Shutter Count and Lifespan of Olympus PEN Cameras

First of all, this was not something I had to be concerned about when I used to have only P&S cameras.  Olympus PEN cameras do not have a mirror mechanism inside but do have a mechanical shutter.  Anything that has moving physical part must have a lifespan, and typically shorter than electronics found in most P&S cameras.

There is no official estimated number of shutter actuation number given by Olympus, but the estimated number from various sources is in the range of 50,000 to 150,000 depending on the model.
It takes years to get enough data to build any type of reasonable statistics on shutter life, but here is one good site to see the average shutter counts for a little older models: Camera Shutter Life Expectancy Database.

If you are buying a used camera, you should probably check the shutter count in addition to whatever you plan to check and test.  Almost all DSLR keeps track of shutter count and other usage statistics.
Here are the steps for Olympus:

  1. Camera OFF
  2. Hold down MENU button and turn ON the camera
  3. Release MENU button and press MENU again to get to Menus
  4. Go to LCD Brightness Menu, that's in Spanner Menu and third item down.
  5. Press RIGHT to show screen adjusters
  6. Press INFO and then press OK and on my E-PL1 this shows on screen....
    04 01 01 01
  7. Press in sequence UP/DOWN/LEFT/RIGHT/SHUTTER/UP and Page 1 info appears
  8. Variously press RIGHT for Page 2, DOWN for Page 3, LEFT for Page 4
On Page 2, you should see:

R 001946 [total shutter actuation count]
S 000047 [shot count with flash]
C 000000
U 000929 [turn on count which is ultrasonic wave cleaner count]
V 000000
B 001915 [seems to be total number of times shutter button is fully pressed for any reason]
L 000000
Shutter Count and Lifespan of Olympus PEN Cameras Reviewed by Blogs on 2/24/2013 Rating: 5

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