The lifetime of a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera's shutter is typically rated by number of actuations. This is an important number to have for various reasons, but especially important to know when buying a used SLR camera.
Nikon's D2 family of cameras, recently surpassed by the D3 family, is a professional line of DSLRs that have a shutter life rating of 200,000 actuations. Unfortunately, this number is not easily accessible via any on-camera menu but can be found with the help of a computer.
Nikon records the number of total pictures taken as part of an image's EXIF metadata. EXIF metadata is quite simply metadata that is embedded within an image file that contains a number of attributes about the photo. Determining the total number of shutter actuations on your Nikon camera is as easy as getting a look at the full set of available image EXIF data.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Nikon D2x (or other Nikon DSLR)
- Software to read EXIF data from an image file
If you are using a Windows-based computer, an application like Opanda's IExifPro will allow you to view the complete EXIF metadata available for JPG and Nikon's NEF RAW file format.
If you are using a Mac, an application simply called EXIF Viewer will display the full set of EXIF metadata.
There are many other EXIF metadata viewers available. Be sure to get one that can display manufacturer-specific metadata.
Alternatively, you can use an online EXIF data viewer. For example, http://regex.info/exif.cgi is a tool that can show you the full EXIF data for just about any image format.
After installing the software or deciding upon an online resource, locate the most recent photo taken with your Nikon D2x camera.
Refer to you program's instructions or Help area for details to display the complete EXIF metadata set from the image.
Search for "Image Number," as this is the attribute that Nikon uses to indicate the total number of shutter actuations. This applies to most Nikon DSLRs, not just the D2x.
Obtaining the EXIF Data
Tips and warnings
- Be sure to check the imaging software that you already have installed before paying for a complete EXIF data viewer. For example, Adobe Photoshop is capable of displaying an image's complete EXIF metadata set.
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