What’s the most popular camera used in terms of pictures taken that are uploaded to Flickr? Right now, it’s the Nikon D90. But in about a month or so, it will be Apple’s iPhone 4. What’s amazing is that D90 is nearly three years old. The iPhone 4 is not even a year old. Just look at a the chart above. The rise has been spectacular.
But it’s hardly the first time an iPhone has risen this quickly. Back in 2009, the iPhone overtook the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi as the most popular camera on Flickr. The difference is that at the time, Flickr was counting all the iPhone models together. That meant the original iPhone, the iPhone 3G, and the iPhone 3GS were all clumped together to overtake the Canon model. Now they’re split up, and the iPhone 4 alone is still going to be the most popular camera on Flickr in under a year. It’s pretty remarkable, really.
It also speaks to just how badly Flickr has dropped the ball with regard to mobile. We’ve previously delved into this topic when recounting a former Yahoo employee talking about how Flickr should have built a service like Instagram, but simply couldn’t due to bureaucracy. Flickr has long had the data to show that smartphone cameras were starting to dominate the market, but they really didn’t do anything about it.
The chart below is even more interesting. The “popular” point & shoot camera are all tanking, quickly. You’d think there would be one that is still doing well, but when compared to the high end (SLR) market and the smartphone market, they’re in a total nosedive. This will only get worse. As we’ve also previously written, the point & shoots have also totally dropped the ball with regard to the social photo revolution — they’ve committed seppuku.
Six months ago, the data looked bad for point & shoots. Now it looks downright frightening. If the trend continues (and it’s actually speeding up), the point & shoot is finished.
Flickr’s data obviously isn’t absolute. But they do have a wide range of users who are interested in photography uploading to their site. And the main disclaimers they give about their data is that smartphone data may actually be under-represented. So yes, it’s not looking good for point & shoots.
And if you were to lump all the iPhone models together, they would be so far ahead of every other camera that the graph would look absurd. This is the state of photography right now. And it’s going to continue in this direction.
While Android has overtaken the iPhone in terms of market share, none of their individual phone models are doing particularly well from a photo-taking perspective. It’s hard to say why this is — lack of a good Flickr Android app, or just because there are so many different model? But with the iPhone 5 now not likely launching until the fall, the iPhone 4 will have plenty of time to sit on the crown and expand upon it.
Flickr, meanwhile, will have plenty of time to contemplate what they missed out on in the mobile photo revolution happening on their own charts. And the point & shoots will have plenty of time to bleed.
(As an interesting sidenote: note how Apple is actually the least popular of the camera brands on Flickr. Is it because they only have four models? Or is Flickr’s data just wrong? Also worth noting: the iPad 2 is not doing well as a camera in terms of Flickr pictures. No surprise there — it’s simply not good for still image capture.)