Photo Booth and Canons with cheap lenses dominate Tumblr

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The Tumblr staff has done an interesting little breakdown of the metadata on Tumblr blog photos. I’m sure you guys have seen Flickr’s equally-interesting Camera Finder page, which is used as a sort of talking point by Apple fans due to the iPhone dominance; this was a similar examination, though with seriously different results. Tumblr’s analysis also takes a look at the lenses being used by the Canon users, a metric more interesting to gearheads than tech buffs.

This kind of information is a dream come true for people who like to transmute raw data into conclusions. They call themselves analysts, but it’s more alchemical than analytical, isn’t it? At any rate, the data are interesting to anyone interested in photography or blogging, so take a look.

If I had to draw conclusions from this, I would say that first of all, Apple really got their foot in the door with Photo Booth and iSight. Built-in webcams are still associated with Apple products although even the lowliest netbooks sport bezel-mounted cams of similar (that is to saw, low) quality. They’ve also done very well with the easy sharing of photos from your iPhone, which likely puts them on Flickr for most people but clearly has trickled down to Tumblr as well. I see Android overtaking them soon, however: once you have Android phones with simple picture-sharing apps being offered free with a contract and ~$50 monthly fee, there will be a lot more Android photos being pushed straight to web services. Apple should enjoy its time in the sun and not be discouraged if it loses its crown.

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The other thing I notice is that the Canon users (Tumblr didn’t analyze Nikon or others) are overwhelmingly using the kit lens to take their photos. That’s understandable since most retail stores push that kit box instead of body-only, but the tactic is a one-time sell, apparently. These people aren’t going on to buy more lenses, because they don’t know what a good lens is. You sell them a garbage wide-angle zoom (the new IS version is supposed to be better, but still) and they think that’s all there is to it. Again, you can’t blame the users; not having shot an SLR before (as is the case with many consumer DSLR buyers), they don’t see the benefit of better glass — though they can see the cockamamie prices.

Now, I’m no glass fiend (though things might be different if I could afford it), but I think every DSLR user should get a chance to try a decent prime. The kit lens goes for around $100; the 50mm F/1.8 II is cheaper than that, and would be an excellent first lens. I traveled around the world with just that lens, and I think I’m a better photographer for it — plus I’ve invested in a few other lenses, having seen what this one is capable, and incapable, of doing. So Canon ought to offer two kits versions, one with that 18-55mm and one with a prime, 50mm or otherwise. It’ll drive glass and accessory sales and make a bunch of new photographers better.

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