The Truth about Checking the Number of Shutter Actuations on a Canon 7d and 5d Mark III DSLRs

After spending ½ a day researching and trying to find the shutter actuations for my Canon 7d and Canon 5d Mark iii DSLRs, I decided to write a blog post about what I learned.  I searched dozens of message boards, read blogs, downloaded software, uploaded photos to websites, and played in the Mac terminal program.

Knowing the number of shutter actuations on your can be important.  Each camera is rated for a certain number of shutter actuations.  The Canon 7d and 5d Mark III are both rated for 150,000 actuations.  It is also important to know the number of shutter actuations when buying or selling a used DSLR.

So, did I really find out how to check the number of shutter actuations / counts on my Canon 7d and Canon 5d Mark iii?  Did I do it on a Mac?  Yep, I sure did.  Read on to find out how.
 
First, here are some of the truths that I found out.
  • Unlike Nikon, Canon does not expose the number of shutter actuations in the camera EXIF data.  So, using Show Inspector (Control I) in Mac preview does no good.  The File Info selection in the File Menu in Photoshop has a lot of good information, but not the shutter actuations.  Uploading an image file to websites such as MyShutterCount.com also doesn’t work.  The data just isn’t there.
  • In order to get the shutter count on Canon DSLRs, the camera needs to be connected to your computer through the computer's USB port.  Your Canon DSLR should have come with USB to mini USB cable to connect to your computer.  I started my search for software and websites that could read the shutter actuations off of the camera.
  • I downloaded a Mac program called 40DShutterCount.  That didn’t work for my Canon 5d Mark iii or 7d.
  • There is a more recent version of this program called EOSInfo from astrojargon.net that is available for Windows only.  This also didn’t work for my Canon 7d or Canon 5d Mark iii.  I got a “No Camera Found” error.
  • EOScount.com installs an ActiveX control on your computer.  It only works with Internet Explorer on a Windows Machine.  Well, this service is no longer free.  They now want a $1.59 to read your camera and tell you the number of shutter actuations. I’m not sure if it will work either.  It displayed the serial number for my Canon 5d Mark iii as 5.  I know I bought it early, but not that early.

So how did I get the shutter counts for my Canon 5d Mark iii and 7d? 
 
gPhoto2 Command Line Mac Terminal
The number of shutter Actuations for my Canon 5d Mark III
 
I used a unix program called gPhoto2 on my Mac.   Twam.info has the instructions, but the commands are executed through the Mac Terminal program.  You also need to install software called Homebrew through the terminal to compile the program for the Mac.  I also needed to install Apple’s XCode software through the Mac App Store.  If you run into trouble, type brew doctor in Terminal to help debug the problem.  
 
Overall, it is not that difficult to do and once you have it installed you can check the number of shutter actuations by typing a few simple commands in the Terminal.
 

19 thoughts on “The Truth about Checking the Number of Shutter Actuations on a Canon 7d and 5d Mark III DSLRs

  1. Hey guys, I found an awesome software that gives an exact shutter count with the serial number. Similar to EOScount.com and Better…Its a FREE Software. If you like it I request you to donate the developers of this amazing software. I used it to buy a new canon 5 D Mark II bodu which the seller claimed it was 0 shutter actuation and it proved it. I also used it to check my Canon 550d and it worked like a charm… Here is the link http://www.shutteractuations.com/

    Cheers,

    Vishal

  2. Marshall,

    Thanks for the post. Some really good feedback that may help readers get shutter counts from their cannon DSLRs.

    Martin

  3. I used the Macintosh 40DShutterCount software with my 450D, and it did work.
    The reason that 40DShutterCount software did not work, may be that it requires you to install Canon's EOSUtility on your computer. When I downloaded this software from Canon's website, it needed the original copy first, but a quick Google search  revealed the simple trick that lets you install Canon's software without having an original copy.

  4. Check out a program called APT, here at http://www.ideiki.com/astro/
    Tested a few cameras out (T4i, 60D, 5Dmk III, T3i) using this program and seemed to work for determining shutter counts.
    Requires downloading the free demo program.
    Follow the instructions after downloading, and installing the simple program.
    Tried on 6D, but did not work for some reason.

  5. Thanks for leaving the comment John. I tried uploading a jpg file from my Canon 5D Mark iii to jadii.com. I received a lot of good information on the file but the Shutter actuations was not included. I got the following message – Uploaded on 12/25/2012 12:48 and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III had unknown shutter counts. Canon does not expose the shutter actuation count in the EXIF data.

  6. Did you try out <a href=http://www.jadii.com">www.jadii.com</a>  They let you upload a jpg file and it tells you the shutter count and also a pretty picture of the camera/lens.   Also dont need to reg or install anything.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>