The iPhone rules Flickr - and is pushing other cameras into niches

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Flickr has published its annual round-up of the most-used cameras. Guess which one wins?

Flickr top cameras 2016

Apple, of course, is a proxy for “iPhone” here. The iPhone is the biggest camera brand on Flickr by a significant margin. And I bet you it would be an ever bigger margin on Instagram.

Smartphones accounted for 48% of the photos uploaded to Flickr, up from 39% last year. DSLR was 25%, down from 31% in 2015, and point and shoot was 21%, down from 25% in 2015. Mirrorless remained flat at 3% of photos uploaded in 2016.

I’m vaguely surprised by the low numbers for mirrorless cameras – that makes me wonder if the community that have adopted them haven’t found themselves a home on Flickr. Or perhaps the mirrorless hype has been over-blown.

Where the phone won’t go

Om Malik speculates about what these figures means for the future of the stand-alone camera:

We are already seeing cameras evolve and become hyper specialized — Snapchat’s Spectacles, GoPro Cameras and Drone-mounted cameras for aerial work. I suspect by the time 2020 rolls around the point and shoot share of overall photography just might be down to single digits.

It feels like stand-alone cameras are being pushed into the niches that phones can’t comfortably fill: you don’t want you phone hundreds of feet away in the sky, nor do you want to strap it to your bike for filming – because it’s more likely to be destroyed in an accident, and the battery won’t hold up as well as a dedicated camera. But these are edge cases, suitable for niche companies.

The phone is now the default camera.

camerasDSLRsflickrgoproom malikphotography

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.