image EXIF viewer is required to view proprietary EXIF information in files. It does not remove any data from the file. Most image viewers currently available only display the generic EXIF data most people use, and leave out the rest. Instead of reading EXIF data from files and parsing it, they simply look for generic EXIF tags in the file and display them when available. It is left blank if it isn’t available. They provide only generic information that is consistent across all camera manufacturers to reduce the amount of blank items.

These types of image EXIF viewers won’t work to determine the shutter count. We will have to use less popular EXIF data viewers such as Phil Harvey’s ExifTool and Opanda’s IExif.

4) ExifTool: Viewing Shutter Count EXIF Data

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. Open the shell terminal if you’re using a Mac. To be in the exact folder that contains ExifTool executable, type “cd:c:” for Windows or “cd/” for MacOS. Type:

  1. find “Shutter Count”
  2. find “Image Number”

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

5) Viewing ShutterCount EXIF Data via OpandaIExif

Opanda IExif is a great alternative if you don’t want to deal with command prompts. Simply download the most recent OpandaIExif version and install it using defaults.

After the program has been installed, open it and click the “Open” button. This will allow you to browse to the file. You will see the following:

Opanda IExif

Scroll down until you see “Total number of shutter releases for camera” and take note:

Opanda IExif Shutter Count

The Simple EXIF viewer for MacOS uses a different interface but functions the same.

This website will help you if your shutter count is not displayed in any of these images.

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