Today, cameras are far from being the most popular products. Nevertheless, this type of technology is gradually replacing universally, although not so high quality in terms of opportunities, smartphones. Moreover, if the main market for cameras is experiencing stagnation, many interesting offers appear on the secondary market. However, acquisitions from the hands of such complex products are a kind of lottery. Indeed, there is one important parameter that you should definitely pay attention to when buying a camera on the secondary market. In our article we will explain how to check the actual mileage of a camera so that you do not get a completely murdered copy.
If a person is professionally engaged in photography, over time he will come to understand the limitations of his capabilities due to technology. Therefore, he will need to switch to a more modern or advanced model. Of course, acquiring a new camera is the ideal solution to alleviate the trouble and possible experience regarding the life of the device and potential defects. However, many prefer to save money by contacting the secondary market. There, you can easily find a fully functional solution, albeit with some external issues, but one that is very well suited for long-term operation. The advantages of this approach are obvious — if you are lucky, you can find a nearly new camera at a good enough discount. But here it is already important to know what to pay attention to when choosing, so as not to get a device in a near emergency situation. And one of the most important parameters when choosing a camera out of your hand is its «travel distance». This is the name of the shutter.
It is also important to understand that «on the forehead» does not work to approach this issue. The mileage of the camera itself can affect its condition in many ways. Here we still need to examine the operating conditions. Thus, using two cameras with the same number of shutter triggers, the one whose shutter is used more frequently in the room would be better from a technical standpoint. It is no secret that shooting on the street or the constant changes of the lens in a dusty and humid environment will wear the bolts faster. Moisture and dust fall on the camera and dust gradually builds up on the shutter lamella, leading to accelerated wear.
What are the resources of a camera shutter?
Interchangeable optics, mirrors, and mirrorless cameras are always equipped with a shutter. It is a mechanical curtain that regulates the flow of light that hits the camera sensor and measures the exact time of exposure. The shutter, like any other mechanism, wears out over time. Each camera model has a specific guaranteed shutter response resource.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III shutter
For example, in a budget room shutter is only 15,000-30,000 frames, while in a semi-professional and professional camera it is already 150-300,000. Fortunately, this metric does not mean that the shutter stops right there because these values have been reached. Amateur mirrors may be made with both 150 to 20,000 frames each. If the device is operating under normal conditions, the shutter can operate further than the minimum resources indicated.
For the most part, the value of the guaranteed shutter resource indicates which supply of reliability is placed on the camera by the manufacturer.
Average mileage of the camera
Factors affecting a significant reduction in shutter mechanism resources
- Rapid changes in camera temperature conditions.
- Premature cleaning of the matrix.
- Frequent use of serial shooting mode.
- Frequent use of time-lapse mode.
- When the camera goes into «live view» mode, the shutter is triggered and not read by the frame counter.
How do I know when the shutter is «dead»?
In many cases, you will know about the end of the shutter resource long before this element fails completely. The first symptom is very suggestive — the shutter stops resolving short excerpts from 1/1000. The problem is that the curtain does not have time to resolve the task in time. The resulting photo is overweight and appears in dark strips, at the top or bottom of the photo, and dark spots on the sides. If the shutter is completely malfunctioning, a solitary pop of the mirror on the camera display and an error message (error) will tell you about this.
How do I visually inspect the shutter?
There is also a visual assessment of shutter mileage. To do this, you must remove the bayonet from the lens and gently lift the edge of the mirror with your finger. If the shutter has an impressive run, the lamella is worn and, in fact, abused.
How do I check shutters at work?
After performing a visual check of the shutter, you can begin to check the actual work.
In the settings, set the endurance to 1/4000 or 1/8000 and take a few pictures. There should be no vertical stripes in the pictures. In the work, the shutter button should work softly and should not expose irrelevant noise. And this should alarm you, because the device clearly has no desire if the seller hands it over to him.
Has it been repaired? What should I do if there are signs of depreciation?
At the first sign of depreciation, it should be repaired immediately. Otherwise, the matrix filter is damaged or the shutter is completely clogged.
Once the guaranteed shutter operation is reached, the lamella must be replaced (if the shutter has not been repaired previously) or the shutter unit must be replaced.
Universal program to obtain data from camera mileage
On the Internet, there are special web services for camera shutter counts and Jeffrey’s Image Metadata Viewer to help you find gaps. Before meeting with the seller, you can ask him to send you the last pictures from the camera in JPEG or RAW format. Photos must be uploaded to the site using simple shapes. The service automatically processes the images and then issues information about the camera model and the number of pictures taken in EXIF (data about the shooting parameters recorded directly in the photo file). This information gives a first opinion on the condition of the shutter.
The only drawback of this method of checking shutter wear is the few supported cameras.
How to find the running distance of a Canon camera?
Canon has released a special CanonEOS digital utility just for checking Shutter State. Here’s how she works: 1.
1. connect the camera to your computer using the MiniusB cable.
2. When you first connect this camera to your computer, the driver will be found and installed.
3. Wait for this process to finish.
4. Start the Canon EOS Digital program after pulling it out of the downloaded archive.
5. In the upper left corner of the application window, click the Connect icon.
6. The line with the shutter counter signature will display the number of shutters on this device.
There is another similarly popular service for estimating the number of shutter releases for Canon cameras — EOSCount. this application can also give you exposure counter data using a cable connected to a Canon camera computer.
How can I find out the mileage of my Sony, Nikon or Pentax camera?
The universal options — programs EOSMSG, EOSMSG, and Shutter Count Viewer — allow you to find out the mileage of the cameras of the main major brands. You can also use recent images copied from a memory card if you have a Canon model and need to connect the camera using a miniUSB cable.
Nikon writes the camera’s mileage into the Exif of each shot. Simply use an application that reads such information, such as ShowExif.
For Sony cameras, this service is available.
Checking the condition of the shutter is the most well-known criterion for selecting a camera on the secondary market, but it is not the only criterion worth noting. Camera owners need to understand that they only need to change the shutter at one time, and that the counter at that point can be easily reset programmatically. Therefore, other points should be taken care of.
- Inspect the exterior of the camera, paying particular attention to the condition of all sealing rubber bands.
- Evaluate the condition of the tightening screws for any signs of loosening. If it is found that the camera has been previously disassembled for any reason, we recommend that you refuse to purchase the camera.
- Look closely at the contacts between the bayonet and the battery compartment. If you see signs of oxidation, this may indicate that the camera has been exposed to moisture or immersed in water. The symptoms are very concerning!
- Examine the mounting position of the hot shoe skid and tripod plate. If you find significant abrasions there, this is a clear indication of intensive use of the device for professional purposes.
- Ensure that all buttons and control wheels are functional. There should be no backlash on these elements and they cannot be pushed in.
Our tips will help you more accurately assess the condition of cameras offered on the secondary market. Perhaps you will notice some new nuances that will save you from acquiring a questionable device.
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