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What are Camera Actuations?

Skyy McKendry , Aug 17, 2008; 09:53 p.m.

I recently sold my Nikon D300 on eBay. I stated that the camera had been used in approximately 20 photo shoots. I shoot about 1,000 photos per shoot so that would be about 20,000 shots. The buyer is requesting a refund saying that I misrepresented the camera. He's concerned about the number of "actuations." What are "actuations?" Is one actuation the equivalent of pressing the shutter one time? He seems to think this is far too many shots. How many is too many? I've taken hundreds of thousands of shots with my D80 & it still works great. I can't imagine any professional that wouldn't take large numbers of photos with their camera.


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Matt Laur , Aug 17, 2008; 09:58 p.m.

I suppose it's not a question of what's reasonable, it's a question of the buyer's expectations and how you represented it in your description. Yes, an "actualtion" is a shutter release. Click.

I don't recall what the D300's shutter is rated by Nikon to suport ... 100,000 actuations? It's a young camera, and perhaps the buyer wasn't expecting it to be a fifth of the way through its likely life already.

Wayne Cornell , Aug 17, 2008; 10:00 p.m.

If you didn't tell the buyer that you shot 1,000 photos per shoot, that probably was was more actuations than he anticipated. Actuations are simply shutter cycles. 20 shoots seems like a lot less that 20,000 images--should be that big a deal on a D300 BUT you probabkly should have stated the usage more clearly.

Bruce Margolis , Aug 17, 2008; 10:33 p.m.

"I don't recall what the D300's shutter is rated by Nikon to suport ... 100,000 actuations?"

Matt, the D300 is rated at 150,000 actuations. Obviously many photogs will go way above that number without problems.

As to the OP, I guess it depends on how you presented this to a buyer. Personally I wouldn't be real concerned about 20,000 actuations as long as the price reflected this usage. However, if all you said was "20 photo shoots," as a buyer I would think you meant very negligible usage.

Cameras are like most other things. They are a function of usage. That's not to say your D300 will fall apart any time soon, only that the more use it gets, the more likely it gets closer to needing service. This should be considered in the selling price.

Joseph Braun , Aug 17, 2008; 11:13 p.m.

A cameras' mechanical shutter are kind of like the odometer on your car. It depends on who's driving it, and whether or not you've got a lemon. I know of some who's D200 cameras died after 30,000 actuations (really small amount). The shutter is one of the the most fragile parts of the camera. It's amazing that it works at all when you think about it!


David Zheng , Aug 17, 2008; 11:23 p.m.

Sounds you misled the buyer. If i was a buyer, I would ask the same thing.

Robert Hooper , Aug 17, 2008; 11:30 p.m.

I think you were anxious to sell your camera, and the buyer was recklessly hoping to get a bargain.

Caveat emptor, "Let the buyer beware". You did not actually tell a lie, but your discription was misleading by admission, in my opinion. The buyer read into your discription what they wanted to believe.

Caveat venditor, "let the seller beware". Now you have a disgruntled buyer on your hands.

Personally, I would except return of the camera and refund the buyer's money, less shipping. Relist the Nikon D300 on eBay with an accurate actuation count.

BTW, why are you selling this camera? What's up with that?

Skyy McKendry , Aug 17, 2008; 11:46 p.m.

Thanks, everyone! If the buyer had asked I would have found out how to detect the actuations & would have told him. It was not my intention to mislead anyone. I really didn't think that the number was that significant - as I said, I have hundreds of thousands of actuations on my D80 & it still works like it did when it was new. Another problem is that I no longer have the money as I used it to pay my rent & utility bills.

I sold my camera (and all my studio equipment) due to the economy. Last year I made a little over $125,000.00 but this year I've only made $5,000.00 so far. I had to pay my bills & that seemed to be the only option. I'm really devestated because it was my life-long dream to become a photographer. I spent my life savings opening my studio. I'm moving back to my home town & will get a "regular" job. Right now I'm just trying to survive & not end it all.

Nolan Ross , Aug 17, 2008; 11:48 p.m.

It sounds like the buyer was expecting the camera to be nearly new..instead the person found a camera with high usage..The answer is to offer a full refund including shipping..

Robert Hooper , Aug 18, 2008; 12:43 a.m.

I don't like the sound of, "Right now I'm just trying to survive & not end it all." Life is precious Skyy, and things will get better for you, I guarantee it.

My oncologist told me that I had terminal cancer and gave me 1 to 1 1/2 years to live. That was over 2 years ago! With the help of chemotherapy and the support of some very positive people, I have adopted the attitude that I am going to live. I refuse to dwell on the negative, and I will not give up fighting.

Don't give up, Skyy. No matter how bad a day you have, wake up the next morning and come out swinging.

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