Check a Camera's Shutter Count Before Buying & Selling: Here's How (VIDEO)

Like all equipment with moving parts, every camera has a finite life cycle, and one disastrous failing is when a shutter craps out. That's why it's important to know how to check the number of images captured with your camera, or another one you want to buy used.

It's also important to know the shutter count of cameras you sell, because that's one of the first questions you'll receive from prospective buyers. In the tutorial below you'll learn how find this critical piece of information in barely four minutes.

As you know, all cameras aren't created equal, and that goes for the lifecycle of a shutter. Most entry-level and midrange camera's are rated for at least 100,000 actuations, while high-end models have shutters designed to last for 300,000- 400,000 exposures or more.

To complicate matters many shutters last well beyond their life expectancy, while there are times when they die earlier. Unfortunately, these variations are difficult if not impossible to predict. Factors that affect a shutter's lifespan include how the camera is treated and maintained with service, as needed, environmental conditions, and more.

Instructor Vlad Manea is a respected Romanian photographer now based in Germany, who regularly posts straightforward tutorials with simple tips on techniques and gear targeted at amateur shooters.

It's much safer to purchase used cameras from a reliable seller, and Manea says the best way to avoid buying a lemon is a quick shutter-count check—either by you if you have access to the camera or by a seller you trust. Manea says a high shutter count "isn't necessarily a deal breaker" if everything else looks good and functions properly.

On the other hand, a high shutter count could indicate the likelihood of other mechanical problems in the future. At this point you're probably thinking about grabbing your camera(s) to see where you stand.

Fortunately Manea demonstrates how to use a simple free app that does the analysis for you almost instantly. And it works with most popular models and brands of cameras.

After watching this video take a look at Manea's new instructional YouTube channel and see what else he has to offer. On a related topic, don't miss the earlier tutorial we posted with a helpful focal length chart to help you make an informed decision when purchasing a new lens.