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From time to time I see questions about shutter actuations on this site and this got me thinking — does every frame of video count as an actuation?

Does this means a 10 minute video is "worth" 18000 actuations (10minutes*30fps)? And then what about live view?

Obviously, I'm talking only about cameras with a mechanical shutter. My camera is a Canon 550D but I assume this will be the same for every camera make and model.

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up vote 15 down vote accepted

No, for a CMOS based dSLR, the shutter remains open during the video recording, so the shutter in use is actually electronic. B&H photo, by the way, have a pretty good article on some of the concepts. It's in reference to video recorders, but much, not all, of it applies to dSLRs as well.

Anyways, you do have an actuation for the act of flipping the mirror and opening the real shutter, but after that it's just sensor activity. A far cry from the 18,000 otherwise. :)

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Video uses an electronic shutter, rather than the physical shutter used for photo taking, so each individual frame doesn't contribute to the actuation count in a DSLR.

However, the mirror and shutter must open at the beginning of live view mode, and close at the end, so technically there is one actuation per time you enter live view.

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The shutterbox mechanics are the part of the camera that is 'warranted' for shutter actuations (ie Canon 7d is built for 150,000 shutter actuations). As you say, these are not utilized during video,

However, who knows what 'wear and tear' there is on the electronics. We all assume that solid state does not wear out and yet we have many solid state items that fail over time. In any case, you bought your camera to use, and you should, but I do wonder if this is similar to having a car idle for hours on end: it doesn't wear out your tires and shocks, but there is impact.

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Generally, what makes solid state electronics wear out is heat. – mattdm Jun 19 '11 at 14:17
A car idling has a ton of mechanical parts and small explosions happening continuously. All that needs to happen during filming is that the mirror has to be held up (which for cameras that support video probably just means locking it in an up position with no further work required) and the sensor constantly in use, but in a lower power mode than normal shots... – Kendall Helmstetter Gelner Jun 20 '11 at 1:12
-1 It's a sad day when 'who knows' is considered a good answer on photo-SE. – Jay Lance Photography Jun 21 '11 at 16:47
Regarding solid state wear and tear, from my experience I see that camera sensors develop more hot pixels (stuck on) as they age. – Nayuki Aug 18 '11 at 4:31

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