How long is my reflex camera?

Buying an SLR camera is a considerable investment. That is why it is important to know what is the useful life that a camera offers us, as well as to see the ways in which we can know that state.

There’s nothing worse than spending a fortune on a SLR camera only to find out that its lifespan is shorter than expected. Or that this product, in the end, ends up breaking down sooner than we expect, which is also a problem and has a considerable cost. That is why it is essential to be clear about what we can expect from a SLR camera, in terms of its useful life.

The advantage is that these cameras already have an internal record, with which we can know their status. Something essential both for new cameras and when it comes to finding a second-hand SLR camera. Let’s go into detail on this issue.

What is the problem

But first, it’s time to take a look at our reflex camera, to find out what can go wrong. One of the main elements prone to failure is the shutter. This element is what opens and closes the diaphragm to take the image. Since it is a mechanical part, continued use, the presence of dust and other contaminants can eventually damage the camera.

The rest of the problems that can be generated have to do with electronics. It is not usual for this to fail in a short time, but there can always be a problem with the updates, with the assembly or even, depending on the use that we give to the product, that it ends up causing a failure in this part of the camera. The bad news is that these failures are usually badly fixed, due to the integral manufacturing system that the cameras have. Something that translates, in most cases, into a bill as high as the price of buying a new camera, as happens with other electronic devices that we have on the market.

The number of shots is the key

In all this approach there is a detail that is the key to estimating the useful life of a camera: the number of shots. This element is the most common reference to estimate the useful life of a camera. Something that translates into the measurement of the level of use of the product, so that you will only have to worry about controlling the level of shots that your camera has taken to see its status.

If you’re curious, even the best SLR camera on the market has an expiration date, as far as image or shot limits are concerned. Without a closed number on this figure, most professionals suggest that a camera has approximately 100,000 shots. However, this is an estimate, since some cameras can fail at 50,000 and others continue to work without problem until 150,000 shots or more.

How to know the shots

Fortunately, for those who care about figures, today it is easy to know the status of our camera in a simple way. All cameras include an option in their configuration menu through which we can access this information, since it is recorded within the EXIF ​​data. Something that we can verify with one of the many existing applications in this regard or even by using Photoshop. These applications give us informative data on the number of shots taken by the camera, as well as other information of interest, both to see the state of our own camera and to buy a second-hand SLR.

This function is combined with certain collective intelligence web pages, in which we have at our disposal the necessary data to know what is the level of reliability of the camera that we plan to buy or that we already have at home. Among them we have the website This page has a list of the most popular SLR cameras, collecting the user experience on when their camera has “died”. 

So you will be able to directly see the experience of other users with their specific camera and the number of shots that the camera has taken. There are other websites with similar information, in case you prefer to assess other sources as a reference regarding how long your camera can last.

bad habits

To close this article, it is necessary to talk about some of the bad habits that can end the useful life of your SLR camera. One of them has to do with the shooting mode that we use. It is common for us to take several photos of the same scene, which is reasonable, but what we do have to be careful with is burst shooting. This shooting mode can launch a large number of images in just a few seconds, so it is essential that we use this option wisely and not too intensively.

Another habit that affects the camera is not taking care of it properly. The camera must not receive blows of any kind, in order not to unsettle the elements that are part of its interior. Something fundamental in transport, which must always be carried out properly, using a suitable suitcase or backpack and with all the necessary protection elements to prevent problems when carrying it.

This also leads us to maintenance work, which we must necessarily carry out with a certain frequency. Among these tasks is the cleaning of the lens, the lens and the rest of the elements present in the camera. A task in which we can use modern cleaning kits, which include everything from brushes and blowers to different wipes and other elements, so that you have all the necessary elements to leave each part of the camera in perfect condition.

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