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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EOS Digital Cameras 
Thread started 08 Jun 2016 (Wednesday) 10:24
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Camera life expectancy

 
Stripedown
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Jun 08, 2016 10:24 |  #1

While thinking about buying a used camera I started to wonder about the life expectancy of a camera(as one does).
Searching on google only gave results about shutter counts, how people say a "camera will last a certain amount of shutter counts"and I thought how can this be?
They surely should say "a shutter will last a certain amount of shutter counts".
Yes yes, the shutter moves and flaps and will eventually die, of course, but what about the rest of the camera? does the shutter count even matter if you replace the shutter?

Let's say a camera has been used a fair amount and the shutter dies after 200k actuations, at which point you replace the shutter. Is the camera as good as new? I wouldn't think so, the other parts of the camera have been used to take 200k photos as well.

So what I'm asking is - what is the life expectancy of a camera beyond its shutter life? How many times can you replace the shutter and have it working "as new" before some other part of the camera fails?


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CyberDyneSystems
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Post edited over 2 years ago by CyberDyneSystems. (2 edits in all)
     
Jun 08, 2016 10:34 |  #2

If we are talking about physical hardware, and not appeal or software compatibility, I'd say a very long time.

To date, none of my oldest DSLR's have died, even from a shutter stand point.

The oldest DSLR I owned was an EOS D60 (yes D60 circa 2002, not "60D")

I sold it on this forum less than a year ago, and to the best of my knowledge it is still going strong.

My EOS 1D Mark 2 is the oldest DLSR I still have in my hands, followed closely by a 20D I bought soon after the 1D as back up camera. (both 2004)

Both are fully functional and in my possession (the 20D is back after being given to my brother in law some time ago, and then returned when he upgraded)

Given my limited experience I would predict that 20 years easily. Likely more.

Film SLRs have clearly lasted much longer, no reason not to assume the same of digital.

Some of the oldest DSLRs are still alive and kicking. what limits the answer is only that they've only existed for less than 20 years, so we can only predict.


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DreDaze
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Jun 08, 2016 10:48 |  #3

i feel like they'd last long enough not to really worry about it...the thing is canon will stop servicing them, so you can't constantly have the shutter replaced...i bought a 5D a couple years ago, no clue on it's shutter count, but canon won't service them anymore...the good thing is if it were to break, they are selling dirt cheap now-a-days anyways

how long are you realistically looking to use the camera? i feel like for most it's probably less than 5 years before upgrading, which i think any camera should be fine for


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Stripedown
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Jun 08, 2016 10:57 as a reply to  @ DreDaze's post |  #4

Any idea as to how long Canon does service camera's?
The camera I'm thinking of buying is a 1DX. It's been used a substantial amount, 550k total shutter counts, 200k on the current shutter.

I'd be using it at least until the 5D4 comes out at which point I will decide if that's a big enough upgrade for me to get. If it isn't I'm planning to use the 1DX for 4-5 years and dont really care about its worth after that. If I decide to get the 5D4 I'll want to sell the 1DX first.

Having said that, I'm not the heaviest user; I'll probably stay under/around 10k actuations a year.


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drmaxx
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Jun 08, 2016 11:01 |  #5

How do you measure the use of a camera? On car you have mileage on an diesel engine operating hours. On a camera the shutter count is probably a good indication of use. The best measure would be mean shutter count between failures (from Mean Time Between Failures - MTBF (external link)). Your question would be very easy to answer by the manufactures - they certainly have the data. However, I don't think they publish these info. Individual reports about my camera lasted 100000 shutter counts until it failed is utterly meaningless for the next person.

Addendum: Here's one site with shutter failure data http://olegkikin.com/s​hutterlife/ (external link)


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gjl711
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Jun 08, 2016 11:06 |  #6

There is no way of knowing. Even Canon cannot predict when a camera will fail. The number being quoted is a rough estimate based on MTTF. The 200k shutter actuation just says that all Canon cameras of a certain make put together, 50% of them will fail by 200k actuations. It says nothing about a single camera. Your camera could last 1000k actuations or more or fail on the first actuation.


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Jun 08, 2016 11:11 |  #7

gjl711 wrote in post #18033097 (external link)
There is no way of knowing. Even Canon cannot predict when a camera will fail. The number being quoted is a rough estimate based on MTTF. The 200k shutter actuation just says that all Canon cameras of a certain make put together, 50% of them will fail by 200k actuations. It says nothing about a single camera. Your camera could last 1000k actuations or more or fail on the first actuation.

The problem is that everybody knows and tells the amount of shutter actuations before the shutter fails, not the camera itself, while I am interested solely in the camera itself since you can just replace the shutter. The number canon gives (400k for the 1DX) also is meant for the life of the shutter, not the rest of the camera.
Or have you actually heard about somebody with a camera that completely stopped working(sensor artifacts, dead AF, the type of stuff that renders your camera completely useless) after just 200k?


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Jun 08, 2016 11:12 as a reply to  @ Stripedown's post |  #8

well the canon 5D was discontinued i'd assume when the 5DII came out in 2010...they just last sept discontinued service on the camera

i would expect a 1D to go a little longer with service...the 1DIII is still able to be serviced


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Jun 08, 2016 11:20 as a reply to  @ CyberDyneSystems's post |  #9

that's good to hear.

How heavy did you use those cameras?


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Jun 08, 2016 11:20 |  #10

Stripedown wrote in post #18033103 (external link)
The problem is that everybody knows and tells the amount of shutter actuations before the shutter fails, not the camera itself, while I am interested solely in the camera itself since you can just replace the shutter. The number canon gives (400k for the 1DX) also is meant for the life of the shutter, not the rest of the camera.
Or have you actually heard about somebody with a camera that completely stopped working(sensor artifacts, dead AF, the type of stuff that renders your camera completely useless) after just 200k?

I've never seen MTTF/MTBF numbers for anything other than the shutter. Everything does have some period of time before failing but that number is meaningless when your looking at a single camera.


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Jun 08, 2016 11:36 |  #11

I think you will probably want to upgrade before the camera wears out to take advantage of new technology.
I am assuming that you will not abuse or drop it.

I know that is the only reason I have purchased new bodies.


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Jun 08, 2016 15:34 |  #12

I have Canon film cameras that are 25 years old and I shoot with them from time to time. My most used camera is my 1D Mark III which I've had for 8 years. I just cleaned the sensor and focus screen this past weekend and it looks and performs like a new camera.


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Jun 09, 2016 01:32 |  #13

One significant aspect is when a camera develops a fault that is not economic to fix, even if the model is still being serviced by Canon. My 6D, after 2.5 years, had an Error 06 (sensor clean function fail). The repair is replacement of the sensor assembly, which would have cost $200 less than the camera cost me new, and more than a second hand 6D - so not economic to repair. It is still usable without the function, so I'll continue to use it.

One data point, obviously, but a different aspect to the question. It's not a total fail.


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Jun 09, 2016 02:40 as a reply to  @ dodgyexposure's post |  #14

I see, how much did you use that camera before it gave you the error?
Some people have bad luck I guess.


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Jun 09, 2016 04:08 |  #15

The problem with the electronics side of the cameras is that it can be very hard to determine how long they will last. The Silicon and Gallium based components do not seem to have a normally distributed failure rate. They have a significant spike of early failure, which accounts for those DoA units, and the ones that fail soon thereafter. After this there is a relatively low steady rate of failure over a very long time period, which will, I assume, eventually be followed by some sort of roughly normal type period of failure. The biggest issue with this is that this failure bell curve is very wide, so wide in fact that it makes the SD such that the mean is a pretty useless indicator. That is for the transistor based components. What are far more likely to fail are the electrolytic capacitors. The problem with electrolytics is that they do not like being left without charge for extended periods of time, and they are usually used in the power regulation circuits. If you only use the camera occasionally, say for you annual summer holiday, you will put it away fine, and then when you get it out the following year it will be dead when you try to turn it on. This is the typical mode of failure of an electrolytic capacitor. So these capacitors tend to have a failure mode that is based on not using the device, unlike just about any other component in there. Other than the electrolytic capacitors what IMO kills most electronics is electrical and thermal shock. So the best thing you can do for that is very often just keep the system permanently powered up. That way you do not have the system having to keep warming the system back up to working temperature, or the electrical effects that happen during power up. Given that cameras are battery powered, leaving them permanently on is not really practicable, but I would still try to use it at least every couple of weeks at the minimum.

Please note that I have not gone away and actually looked any of this up for facts, it is based just on my personal experience. I did though serve in the RAF for nine years as a radar tech, and then went on to do a degree in electronic engineering. So hopefully my experience and knowledge is relevant to the subject.

Alan


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Camera life expectancy
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