Photo Gear

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.
 

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