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I know that the shutter could fail on one of my first images, or it could keep going strong hundreds of thousands more, and that a typical Nikon shutter replacement runs anywhere from $250-400 USD.

From what I understand, shutter actuation counts are mostly intended to be used to loosely gauge the probability of an impeding shutter's failure. Many photographers here and elsewhere on the Internet seem to treat shutter failure as camera failure.

My questions are:

Are shutter actuation counts useful for determining the the probability of failure of other components, like the system board, image sensor, flash, card reader, LCD?

With a camera with a high number of shutter actuations, what can and should be done maintenance-wise (professionally or DIY) to extend the lifetime of the camera as a whole?

  • Ah ok. The reason I'm asking is because I'm looking at buying a Nikon D700 with just over 100,000 shutter actuations and was trying to get an idea of what I'm might be in for. I was hoping to get answers from people that have actually experienced maintaining a "high-mileage" camera, like some people do with cars: dvatp.com/bmw/e36. – David Murdoch Feb 24 '15 at 17:48
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    You won't be able to tell from just the count. If the guy drops the camera every 100 shots, then it is a completely different story from a guy who took care of it for the entire 100k shots. – Nelson Feb 24 '15 at 17:49
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    Also, I just searched through the D700 Manual and it doesn't mention maintenance, replacement, shutter actuations, etc., to say nothing of the costs of it all. :-( It does mention caring and troubleshooting, but at a level that is akin to "wash your car" and "don't crash your car". – David Murdoch Feb 24 '15 at 17:49
  • There is generally no "preventive maintenance" for cameras other than keep them clean and don't throw them off cliffs unnecessarily. I know cameras with 50,000 image ratings that are well over 250,000 activations and still going strong. Don't abuse it is the byword. with 100K you're closer to "now" than "never" on having it fail, but it's impossible to gauge how close. – chuqui Feb 24 '15 at 20:42
  • Why are you comparing a camera to a car? That is not the situation. Also, does your car manual tell you the price of a new engine? Of course not. – dpollitt Feb 25 '15 at 3:36
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My SLRs were $140 to replace the shutter mechanism. I don't think what's behind the shutter (D or film) would matter.

For some reason both of my EOS bodies failed around the same time. Certainly not the kind of usage like journalists, and film used much less exposures. So I don't think it was shutter count at all. Probably physical age (10 years in service) and being unuaed for a couple years.

  • When you say the body failed, what do you mean? I'm a tinkerer, so I would have probably taken it apart to try to fix it myself. Haha – David Murdoch Feb 25 '15 at 11:55
  • @davidmurdoch When I sent it in, the repair place said it needed to have the shutter mechanism replaced. – JDługosz Feb 25 '15 at 17:24
  • Ok, so the body was probably fine, you may have just needed new shutter mechanisms? – David Murdoch Feb 25 '15 at 22:38
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    When I refer to "the body", I mean the total functioning of any components it may contain; the "thing" when you buy a "body only" camera (excluding battery, strap, accessories). The body did not work, because the shutter mechanism was broken. That's like saying "the car is fine; it just has a broken transmission". No, that's a contradiction. – JDługosz Feb 26 '15 at 0:14

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