When buying used camera bodies the shutter count gives you a good figure together with the external condition of what kind of usage the body experienced previously - assuming the shutter count is accurate. Is there a way of tampering with especially Canon DSLRs to reset or edit the shutter count present in the metadata? I'm not asking about edit the image file after it has been captured but rather making the camera itself produce false information? Of course the manufacturer can change this number but that's not what I'm asking for.

If there are no known methods I could relax a bit more when buying used gear.


If it is possible for the manufacturer to do it, then it is possible that someone else could have figured out how to do so. I'm not personally aware of any hacks to do this, but it's impossible to be certain that someone, somewhere hasn't figured out how to do it and is silently altering values and selling older cameras as newer ones.

  • Of course someone could have figured it out, but as long as the method remains unpublished it doesn't matter much and one could feel quite confident that the numbers of used gear hasn't been tampered with. – Hugo Apr 23 '14 at 16:18
  • I guess what I'm trying to say is how are we any more qualified to Google it than you. It isn't something wide spread or common we'd normally hear about, but it also isn't something we'd normally look for. This can only really be beneficially answered if someone happens to have heard of something. – AJ Henderson Apr 23 '14 at 16:31

I inherited my Nikon D40 from my grandfather. When I first tried to use it, the main battery was flat, and I concluded in retrospect that the internal battery (what I would call the CMOS battery in a desktop computer) must also have been flat: the date needed setting, and the first time I set it the settings were then lost. The second time, after the charged battery had been sitting in the camera for a while, the settings were preserved.

When I heard that shutter activation number is included in the EXIF I had a look, and the number corresponded with the number of shots I'd taken. So there are two possibilities: either my grandfather had never used the camera at all (which I find unlikely, given that he'd owned it for seven years and bought two lenses in addition to the kit lens) or the shutter count is stored with the other settings in semi-volatile memory, and can be reset by leaving the camera without a battery for a long time. The camera had been sitting around unused for at least a year before I charged the battery.

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