Buying a used D810 based on shutter count

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ray ., Nov 15, 2017.

  1. I've always purchased used gear through KEH, but never a digital camera. They tell me they assess condition on a D810 body by cosmetics, not shutter count. Also, that shutter count can be inaccurate anyway. So hypothetically sounds like you could purchase a 'LN-' camera with 100,000 clicks on it.

    This makes me hesitate and consider just buying new. Or maybe it would make sense to buy from them Ex+ or Ex condition. What is the expected shutter life expectancy shutter count on these cameras anyway?

    Thanks for any comments.
  2. They are tested to last about 200 000 actuation, on an average.

    If their return policy allows for it; why not buy one and if you find the shutter count to be too high, return it?
  3. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    Have bought good stuff, usually better than described from KEH, but never a digital camera. I do think shutter count is a good indicator, and important. Personally, since MFRs talk about maximum shutter count, I would not buy a digital camera without having that info. Might be fine, might not.
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Ray, have you asked KEH whether they can tell you the shutter actuation count for the particular used camera you are interested in?

    As mentioned above, the D810 is rated to 200K shutter actuations, and plenty of them last longer than that. If there is a used D810 is Ln condition with 100K counts, potentially it can still last quite a while. I would be more careful with something like a D3, D4, or D5 and those tend to get a lot of professional abuses, and if so, they tend to look poor cosmetically.
  5. Buy it and check the shutter count. 100,000 should be fine (in general). Here's an interesting link: nikon d810 | Camera Shutter Life Database
    It's obviously a non-scientific test, but it's anecdotally interesting nonetheless.

    Shutter count is important but you should also consider other factors, such as how it was used. IMHO, a cosmetically-clean body with a little higher shutter count is preferable to a cosmetically-rough body with a little lower shutter count.
    Sandy Vongries likes this.
  6. I've never been able to get a shutter count out of KEH, although admittedly I think I've only bought one DSLR from them(everything else has been lenses, film bodies, and accessories).

    With that said, I bought a D300 with a relatively low shutter count(maybe 25K) that displayed a repeated "err" message. The manual advises that the message can appear occasionally and isn't a cause for concern, but if it happens regularly the camera should be "checked out." Mine did it pretty much every time I powered on the camera. I called and received a replacement with over 100K actuations that worked perfectly, so I've just kept it. At the same time, though, this is not exactly a high dollar camera.

    I bought my D800 locally knowing that it had 150K on it. The shop where I bought it priced very aggressively($1K) with the philosophy of "if the shutter dies, you can send it in for a new one and end up with a better camera than if you'd paid KEH $1300 for one." As it turned out, something ELSE broke shortly after I bought it-she shop took care of that, but they gave the option of a new shutter and I paid for that since the price at that time was a lot less expensive(I think it added $100 or so to the repair tab) than sending it in ONLY for that.

    BTW, I don't know if this is customary, but my D800 came back to me reset to 0(or actually a couple of actuations since they presumably shot it some before sending it back) with the new shutter in it.
  7. Is there a reliable way to check shutter count? I can't see buying a LN- camera with unknown shutter count when the price of a new one is only $300 more. KEH guy said a shutter could be replaced without the count being re-set. Does the manual say how to check the count?
  8. Since the shutter count information is in the EXIF data I fail to understand why the count can't simply be displayed directly on the camera (like, for example, with the firmware version). Obviously, the count influences people's decision to purchase a used camera - so why make it not convenient to find that information?

    Granted, a low count doesn't guarantee that the camera will not have a shutter failure tomorrow and by the same token a high one doesn't indicate that failure is imminent - but the higher the count, the more I would include the cost of a replacement in my considerations. As it did when something on my D200 failed and I decided against a repair because the shutter count had surpassed 100K already. Also, when I purchased a used D800, the 120K count gave me pause but was taken into account by the low price.

    I would assume that they do the reset when a new shutter is installed (as it should be). They shouldn't reset the count if something else was repaired - but it may happen. I recall that one D200 I purchased used had a lower count than the seller admitted too - because of a firmware reset when he had it checked out by Nikon.
  9. steve_g|2

    steve_g|2 Posting to strangers is just a hobby of mine.

    MPB lists shutter count.

    Don't know about MPB, but you can send stuff back to KEH after a test run in your own hands.
  10. My Kodak DCS 14/n does display it when you pull up the firmware. It's the only camera I've encountered that does it.

    Heck, on D1 series cameras there isn't a way to even find the shutter count. I have a D1H that I would love to know the count on-it came from the local daily newspaper(largest in the state) and was issued to one of the top PJs at the paper. I have a big stack of papers related to the Derby back to 1978(Affirmed) that I rescued out of a professor's office, and the half page photo of Monarchos crossing the finish line in 2001 was taken by this photographer. I'm guessing it's the camera that took that photo, but apparently he bought a new battery in 2008(as per the sticker on the battery). The controls are quite "mushy"-in particular the AF pad-and I suspect that the camera has a lot of mileage. Like I said, I'd love to find out.
  11. Hmm, I hadn't heard of MPB. They do show a 6 month warranty on their website but I don't find a return policy.
  12. Believe Nikon started adding shutter count to EXIF in 2005. Nikon can retrieve the info but may or may not give it to you.
  13. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

  14. I know it's there on the D2 series cameras as well as the D70, although it's possible that mine may have firmware updates that added the ability.

    This is a blind guess, but I'd think that given how much the D1s are based on the F5(with some F100 stuff thrown in for good measure) I'd think that it might be hidden in the NVRAM on both models-i.e. the same place that stores that shooting data on the F5(N90, F100, and F6).

    Someone good in a hex editor MIGHT be able to sniff it out. If I knew someone other than a friend in England who was good with that kind of stuff, I might let them have at it with a junky but working D1 I have.
  15. There is NO WAY I'd buy a new D810. They run $2,800! I see nice used ones on ebay that sold for $1,550. Buying a new one is flushing $1,300 down the toilet--you get nothing for that money. You could buy a pair of used Sigma ART lenses for that! A much better use of the money. I buy used gear --all- --the-- --time-- and have never had a problem. I don't go by shutter count on cameras, I go by how they look. Condition is everything as it shows it was taken care of. Theoretically a camera could have a very low shutter count, but that was because it's a lemon and spent most of its time in the repair shop! In the past two years I"ve owned six Nikon DSLR, all purchased at relative bargain prices on ebay. I have no idea what the shutter count is on any of them. It's not like I'm out taking thousands of shots with them every week, so it doesn't matter. If a camera had half a million clicks on it, it would look like it did.

    Kent in SD
    steve_g|2 and mike_halliwell like this.
  16. Here is another shutter count site that worked better for me than Sandy's: <LINK>
  17. Last edited: Nov 18, 2017
  18. Nikon, at least for some years now, writes the count into the file.

    As well as I know, there is not so easy a way to find it for Canon DSLRs, though.

    I have not bought mail-order, but I have bought used DSLRs from a nearby real camera store.

    Usually they advertise including the count, but one I asked about didn't have it.
    They quickly found the count for that one, in the store.

    I bought a D700 last year with under 20,000, for about $800.

    As with cars and odometer readings, the price goes down with more miles.

    There is no guarantee that the shutter on a new one won't fail after 1000 or 10000 shots,
    and an older one might last to 300,000 or more.
  19. I have a local shop that deals in new and used and writes shutter counts on the tag, and another(only used) shop that will gladly check them if you ask.

    When I was in the "new" shop the other day, I noticed three or four D810s in the case with prices ranging from $1795 to $1895. The highest priced one had 10,000 clicks, and the lowest priced one was 50,000.

    BTW, all their D800s were now at $1K regardless of shutter count.

    Of note also is that this shop now has a D850 available for rent. They've only received a dozen or so and still have a waiting list, but this one apparently was a return. They decided to put it into the rental pool since it would give the folks waiting for theirs, deciding if it's for them, or just curious about the camera. The rental is-to me-a pretty reasonable $130/day(weekends are 1.5x daily and a week is 3x daily). If the leaves were still decent, I might be tempted to spend the $200 to rent it for a weekend.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  20. Ended up buying a new D810 and have had it for about a week now. Very nice camera, can do a lot of things, but I'm thinking more and more I may return it. If I did wild life photography or sports or weddings the Nikon would be great. It's kind of odd though that for the company to make cameras that allow use of their AI and AIS manual focusing lenses and newer Zeiss and Voigtlander lenses, manual focusing is a pain on this camera. It makes me appreciate what a well thought out camera the Leica M240 is, now more than ever, as a great tool for what I do. I really wanted an optical viewfinder but this finder doesn't seem up to the task to nail focus. And using Live View is more difficult than on the Leica. Not a knock on Nikon at all, there's no perfect camera and the image quality of the D810 is fantastic. There are ways I could make manual focus work- or I could use an AF lens, but I've realized I probably can't justify keeping this camera since it doesn't do anything better (for my use) than the Leica, other than having more resolution and possibly(?) somewhat better dynamic range.

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