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I am trying to take photos at about every 30 secs - 2 mins (Timelapse imagery for a dataset). I was using a canon t3i for this but after a few weeks, my shutter gave up. This is an on-going process and I will need to continue taking the timelapse. I wanted to know the most economical camera to get more clicks for the price (lowest price per photo clicked). I also need the following features:

  • Manual focus

  • Multiple exposures for HDR

  • Auto shutter speed

  • Atleast 15 MP

I was wondering if it would be better to buy a high grade camera like 7D or 5D which give about 200k clicks or go with the rebel series which have about 100k clicks and replace the rebel series camera after it dies. Also someone suggested to look at Mirrorless cameras, are they any better? Is there a way I can just get the shutter (or other mechanical parts) replaced economically instead of replacing the camera.

Thanks for your help in advance

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Going mirrorless enables you to use a purely electronic shutter. Most Fuji and many Panasonic ones have a menu option to select between Electronic, Mechanical or Hybrid shutter. When enabling the electronic only mode, the shutter-speed range often shifts, so check to see if that is suitable for you. For example, Olympus uses a 1/8s limit for the electronic shutter in their OM-D E-M10 Mark II while Fuji has a 1s limit in they X-Pro2. In the other side, you can reach 1/32000s.

More economical would probably be a Nikon 1 series mirrorless. All of that series have an electronic shutter. Of course, if you already have Canon gear, you can consider their mirrorless plus an adapter for your lenses. An M10 goes for $450 USD now. Although I am not sure if it lets you choose a shutter type, so check before buying.

Replacing a shutter is possible and actually fairly common for cameras used by professionals. It costs depends on the model but for an entry-level DSLR, expect to be 1/3 or so of the camera price just for the shutter! It becomes more worth if for higher end cameras which makes the whole thing not cheap in if you expect to do it often.

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    Some mirrorless cameras also have timelapse features. My Panasonic GX-7, for example, has intervalometer settings in the menus, and can compile the frames into a video file in-camera. – inkista Jul 14 '16 at 5:05
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    @inkista - This is not specific to mirrorless cameras, some Medium Format, DSLRs or fixed-lens cameras have been able to do this since 2004. If you wanted the camera to do it, might as well get an Olympus SH-1 and that's it. – Itai Jul 14 '16 at 17:12

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