How long will your camera last? We can tell you

Given they live in our handbags and rucksacks – and aren’t strangers to a splash of liquid at a party or a roll in the sand on holiday – I’m always amazed at just how resilient cameras are. I picked up my first digital camera half a dozen years ago and despite banging around a dusty drawer for the last few years it will still take a picture when called upon.

And so it should. Most of us use our cameras pretty infrequently, only switching them on for a special occasion. But just how long should you expect your camera to last fault free and which brand is best?

TV reliability – find out how TVs brands fared in our reliability series

How long will your camera last?

As part of our annual reliability survey we asked over 7,000 people about their current and previous cameras. They told us if their camera had developed a fault and when the issue developed. This lets us compare different camera brands and see which ones are more likely to develop a fault.

And our survey shows…

As expected our survey shows cameras are, in general, pretty durable. An astounding 88% of cameras made it through five years of life fault free – that’s nearly nine in ten. Stack this up against TVs (which we profiled last week) where only 81% of sets were fault free over the same period.

Incredibly, top performer Panasonic (90%) also came up trumps in our TV survey. It just goes to show that some brands do put more effort into making products that are built to last.

While most camera brands came out on the right side of robust there are a few stand out names to avoid. Casio (78%) came bottom of our table, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that the brand makes very few cameras these days.  Established name Kodak (82%) is more disappointing, but again, the brand is leaving the camera business behind.

What can I do if my camera develops a fault?

If you find your zoom won’t zoom or your shutter won’t shut, you can exercise your rights under the Sales of Goods Act. Read our guide to returning goods that develop a fault to find out how.

Join us at the same time, same place, next week to find out how long your DAB radio will last and which brand came out on top.

More on this

Digital camera Best Buys – the top-rated models
Choosing and buying the best digital camera – our handy guide
How we test digital cameras – watch the video

Categories: Cameras

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10 replies

  1. I’ve had a Nikon for 17 years and it’s still going strong. I do take photos on my phone but when I want to take a really good picture of something special I’ll always use the Nikon. I paid a fortune for it (at the time) but it has never given me a problem

  2. My Minolta (Sony) Dynax 9 is faultless after 17 years. Minolta even gave it a free checkup when it was 5 years old, as part of the warranty!

    More recently I bought a Canon Powershot S95 which broke just over a year later and was replaced with a Powershot S100, but that broke while on holiday last May – it was less than 2 years old. I now have a Powershot S120 that’s still working after 2 months! I wonder if it will last the year?

  3. Cameras and radios are one of the few tech products that still seem to be built to last. Tablets, laptops and everything else new seems built to fail fast so you have to buy a new one.

    1. gill.
      other way round.built to last two years because lots of buyers will refresh within two years.
      problem being,if everything was built to last 20 years and folk only refreshed every 20 years,there just are not enough folk buying through the refresh gap for firms to remain in business,how do they generate income with almost zero sales except every 20 years.
      sorry,but we cannot have it both ways.
      markets are not set up to run like that,and folk would not stand for it,try telling an applee or samsung fan boy that they are going to have to stand in a line at a shopping mall fir the nect 2 decades before he/she get their shiny new toy.
      i wish you luck with that one.
      folk want faster and faster turnover for slightly better tech each time.

  4. Its just cost me about £185 to have a Canon 24-105mm EF USM zoom lens repaired by Canon, because the camera body was reporting ‘error 01’ (No communication). A simple search on the internet reveals this issue has inconvenienced a lot of people – it must be a design fault or error.

  5. It does seem digital cameras are very robust but then perhaps I have been fortunate. My Canon HSX 50 superzoom I have been using for around seven months and I am well past 26,000 photos without any problems. Given that it has been operating from freezing to 38C with high humidity I am very impressed. One of my concerns was whether condensation would be a major problem however this is not been the case.

    There is a very slight grinding sound with the zoom now but writing the camera off if necessary – 30000 pennies for 20,000+ shots would not be to much of a hardship.

    We also use a a Olympus SP810UZ which was our primary travel camera and has been to Uganda, Brazil and Canada and taken over 10,000 photos. No problems at all.

  6. but it will not last much longer with most cameras.
    the top end will stick to same build quality,but just like most other consumer devuces,they are designed and built to only have a limited lifespan,mid range and cheap device firms rely on turnover of bulk numbers,whats the point of making a device last 5 years when,A)it will be seen as outdated after 18 months and thete is good chance that users will replace every 2 years anyway,firms like samsung,lg etc have gone from annual product line refresh to a 6 month turn over, so this problem will only get worse.
    national panasoniic/panasonic/technics holding firm,matsushita,have always had a wonderful approach to quality,my lds 553 radio/cassette is 34+ years old,been serviced multiple times and is still going strong and makes modern kit look like its made from clingfilm and a bit of glue.
    just a pity they have had to cintract product ranges over the years.
    brliant firm,panasonic,pity the same cannot be said about my very,very pricey olympus dslr…

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