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  1. #1
    snegron's Avatar
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    Shutter Life Truths and Myths?

    I am curious to know about the shutter life of 35mm cameras and how people determine the amount of clicks it takes to get to shutter failure. There is always talk about how pro bodies are rated for over 100,000 shutter actuations and how cameras with less than this life expectancy are rated bellow pro standards.

    If you have been shooting for several years I'm sure you have encountered cameras that have either been deffective or have had other things broken on them. I have had brand new cameras lock up on me (including a Mamiya 645E) after the first 3 rolls of film (don't get me started on the 5 or so deffective DSLR's I have purchased within the past 3 years).

    My question then is, has anyone here purchased a brand new camera, shot the expected amount of shutter clicks, and experienced shutter failure after reaching that predetermined number? I'm not referring to other failures such as circuit boards frying, film advance levers breaking, film take up spools snapping, rubber peeling, etc.

  2. #2

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    Remember those life numbers are more average min numbers not expected actual lives. It's not like you've got a little bomb in there counting down.

    Some shutters will go much longer. A few will fail much earlier. Hopefully fairly few. But on average most will exceed the designed life.

  3. #3
    snegron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Zentena View Post
    Remember those life numbers are more average min numbers not expected actual lives. It's not like you've got a little bomb in there counting down.

    Some shutters will go much longer. A few will fail much earlier. Hopefully fairly few. But on average most will exceed the designed life.
    I wouldn't be too sure nowadays with the design abilities of top notch engineers. Planned obsolesence seems quite likely.

  4. #4
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    I would expect the answer that no-one has experienced this. As far as I am aware, the quoted numbers of exposures made are recommendations for servicing, rather like a car - if you don't change the oil after 10,000 miles, your car will go on running but will start to wear out faster - if you still don't change the oil by say 40,000 miles, the engine will be worn out. I have never experienced a shutter failure through overwork, failures have been random (spring on a new Copal #1), related to human stupidity (total failure on a Leica M3 right after servicing by Leica UK) or connected with lack of use (all those leaf shutters sent for CLA, old Leicas with "tapering" shutters).

  5. #5
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    We should remember to standardize the results of this thread for humidity, heat, age of equipment, frequency of use and the phase of the moon. Remember that you must be counting every shutter release for this to be meaningful. My bad.

    Steve
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  6. #6

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    HI!

    I suppose the shutter life limits are more about statistics. They just show after how many shots is the biggest probability that the average shutter will die. Of course there are some shutters that may fail sooner or later so you newer know anyway.

  7. #7
    snegron's Avatar
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    I read somewhere that Nikon actually performed "stress tests" on their pro cameras to determine shutter reliability.

  8. #8
    Brac's Avatar
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    I suppose for professionals who still use film cameras heavily they will exceed 100,000 exposures at some point. But that means 2778 rolls of 36 exp film. I will have kicked the bucket long long before I get anywhere near that point and like most people on here I use several 35mm film cameras which reduces the number of shutter clicks each camera gets.

    So it's not something I'm going to be worrying over, especially as I use mainly colour these days and would have to take out a second mortgage to afford the processing costs on that number of films!

  9. #9
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    A good case for barrel lenses?
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

  10. #10
    Mick Fagan's Avatar
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    I have seen once, a shutter that literally fell apart. It was a Nikon FE2, just six months old it had just over 3,000 rolls of film through, the whole shutter mechanism dropped it's lunch over a roll of film.

    For what it's worth, 2,500 rolls of 36 exposure film is 100,000 shutter cycles. You load a film in then usually proceed to fire three shutter and wind cycles, once 36 frames have gone through you end up with a 1/2 cocked shutter when you feel the film end tugging. You then unload the camera and virtually everyone I know continues the winding cycle, then fires the shutter.

    You have to fire that last shutter cycle so you can load another roll of film. This makes every roll going through, needing 40 shutter cycles.

    My first F3 body has had about 5,500 rolls of film go through. I have never had it serviced, it has always worked flawlessly, but it looks very, very secondhand.

    My other newer F3 body has had about 1,000 rolls only and looks pristine by comparison.

    My FE2 has had about 3,000 rolls of film through and the shutter mechanism still works, but not perfectly. Cannot put a name to what isn't working 100%

    Mick.

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