This is a very relevant question these days as folks interested in upgrading to the Canon EOS 5D Mark III may be looking to sell their 5D Mark II on the used market.
Other manufacturers make it easy to find out the shutter count, but Canon does not. There is a app for that, software you can install on your Mac or PC that will work. Windows users use EOSInfo by Astrojargon. Mac users use Astrojargon’s 40D Shutter Count, Version 2.
Now if you are a Mac user and you start up the 40D Shutter Count you will see a disclaimer that it does not work with 5D. Well, actually it does work but does not have all the features it does on other cameras. The software will give you a reliable count, but if you fire your Canon while it is hooked up the count will not increase. So you may be thinking that the number is not reliable. All you need to do is power cycle your 5D and restart the program and you will get the new count.
On Windows you have to do the same thing. The shot above shows a side by side comparison for the Windows and Mac software screen shots. You may be saying that the software should work better than this, but heck, it is free and who cares anyway if you have to power cycle your 5D. BTW did you donate? Once you download and use the software you can donate to AstroJargon like I did here. Buy the guy lunch, it’s the least you can do. I guarantee he spent a lot of time on this software.
Now that you know your shutter count you may be asking, “What is a high shutter count for Canon 5D Mark II?” The Canon factory rates the shutter life to 150,000 actuations, although 250K is a very realistic expectancy, and in some cases way beyond. The factory rep I spoke with suggested that you just keep using the camera until it doesn’t work and get all the clicks out of it you can. He did recommend having a backup if you are using it for paid work.
Time lapse shooters like myself need to weigh the cost of burning through thousands of shutter clicks. Canon tells me that the cost for a shutter replacement is approximately $400. My Monument Valley video utilized over 20,000 time lapse clicks, a large portion of my overall count. So the cost for that video was $40 assuming the shutter needs replaced at 200K.
You can read about my technique for using Adobe Lightroom to produce time lapses in the Monument Valley video here. Now as to a solution to the extreme shutter usage due to time lapse I will save for a future blog post. Now I have to get back to work…