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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7

    Why is the number of 'actuations' relevant with DSLR cameras

    I am a newbie so please forgive the naive question.

    I am looking at several used Nikon DSLR bodies e.g. D100, D70s etc. and note that many of the ads indicate how many pics have been taken and/or the numbe of 'actuations'. I understand the relevance of this in terms of the mechanics of film SLRs i.e. in term of shutter, mirror etc. However, why is this important with DSLRs?

    Thanks very much.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    69
    Quote Originally Posted by Titleist Tommy View Post
    I am a newbie so please forgive the naive question.

    I am looking at several used Nikon DSLR bodies e.g. D100, D70s etc. and note that many of the ads indicate how many pics have been taken and/or the numbe of 'actuations'. I understand the relevance of this in terms of the mechanics of film SLRs i.e. in term of shutter, mirror etc. However, why is this important with DSLRs?

    Thanks very much.
    DSLRs also have shutters and mirrors (and many other common components), so many of the same components can wear out on digital cameras as they do for film cameras.

    Rob

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    6,931
    It's widely believed that Nikon consumer DSLRs are built to a MTBF of 50,000 actuations so from a buyers point of view they think if the camera has, say 25,000 actuations then it's half worn out.
    The reality is that the figure is virtually meaningless because MTBF is a statistical figure that does not take into account the actual use the camera has been put to and the handling it has received. There are many reports of D70's and similar bodies that have well over 130,000 trouble free shutter releases and conversely there are people who report trouble with only a couple of hundred clicks.
    Basing a purchase on shutter actuations alone is like buying a car based on how many miles it has on the speedo without looking at the service records, the condition of the tyres and the overall condition of the vehicle.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7
    Quote Originally Posted by K1W1 View Post
    It's widely believed that Nikon consumer DSLRs are built to a MTBF of 50,000 actuations so from a buyers point of view they think if the camera has, say 25,000 actuations then it's half worn out.
    The reality is that the figure is virtually meaningless because MTBF is a statistical figure that does not take into account the actual use the camera has been put to and the handling it has received. There are many reports of D70's and similar bodies that have well over 130,000 trouble free shutter releases and conversely there are people who report trouble with only a couple of hundred clicks.
    Basing a purchase on shutter actuations alone is like buying a car based on how many miles it has on the speedo without looking at the service records, the condition of the tyres and the overall condition of the vehicle.
    Thank you both, that's very helpful. I suppose buying used poses inherent risks and recognize that the number of 'clicks' is only one consideration.

    Are the number of actuations registered in DSLR cameras anywhere i.e. like an odometer?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    6,931
    Don't get tricked by the odometer. Mileage on cars is stored in up to 26 places in on board computers these days. The odometer is just for the twit behind the wheel to look at - nothing else.

    Nikon store actuations in the Exif. It's there for Nikons service benefit only and is not readily apparent to users. If you download a little program called Exif Viewer from Opanda and look at the Exif for an UNMODIFIED jpeg image from the camera it will show the actuations. That is actuations not pictures BTW. Opening the shutter to clean the sensor counts as an actuation.

    Nikon store the actuation data in a non standard field in the Exif so many photo editing programs strip it out which is why looking at an unmodified image is best.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7
    Quote Originally Posted by K1W1 View Post
    Don't get tricked by the odometer. Mileage on cars is stored in up to 26 places in on board computers these days. The odometer is just for the twit behind the wheel to look at - nothing else.

    Nikon store actuations in the Exif. It's there for Nikons service benefit only and is not readily apparent to users. If you download a little program called Exif Viewer from Opanda and look at the Exif for an UNMODIFIED jpeg image from the camera it will show the actuations. That is actuations not pictures BTW. Opening the shutter to clean the sensor counts as an actuation.

    Nikon store the actuation data in a non standard field in the Exif so many photo editing programs strip it out which is why looking at an unmodified image is best.
    Thanks K1W1. Are you aware of any Mac software that will do read the Exif?

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