NIKON ‘ AVERAGE ‘ SHUTTER COUNT

I have used Nikons for many years professionally. Never abused, but in the press they did work hard. However since digital, things changed. A D2X is still with me, but with a very low shutter count. less than 10k the D100 I bought lasted well, but no vast amount of clicks. Even in my press days I rarely used the motor drive, it being there so I could shoot rapidly if required while keeping eye to the finder for that special moment. Many these days use the scattergun approach. I like to think about my pictures given the time and then take only possibly two shots. So my D300 died at less than 75k never hard used. Another D300 had the dreaded mirror problems end that died again at less than 75K both less than half the life expectancy. I bought a D5200 at the time to keep me going as a spare. That was returned when it was discovered the images were not sharp. I tested the camera with 8 different lenses and all were unsharp. That camera went back and forward to Nikon in UK about 6 times. Each time returned working. Each time worse than previously. That took over a year. I was going to sue them. They sent me a D7100 for all my trouble two d300’s and a D5200 and a year battling. the secondary memory card slot in the D7100 went within 3 weeks.Its been that way ever since. Now I do not overuse, abuse cameras. I asked about the D300’s I was told to send them In and they were sure they could ‘ resolve ‘ the matter. That ended up with Nikon sending me estimates for very high amounts for repairs. Getting several quotes from independent repair companies i discovered they could do the work for 1/5th of the Nikon price. then Nikon reduced the price by 50% still higher than any other quote. I am disgusted with Nikon And looking around on the internet it seems I am not the only one. So anyone else. So far my research has revealed may who’s cameras do not even reach the halfway estimated shutter counts. So I am wondering if that is even legal ? Do we expect a car engine to die at 75,000 miles ? No. so what a camera. And why do old film cameras ( like many of mine ) still work after 40, years ? Do Nikon install an age limit ?

At what shutter speeds is mirror lock-up worthwhile?


Exposition

I know what mirror lock-up is and what it’s good for, but I’m curious about the range of shutter speeds where it provides a real benefit.

A little background

I use a nice, sturdy tripod for shooting still life photos, and sometimes portraits. More often than not for still life shooting, I use live view either because the camera is at an odd height or angle, or because I’m shooting in very low light that makes it difficult or impossible to compose and focus through the viewfinder.

There are previous questions that ask about whether the mirror flips back down and then up again during live view shooting. In my camera the answer is yes (detail further down). This means that if I want to use both live view and mirror lock-up, I need to compose in live view, then disable live view, then shoot with mirror lock-up plus timer or remote, then re-enable live view to play around more and recompose. This is pretty disruptive, to say the least, so I’d like to understand when it’s worth the trouble.

The Blanston Hypothesis

It seems that if the shutter speed is fast enough, then any vibration of the camera would be insignificant because the image is captured too fast for the camera to move too much during the exposure. And it seems that if the shutter speed is slow enough, the short amount of time that the camera vibrates wouldn’t matter because it would be buried below the noise of the capture (assuming very low light, no flash, etc.). So I figure there must be a range of shutter speeds where mirror lock-up makes a difference in image quality. It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s related to focal length, sort of like the 1/(focal length x crop factor) guideline for non-IS handheld shooting.

Recapitulation

So, as the title states, at what shutter speeds is mirror lock-up worthwhile? Is my reasoning correct (or at least sane)?


The detail I promised you earlier

This answer indicates that live view does accomplish mirror lock-up using a Canon 70D, but my experience with my 80D indicates otherwise.

When I use mirror lock-up in normal (non-live view) mode, I can clearly hear that the first curtain noise at the beginning of the exposure is a very minor “tick” sound, which makes sense. I do this with a suitably long shutter speed (say 1 second or more), so that I can clearly separate the sounds at the beginning of the exposure from the sounds at the end, when the mirror flips back down.

However, when I use live view, I can very clearly hear the mirror moving at the beginning of the exposure. Also, when I’m in live view mode, the mirror lock-up option is grayed out in the menu, which indicates that it’s not available in that mode.

Is there a mirror actuation count limit in addition to shutter actuation count limit in DSLRs?

Every time you take a picture on a DSLR, not only does the shutter actuate but also the mirror actuates.

If using the LCD preview, and using phase detect autofocus, the mirror actuates too: the phase detect autofocus works only when the mirror is directing the light to the viewfinder. This time, the mirror is actuated when focusing, so if you need to focus multiple times before taking a photograph, the mirror actuates multiple times.

My questions are:

  • Is the mirror actuation count limited like the shutter actuation count?
  • Can you read the mirror actuation count somehow in modern DSLRs?
  • Which is a more limiting factor: a limited mirror actuation count or a limited shutter actuation count?