How Long Does a DSLR Camera Last?

Let’s be honest, a DSLR camera can be expensive and it will probably be the most expensive piece of kit in your bag. Apart from that expensive telephoto lens of course.

When you purchase one, you would obviously like to know how long it will last you and if it will be worth the investment. While most DSLR cameras are fairly good quality, they don’t last forever.

Join me as I take a look at how long a DSLR camera will last you, and how you can take care of it to get the maximum out of your camera.

How Long Does a DSLR Camera Last?

A DSLR camera can last for 5 years or more under regular use provided that you take good care of it and protect it from the elements such as water and dust. Because DSLR cameras have moving parts, they will eventually wear out and the main reason for this is the shutter. DSLR cameras have a shutter rating which indicates the number of times a shutter can be actuated before it will fail. This is often referred to as the shutter count.

Each DSLR has a different shutter count. For example, the Canon 5D Mark II has a shutter count of 150,000 and the Canon 1DX Mark II has a shutter count of 500,000.

One thing to note is that these figures are estimates and certain DSLR cameras will last longer than that.

Should I Worry About Shutter Count?

Shutter count is not something you should really be concerned about. Let’s say that you have a Canon 5D Mark II with a shutter rating of 150,000. You can then take 82 per day for 5 years before it reaches its shutter count, and even after that, it will more than likely be able to take many more photos.

Can A Camera’s Shutter Be Replaced?

Shutter and sensor

Yes, a camera’s shutter can be replaced by a professional technician and this can cost anything from $300 or more. Depending on the price you paid for your DSLR camera, you would need to decide if it is worth it to replace the shutter, or if you should just buy a new camera.

The cost of replacing a shutter is sometimes a big part of the value of the camera, and therefore, some photographers opt to buy a new camera instead.

How To Take Care Of Your DSLR Camera

As mentioned, DSLR cameras can be expensive so it is a good idea to make sure that you always take proper care of your DSLR camera.

Let’s have a look at a few things that you can do to make sure your DSLR camera lasts for many years.

1.) Use a camera strap

This might seem fairly obvious, but you should always make sure to handle your camera with care. I always have a camera strap on my DSLR cameras, and when I’m not using a tripod I always have the camera strap wrapped around my hand so that I don’t drop the camera.

2.) Use a camera bag

As quite a lot of photographers like to travel with their cameras, it is important to make sure that your camera doesn’t get damaged. This is why you should always have a camera bag to protect your expensive gear.

3.) Keep the camera clean

You should make sure that the inside of your camera is always clean. If you get any dust inside, it will eventually damage your camera and this can cause problems. Make a point to clean it often if you use it regularly.

4.) Don’t change lenses in dusty environments

When changing lenses, never change a lens in a dusty environment or if you’re outdoors because the dust can get inside your camera. The best way to do this is to use a clean cloth to remove any dust that may be on the mount and then leave it for ten minutes before mounting your lens. This will give time for any dust particles that are on the camera mount to fall off.

5.) Don’t leave it in extreme heat or cold

If you’re going to be shooting in extreme heat or cold, make sure that your camera is protected from exposure to heat or cold. Never leave your DSLR camera in a car, or by a window, or in direct sunlight such as in the back of your car.

6.) Don’t get it wet

Don’t take it swimming or don’t expose it to rain. It will only last you so long before water gets into your camera and causes permanent damage. If it does get a bit of water on it, wipe it off thoroughly.

7.) Don’t drop it

Never drop your camera. If it gets dropped, make sure that you clean everything which can get dirty such as the lens and sensor before you decide to take it back out again.

8.) Never touch the sensor

Never touch the sensor of your camera when taking photos or using Live view, this may cause permanent damage to your camera. The sensor in a DSLR is very sensitive and touching it can cause permanent issues with your camera.


By now you should have a good idea as to how long your DSLR camera will last. As mentioned, if your camera reaches its shutter rating, it won’t necessarily stop working. Some cameras can last for much longer.

As an example, I bought a Nikon D5100 10 years ago and because I’ve taken good care of it, it is still fully functional and in great condition. In fact, I still use it to this day.

If the shutter does break then you can get it replaced. However, this can be costly and some photographers decide to buy a new camera instead.

Make sure to take proper care of your camera, and it will last long.