camerasUs digital photographers talk a lot about the flood of images we produce and there are numerous blog entries and products for organizing and storing your images. But have you ever asked yourself how many images you have produced exactly ?

I did. And so I did a little research. In my photographer’s life so far I owned three DSLR cameras: A Nikon D70s (6 MP), D300s (12 MP) and a Nikon D800 (36 MP). Side note: Before the DSLRs I owned a Casio Exilim EX-Z3 (3MP), so I have doubled, doubled and tripled the resolution with each new camera. According to this sequence my next camera must have thrice the pixels of the D800 = 108 MP. God help us. For the sake of simplicity I will only count the images made with my DSLRs.

To know how many images you have made in total you need to add the shutter count of each individual camera. The shutter count is a value written into the EXIF data of each file and shows how many times the shutter of the individual camera has seen action. This number is usually not displayed by Lightroom or Aperture as far as I know. Note that this number is also different from the counter after which your files are named. “DSC_1465.NEF” for example is the 1465th image the camera made… but the counter can be manually reset to zero and, if not, after image 9999 it goes back to 0000. So this is not the answer.

There are many ways to read out the shutter action value, but the easiest way is a free webtool from You have to upload an image and the tool shows you how many actions your camera has made. Find the tool here.

So I searched the youngest files from both my D70s, D300s and D800 and uploaded the images. The webtool spat out the following values:

D70s => 37,111 shutter actions
D300s =>35,130 shutter actions
D800 => 17,707 shutter actions

TOTAL 89,948 shutter actions !

Nearly 90,000 DSLR images (actually over 90,000 by the time I type these words since I made some more images :-). But how does that compare to the timespan for which I own these cameras ? So I dug into my archive and found the first image made with the D70s. It was taken on October 20th, 2006. Now I used another handy webtool which counts the number of days from that date until today. The tool is found on, follow this link. Result: between October 20th 2006 and today (November 11th 2012) exactly 2,214 days have passed.

By dividing the number of shutter actions through the number of days since I got my first DSLR I learned that I took an average 40.63 images per day since October 20th 2006.

I know that this number says nothing about your photography skills or level of professionalism, but in a weird kind of way it’s interesting to know this number.