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How many shots has my Pentax taken?

Knowing the number of shots your digital camera has taken is useful as an indicator of device usage and remaining shutter life expectancy. Pentax embeds information on the number of shutter releases for many of its cameras in EXIF (EXchangeable Image File) data. These metadata are saved alongside each and every image file. EXIF-readers can access this information (see the App below) and, thus, convey how many images a camera has taken so far.

Pentax shutter
Shutter unit of a Pentax K-3

How to find the actuation count?

In order to find out how many shots your Pentax has taken, just upload a new, unedited image using the dialog box below. Both JPG and RAW file formats will work, with smaller jpg-files uploading faster. Your image will be deleted from the server once the EXIF-information has been read.

Drop Your Image File Here

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Click to Select from Computer

The shutter count of the following Pentax cameras has been reported to be accessible via EXIF-readers: Pentax *IST DL, *IST DL2, *IST DS, *IST DS2, 645D, 645Z, K-01, K-1, K-1 Mark II, K-3, K-3 II, K-30, K-5, K-5 II, K-5 II S, K-50, K-500, K-7, K-70, K-M, K-R, K-S1, K-S2, K-X, K100D, K10D, K110D, K2000, K200D, K200D, K20D, K20D, KP, MX-1, Q, Q-S1, Q10, Q7, X-5. Moreover, the number of actuations of the Samsung GX10 and GX20 cameras that are based on Pentax DSLRs can also be read out.

The shutter count corresponds to the number of images a camera has captured with its mechanical shutter. Mechanical focal-plane shutters consist of a pair of light-tight curtains that move to uncover the sensor during the exposure time. Every actuation, that is every shutter opening and closing, will cause some minimal wear and tear that will eventually result in malfunction and the need for repair or replacement. A shutter can fail completely on one incident, but more likely it will deteriorate gradually. It becomes unreliable when shooting at high shutter speeds or the first and second curtains get out of sync, so that the shutter speed becomes inaccurate. If these warning signs appear, it is time to take action and get your camera shutter replaced. Shutter replacement costs generally fall into the range of US$200 to US$400, plus the hassle of having to send the camera to the service center.

That said, the actuation count is not just an indicator on whether or not the shutter might soon need to be replaced, but more generally on the overall condition of the camera. A high shutter count indicates that the camera has been intensively used and probably also been subject to more bumps and knocks, more frequent exposure to dust, and more recurrent usage in the rain than a camera that has been kept in a drawer most of the time and therefore shows a low actuation count. As a result, second-hand buyers on Ebay or Craigslist are willing to offer a higher price for a camera with a low number of shutter releases than for the same model with a high actuation count.

What is the shutter life expectancy of my Pentax?

Shutter life ratings differ across cameras. Most modern interchangeable lens cameras, such as the Pentax KP, have shutters that support at least 100 000 actuations. Semi-pro models, such as the Pentax K-3, are rated for about 200 000 shots, while professional cameras, such as the Pentax K-1, have shutters that can sustain 300 000 actuations. It is important to note that the shutter rating does not provide a guarantee of a certain photo count before shutter maintenance or replacement are needed. The shutter might fail earlier, or it could last longer without causing any problems. The shutter rating should, thus, be seen as representing a statistically determined failure average or Mean Time Before Failure.

Most photographers are unlikely to come close to the shutter life expectancy of their imaging tools. For example, if one were to take 100 photos each and every day, this would mean 3 000 actuations per month and 36 000 shots per year. In this case, one would reach the end of the expected lifespan of a Pentax KP's shutter in about three years. Few people use their cameras as regularly and intensively, and if they do, their cameras might well be up for a replacement after three years anyway for reasons other than shutter failure. Nevertheless, shutters do sometimes break down during photo sessions and such adverse events are getting more likely as the shutter count increases.

FAQ on checking the shutter count

Below are some frequently asked questions concerning the camera shutter count.

What is a GOOD shutter count for my camera?

A large number of shutter actuations is a sign that you enjoyed shooting with your camera and that it has been a useful tool. However, if you are trying to sell on Ebay or Craigslist, you should be aware that a camera with a shutter count that exceeds 50 percent of the rated shutter life will be traded at a marked discount.

How are videos reflected in the shot count?

When recording moving images, cameras use their electronic shutter and not their mechanical one. Taking videos, thus, does not increment the shutter count by the (large number of) image captures in movie mode.

Shouldn't the actuation count of my brand new camera be zero?

Cameras undergo final quality checks at the factory that frequently involve a number of shutter releases. It is, thus, normal to see a low, non-zero shutter count for a new camera.

Isn't shutter failure covered by the manufacturer's warranty?

If a shutter malfunctions because of a manufacturing fault (and not because of wear and tear) and if this failure happens during the warranty period, the camera manufacturer will indeed replace the shutter free of charge.

What happens to the shot count if my camera's shutter is replaced?

If your shutter malfunctions and needs replacement, the service center will disassemble your camera, substitute the shutter with a new one, and reset the shutter count to zero.

Can I replace the shutter of my camera myself?

Yes, if you are a capable mechanic (and a bit daring), you can dissemble your camera and replace the shutter. Shutter units for many camera models are sold on Ebay.

How can I extend the lifespan of my camera's shutter?

Exposure to dust and dirt will result in increased wear and tear on the moving parts of the shutter mechanism. Hence, being careful and protecting the camera from the environment when changing lenses can help to make your camera's shutter last longer.

Camera comparisons

Does your camera show an elevated shutter count? Is it time to start thinking about a camera upgrade? Check out how different cameras – new and not quite as new – compare in terms of size, sensors, features, and their reception by expert reviewers by selecting two comparators from the menu below. You will then promptly be taken to a detailed side-by-side comparison.

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