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Shutter life expectancy
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Oct 27, 2018 22:14:05   #
rmorrison1116 (a regular here)
 
I was reading in a post on time lapse photography that some people recommend not using a good camera to do time lapse because it will prematurely wear out your shutter. I have read several books on time lapse and none of them have ever brought up wearing out your cameras shutter.
In doing some research on the issue I've determined that the camera manufacturers really don't know how many actuations a shutter can take prior to failure. Apparently when they, the manufacturer, say a shutter is rated for 150,000 actuations, what it means is they have tested that particular shutter to a minimum of 150,000 actuations and have not had a failure. The shutter could fail at 150,003 or it could keep going for another 95,000 actuations or for some miraculous reason, just keep on klicking for a very long time, until eventually it finally fails. I believe I read it costs on average around $150 to $300 to replace a shutter, depending on make and model.

Now don't get me wrong here; if you can afford a separate camera just for time lapse, all the better. I personally generally use an older camera, one that I don't take out shooting anymore, like a 40D or 50D or 60D, for longer time lapse projects, but since my newer cameras have built in intervalometers, I will use one of them for short term time lapse projects.

Bottom line is, I wouldn't be overly concerned about wearing out your shutter, unless you are planning on doing a whole lot of time lapse projects, in which case I strongly recommend you get a camera that has an electronic shutter option; no mechanical shutter to wear out.

Also, many of my long term time lapse projects only require maybe 4 exposures an hour which comes to around 2900 for an entire month and that's not really all that many. Of course some take more and some less.

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Oct 27, 2018 22:18:49   #
BebuLamar (a regular here)
 
I think when they said the shutter is rated for 150,000 actuations they meant that they test many of them and on the average that how many it takes for the shutter to stop working.

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Oct 27, 2018 22:20:37   #
BillyP
 
I've seen numbers of 150k for consumer models and 300-400k for pro models. However, I will use my 5d4 and worry about replacing it or the shutter when the time comes. I'm not about to use a less camera to save the shutter.

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Oct 27, 2018 22:33:03   #
rmorrison1116 (a regular here)
 
BebuLamar wrote:
I think when they said the shutter is rated for 150,000 actuations they meant that they test many of them and on the average that how many it takes for the shutter to stop working.


As I said, from my research I concluded they mean the shutters are periodically tested to a minimum of 150,000 acctuations, thus earning a minimum 150,000 actuation rating. Apparently manufacturers will pull random shutter assemblies off the line and off to the testing lab. I believe they call this QA or quality assurance.

I thought it was an average but it's a minimum, at least for Canon. If they say the shutter is rated for 150,000 actuations then, under normal usage, you can expect at least 150,000.

I've personally never had the shutter on a high end Bridge camera or DSLR fail, and my MILC'S are too new.

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Oct 27, 2018 22:40:28   #
rmorrison1116 (a regular here)
 
BillyP wrote:
I've seen numbers of 150k for consumer models and 300-400k for pro models. However, I will use my 5d4 and worry about replacing it or the shutter when the time comes. I'm not about to use a less camera to save the shutter.


It's not so much about a less or lesser camera, but more about tying up a camera for a long period of time. Also, in many time lapse project, the camera is running on manual so it doesn't really matter if it's a 40D or a 5D mk IV. I'd much rather have my 5D mk IV available for every day use than tying it up on a time lapse, unless it's a short term time lapse.

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Oct 27, 2018 22:52:48   #
BillyP
 
Good points.

rmorrison1116 wrote:
It's not so much about a less or lesser camera, but more about tying up a camera for a long period of time. Also, in many time lapse project, the camera is running on manual so it doesn't really matter if it's a 40D or a 5D mk IV. I'd much rather have my 5D mk IV available for every day use than tying it up on a time lapse, unless it's a short term time lapse.

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Oct 27, 2018 23:35:48   #
John_F (a regular here)
 
There is more than one shutter design. So far as I know and I am not an expert there are two types. Overlapping leaves that are spring powered and a curtain with a thin slit and maybe spring powered. The point is the shutter is a mechanical device and the parts can wear out. I have been hoping to hear about an electronic shutter. While you are focusing and fussing with exposure light is falling on the sensor, could the charge state of the sensor be time sampled and fed to a buffer circuit. If the charge state of the sensor is sampled briefly, is that equivalent for illuminating the sensor for a time interval.

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Oct 28, 2018 01:38:42   #
rook2c4 (a regular here)
 
I don't lose any sleep over shutter actuations. There are simply too many factors involved that can have impact on shutter life, and the number of actuations is only one of them. Temperatures, minuscule defects/inconsistencies in the shutter mechanism components, etc.

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Oct 28, 2018 02:08:42   #
rmorrison1116 (a regular here)
 
rook2c4 wrote:
I don't lose any sleep over shutter actuations. There are simply too many factors involved that can have impact on shutter life, and the number of actuations is only one of them. Temperatures, minuscule defects/inconsistencies in the shutter mechanism components, etc.


I don't believe I've ever met anyone who loses sleep over shutter actuations and I'm glad you don't either. I disagree there are simply too many factors involved that impact shutter life. Under normal circumstances, the number one factor is usage.

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Oct 28, 2018 06:50:36   #
billnikon (a regular here)
 
rmorrison1116 wrote:
I was reading in a post on time lapse photography that some people recommend not using a good camera to do time lapse because it will prematurely wear out your shutter. I have read several books on time lapse and none of them have ever brought up wearing out your cameras shutter.
In doing some research on the issue I've determined that the camera manufacturers really don't know how many actuations a shutter can take prior to failure. Apparently when they, the manufacturer, say a shutter is rated for 150,000 actuations, what it means is they have tested that particular shutter to a minimum of 150,000 actuations and have not had a failure. The shutter could fail at 150,003 or it could keep going for another 95,000 actuations or for some miraculous reason, just keep on klicking for a very long time, until eventually it finally fails. I believe I read it costs on average around $150 to $300 to replace a shutter, depending on make and model.

Now don't get me wrong here; if you can afford a separate camera just for time lapse, all the better. I personally generally use an older camera, one that I don't take out shooting anymore, like a 40D or 50D or 60D, for longer time lapse projects, but since my newer cameras have built in intervalometers, I will use one of them for short term time lapse projects.

Bottom line is, I wouldn't be overly concerned about wearing out your shutter, unless you are planning on doing a whole lot of time lapse projects, in which case I strongly recommend you get a camera that has an electronic shutter option; no mechanical shutter to wear out.

Also, many of my long term time lapse projects only require maybe 4 exposures an hour which comes to around 2900 for an entire month and that's not really all that many. Of course some take more and some less.
I was reading in a post on time lapse photography ... (show quote)


Shutter replacement is not a major expense for most camera's.

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Oct 28, 2018 07:39:19   #
Notorious T.O.D. (a regular here)
 
I can put wear on a shutter much faster at 14 FPS than any time lapse project. I suspect I will not reach the 400,000 activations before getting a new camera or worse 😎.

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Oct 28, 2018 07:42:31   #
Bison Bud
 
It seems to me that time lapse photography would use far less shutter actuations than the high speed, multiple image mode commonly used for sports and action shots. Some of those shoot upwards of 8 frames a second and depending on the increment used in a time lapse sequence, it could be something like 8 frames a day, etc. In any case, not something I worry about at all.

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Oct 28, 2018 07:47:24   #
jerryc41 (a regular here)
 
You make a very good point, but I am one of those people who would not use a good DLSR to shoot a thousand pictures for a 30-second video. True, I could probably make 150 of those videos before being concerned about shutter failure, but time lapse doesn't make me money. Some of the outstanding time lapse movies on YouTube use tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment. They spend the money because it's available, and they want to make outstanding videos. For me, my little TLC200 does just fine.

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Oct 28, 2018 07:53:03   #
jerryc41 (a regular here)
 
Bison Bud wrote:
It seems to me that time lapse photography would use far less shutter actuations than the high speed, multiple image mode commonly used for sports and action shots. Some of those shoot upwards of 8 frames a second and depending on the increment used in a time lapse sequence, it could be something like 8 frames a day, etc. In any case, not something I worry about at all.


Right! Modern DLSRs are very durable, but we all shoot differently. I can't remember the last time I did burst shooting. Even shooting 8 frames a day, you would still need around 1,000 frames to make a 30-second video. If someone is shooting burst at 14 fps, he would have to do that seventy-two times to get to 1,000.

Regardless how you want to use your camera, it's yours. Do what you want with it. It will not last forever, and then you can buy a nice, new one.

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Oct 28, 2018 08:25:03   #
eadler
 
I would would view a shutter wearing out not as a negative but rather a shopping opportunity. You really do want that new camera with the latest features don't you?

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