When buying a new camera, it’s not uncommon to wonder just how many years a digital camera lasts in addition to other factors, such as how much you should spend on a digital camera. Generally, hobbyists or casual photographers can expect their digital cameras to last approximately five years, while a professional photographer may get a longer run from a high-end model.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • The lifespan of a top rated digital camera depends on the care, environmental conditions such as cold and light, and how it is maintained.
  • The minimum shutter actuation (or shutter count) for professional DSLRs is 300,000, while entry and mid-level DSLRs are around 150,000.
  • Most film cameras, point-and-shoot cameras, mirrorless cameras, and even compact cameras live beyond their shutter count.

A Camera’s Lifespan is Measured by the Shutter Count

The only major mechanical component of the device that can shorten its lifespan is the electronic shutter. Shutter count is a number that estimates how many digital images a camera can take before the shutter stops working. You can then use this number to estimate how many years the camera may last. For example, if the shutter count is 200,000 photos and you take 100 photos per day, divide 200,000 by 100 and you get 2,000. This means that your camera will wear out in 2,000 days or 5.47 years. You may also be interested in learning more about other interesting camera details like how many still shots will a digital camera take in one second.

Average Shutter Counts

How to Find Your Shutter Count

Most cameras are built to provide a high number of shutter actuation, although high-end camera bodies tend to have higher shutter counts compared to mirrorless and beginner-level digital SLR cameras. Check out the list below for the shutter ratings of popular camera bodies: 

Nikon Shutter Count

  • Nikon D3500 – 100,000
  • Nikon D5600 – 100,000
  • Nikon D7500 – 150,000
  • Nikon D500 – 200,000
  • Nikon D850 – 200,000
  • Nikon D5 – 400,000

Canon Shutter Count

  • Canon 6D – 100,000
  • Canon 60D – 100,000
  • Canon Rebel Series – 100,000
  • Canon 5D MK ii/iii/iv – 150,000
  • Canon 7D – 200,000
  • Canon 1DX – 500,000

Sony Shutter Count

Without an official release of Sony’s shutter count, it’s rumored that the Sony a9 has a 500,000-shutter count estimation.

Other Factors That Affect Lifespan

Water

The most common mishap in digital photography that threatens the lifespan of a camera is water. Cameras that are dropped in water, especially saltwater, are likely to corrode and suffer damage to internal components.

Impact

When your camera falls onto a hard surface, its lifespan can be drastically reduced. Minor accidents, however, like cracking the LCD screen can be repaired at a service center, and even broken lenses can be fixed or replaced. 

Electrical damage

The least likely way to damage your camera is through an electrical pulse. While a high static charge could blow out the sensitive circuits in your camera, it’s a rare occurrence.

Insider Tip

Amateur photographers and casual photographers should expect their cameras to last for about 5-10 years.

F.A.Q.

What happens when your shutter actuation passes the recommended shutter count?

Your camera can still serve you even after it surpasses its expected shutter life. If the shutter begins to fail, you will notice it before the camera completely dies out. For example, your camera might malfunction at certain shutter speeds or in continuous shooting mode.


Is there a way to future-proof my digital photos?

  • Use quality memory cards and physical storage devices with high storage capacities. 
  • Regularly perform online uploads of your photos to a cloud storage platform like Google Photos, Flickr, Dropbox, or any other.
  • During post-production, avoid overwriting the original files because you will not be able to recover them. Instead, save your edits as new files and keep the original image files.

What is the cost of replacing a DSLR shutter?

The general cost of a shutter replacement on a digital SLR is approximately $400. The price is worth it for higher-end cameras. But if you are using a low-end DSLR, then purchasing a new camera may be a better option.



STAT: Regarding CMOS image sensor manufacturing, Sony Semiconductor Solutions leads with a 48.6% market share. Samsung Electronics and Omni vision follow suit in the second and third position with 20.1% and 12.4% market share, respectively. (source)

Christen Costa

Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."

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