Does continuous shooting subject a shutter or other mechanical parts to more wear and tear than single shooting, assuming the same number of shots are taken? In other words, does firing x shots at 4 fps or faster wear out said parts than firing x shots at 1 fps?

  • Nothing definitive, but I'd assume that it's at least possible to set up some sort of sympathetic vibration (resonance) in parts of the system under continuous shooting that would multiply the forces present under single-frame conditions. One would hope that such resonances were engineered out of the system, but tolerances (especially for the lightest-weight components, like shutter blades) might make that impossible. – user2719 Aug 13 '12 at 0:06
  • @StanRogers - I'd agree with Stan - but also suggest that the opposite effect MIGHT occur. It would be possible to design a mechanism that it cycled smoothly and transferred energy (say with a buffer block or spring or rotary mass etc) into the mechanical moving parts for the new cycle. Also, some shutter modes in some cameras do not operate a mechanical shutter between exposures in highest speed mode. (The now venerable Minolta 7Hi (not an SLR) has a mechanical shutter whivh was used in all but highest speed burst mode). And some systems (very unnerving) maintain mirror up on fastest burst. – Russell McMahon Aug 13 '12 at 1:46
  • Since the DSLR manufacturers specify only one number for the life of shutter (number of exposures) I take it they don't mind if it is continuous shooting or not. I read an article about shutter life that I can't find now, the conclusion was along the lines "the minute differences in build quality on a product affect shutter life more than how you use the camera." Might be of interest to check, olegkikin.com/shutterlife/canon_eos5dmkii.htm shows you might get a sample that quits working very quick, or some that seemingly never dies. – Alendri Aug 13 '12 at 10:02

I think the realistic answer is that without spending tens of thousands of your preferred currency to set up a proper test environment and test a whole bunch of different cameras there's no real way to know.

Presumably the manufacturers test each model of camera to get an idea of how long they will last under continuous use (although I imagine that only the high end manufacturers test properly) and that figure, after suitable massaging, is the one they release to the public.

Edit for pedantry: If a camera will take, for example, 100,000 exposures before breaking then if they are continuous at, again for example, 5 frames per second then the camera will break after approx five or so hours. If the same camera is used to take one shot a day then the camera will break many years later.

Thus, technically, a camera used continuously will break 'faster', i.e. before, one used intermittently regardless of any other factors...

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