A status message by a friend of mine says that he is selling his Canon 50D and one of the specs shows that it has gone 4,000 snaps in its lifetime; it made me reckon how much I have gone with my Canon EOS 40D. I wanted to know my camera’s actuation, but I did not really know how to. Canon has no way of displaying its shutter count, unlike Nikon which displays the shutter count on the EXIF file of every photograph.
Actuation, or shutter count is the number of shots taken by the camera in its whole lifetime – it is basically the mileage of your camera. Most manufacturers rate their DSLR’s at a limit of 100,000 actuations; some models are rated at 150,000. This does not mean that your camera will die when it reaches the 100K mark, it just means that your camera has a certain lifespan. It also means that your SLR is just more likely to be prone to failure or mechanical malfunction.
A DSLR’s mechanism is made of tiny precision moving parts such as mirrors, shutters and sensors, the forceful snaps and vigorous flips of the mechanisms, like any mechanical device will eventually get stuck or fail. But it does not mean that your camera will die at 100,000.
I do know one way to check a Canon’s actuation, it is a simple effortless app called EOSinfo by http://astrojargon.net/EOSInfo.aspx it is free to download, but they do accept donations. However it is for Windows only at the moment, Mac users will have to use an older version, the 40D Shutter Count from the same creator of the former. It still works well though.
I downloaded this file, connected my Canon EOS 40D to my laptop and a bunch useful info appeared in the window: the serial number, firmware and the shutter count. Lo and behold, what I was expecting to be less than 10,000 appeared to be a colossal amount of 57,023! I know it’s not that huge for some photographers and I know many who reached 100,000+ and have their cameras give up on them, I still hope that my camera would not give up on me soon!
That is 3.5 years of photography, 6 countries, 4 MotoGP races, 100+ local races, sports events, 20+ surf competitions, scuba diving and trekking. Those are all outdoor activities, in which treacherous conditions apply with a touch of formidable enemies such as seawater, sun block, ultraviolet light, dirt, sand and rain.
Camera care is very essential to prolong a camera’s life. First of all it is important that you read the manual. I have to stress so much on reading that piece of Japanese documentation because it remover your fear on touching those weird buttons. The first thing I did upon purchasing my 40D is read the manual cover to cover twice while waiting for my plane in the airport, studied all buttons, functions and usage.
I know some people pay no attention to the manual and overlook its essential and cool functions because it is actually boring and technically painstaking to read all that jargon. But I tell you, your $1,000 camera can do far more greater things that you can imagine if only you read the manual.
Cleaning the camera is also very important, especially after it has gone through harmful elements such as sea water, sun block, dirt and mud. Although modern SLRs are weather proof / dust sealed and made of plastic/magnesium alloy to prevent corrosion; camera care is still very important to protect it from button malfunction, sensor damage and other aesthetic blemishes. A lighter fluid is harmless or a semi damp microfiber cloth would be OK for external parts. There is also an array of lens cleaners for the internal parts, but you have to be careful on the mirrors and sensors as they are very sensitive.
I am guilty of negligence too, there are some circumstances where I had no choice but to storm through the weather just to take once in a lifetime photographs, but I always made sure that I had to clean it right after. In these moments, a camera bag is important to protect it from shock, dirt and moist. It is also a good way to keep your SLR body and lenses organized when not in use.
I noticed that my camera has never experienced fungi, an airtight cabinet is ideal for camera storage like the ones you see in camera shops, however those beautiful cupboards are quite expensive for a hobbyist. Stowing your camera in a camera bag will suffice and put in small packets of silica gel into its compartments. Silica gel absorbs moisture that causes organisms such as fungi. You can find silica gel from medicine bottles and in your Nike shoe boxes. Aside from silica gel, you can also use activated carbon, it absorbs odour and moisture too, just like the thing NASA uses for their breathing apparatus, and one can get these from Ace hardware in the water filters section. These things never fail me.
I also dropped my camera twice giving it a weathered look with some scratches and occasional power malfunctions. My battery is still very healthy though (1500+ shots without flash). The flash still works, though I seldom use it, the sensor gets occasionally cleaned by a blower and somehow it is still working perfectly. I have upgraded my firmware to 1.1.1 and somehow it has solved the power issue.
I normally use my camera for outdoor sports, racing, night shots, female models, product photography, portrait and travel. It usually mounts on 50mm f1.8, 70-200mm f4, 300mm f4, and 18-55mm. If I am not mistaken, I remember purchasing the 40D body for about Php49,000 ($1,200) in early 2008, never made real money directly from taking photographs but I reckon I got every penny back because of the subjects and memories it has taken photos of. 2008 also marks my first time in photography, I always wanted to be a MotoGP photographer, I did so 2 weeks after buying the camera and taking a crash course in YouTube.
The new cameras are out and I would really like to go into indie film making once i get my hands on these new DSLRs which are capable of shooting HD videos and heavily customizable. I am considering the 60D or the 7D, they are both prosumer, they have good feedbacks and would probably last as long as my 40D, or maybe outlive it, and of course, it is a Canon. Along with my GoPro motorsport waterproof and bombproof camera, these new HD capable cameras will make a new awesome action film. I think it is time for me to upgrade. Sponsors are welcome! :)
MotoGP, motorsports, watersports, product, model and travel.