What's the Expected Shutter Life of Your Canon EOS Camera?

Photo of a Canon EOS 1300D camera body without a lens.

Modern DSLR and mirrorless cameras are marvels of hi-tech consumer electronics engineering. These devices feature advancements of technology in various fields: optics, electromechanics, automation, programming and so on… And the prices of these inventions are just as high. Good DSLR and mirrorless cameras are expensive. That's why when we buy a new camera we usually tend to handle it with care and hope that it will last. And it actually might last for years to come. There is just one catch you need to be aware of.

Canon EOS digital reflex and mirrorless camera bodies are mostly solid-state pieces of electronics that didn't age as time goes by. CPU, memory chips, display and other parts on the board are virtually eternal and usually become obsolete far earlier then they malfunction. But the physics of our world require camera manufacturers to employ a special device in our cameras — shutter mechanism. This stuff is mechanical by definition and as with all mechanical things in our life it has a limited lifespan.

Digital photography enthusiasts usually care a lot about shutter counts of their cameras. And that's understandable. Shutter count of a camera is just like an odometer on a car. The more mileage you have the more wear and tear there is. Camera shutter is a tiny precise mechanism that actuates every time you make a shot. Shutter curtains open and close tens of thousands of times and its not surprising that real-world effects such as friction and deformation affect them, eventually leading to a shutter failure.

Photo of a digital camera shutter mechanism spare part.
A typical shutter mechanism spare part.

Ok, so the shutter mechanism wears with time, but how long can we expect it to last during the normal camera usage? Turns out it depends on a camera model! Or, more general — on a camera class. Canon has used to publish shutter life expectancy in the descriptions of their camera models on its website. Entry-level cameras such as EOS 700D usually have shutters that are rated for just 100,000 actuations. The more advanced models aimed for semi-professionals such as EOS R might go for 200,000-300,000 clicks. And the most expensive stuff like EOS R5 might easily rate for 500,000 shutter actuations. The formula here is simple: the more expensive the camera is, the more advanced shutter technology it features. In top of the line Canons you might expect to have a shutter whose curtains are actually made from carbon! How cool is that?

What is the shutter life expectancy for a given Canon camera?

Here is, for your convenience, the table of a popular Canon EOS models along with their rated shutter lifespans.

Camera ModelShutter Rating
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II400,000
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV150,000
Canon EOS 5D Mark III150,000
Canon EOS 5D Mark II150,000
Canon EOS 6D Mark II150,000
Canon EOS 6D150,000
Canon EOS 7D Mark II200,000
Canon EOS 7D150,000
Canon EOS 70D100,000
Canon EOS 80D100,000
Canon EOS R5500,000
Canon EOS R6300,000
Canon EOS R200,000
Canon EOS RP100,000

Does it mean that my shutter is going to die on the last rated lifespan click?

No, absolutely not! These shutter rated life values are theoretical estimates of how long they are going to last. They base it on computer-aided modelling, excessive testing and multiple year experience with this kind of tech. When Canon says your camera is rated for 200,000 clicks it means that it is designed for this amount given the materials used, the technology applied and so on… But no limit is preprogrammed at the factory.

There are always different factors affecting your shutter life, but you can treat this official rated lifespan values as a minimum number of shots your camera will be able to take before shutter replacement will be needed. If your camera fails before it reaches its rated life chances are you will be covered under warranty.

How far should I expect my camera to outlive its official shutter rated lifespan?

Oh, it depends on multiple factors, such as usage pattern (shooting timelapses, fast consecutive serial shots…), gentle care (body shakes, drops, dust getting inside…), pure luck and so on… It's impossible to predict this stuff.

But still there are useful info bits that can be used as a source of confidence in one's shutter. Meet the ShutterCheck's Camera Shutter Life Expectancy Database! ShutterCheck is a Mac app that reads shutter counts of different Canon EOS cameras. Some customers opt-in into anonymous sharing of their shutter count values, which get accumulated in the database on a per-model basis. These numbers get processed with statistics algorithms and become the source for the shutter count histograms you may find on database pages dedicated to concrete Canon EOS models. Have a look at the graphs to get yourself familiar with how many cameras of your model have outlived their stock shutter life expectancy.

Shutter count histogram for Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

This article is brought to you by ShutterCheck — a macOS app for checking shutter count of any modern Canon EOS camera. Get the app today to see how much your shutter has been used up! ShutterCheck shows shutter count in relation to camera shutter rating — the values for each camera model are embedded in the app for your convenience. There is a free demo that you can try out before making a purchase.