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Apple iPhone 4 to become most-used camera on Flickr

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Apple’s iPhone 4 is on track to surpass all other cameras used to take photos posted to Flickr within the next month. Point-and-shoot cameras, on the other hand, have fallen in the opposite direction.

According to Flickr’s internal analytics, the Nikon D90 is used by more of the site’s photographers than any other camera. In fact, aside from the iPhone 4, DSLR cameras dominate the top five spots, with Canon’s Digital Rebel XSi, 5D Mark II and Rebel T1i taking ranks three, four and five.

Since Flickr has become a favorite among professional photographers and amateur photographers who wish they were professionals, it’s no surprise that DSLRs are as popular as they are. As TechCrunch points out, however, the important factor to take into consideration when looking at this graph is that the iPhone 4 is less than a year old. Compare that to the D90, which has been available for three years, and the meteoric rise of Apple’s latest smartphone seems even more impressive — or terrifying, if you’re in the camera-making business.

Point-and-shoot cameras have gone in the exact opposite direction as the iPhone 4. Canon’s PowerShot line completely dominates this sector, but the percentage of Flickr members who use these cameras has plummeted to staggeringly low numbers.

The most popular point-and-shoot, Canon’s PowerShot SD1100 IS, for instance, was used by 496 Flickr members on Sunday, who uploaded a total of just over 10,000 photos. The iPhone 4, by contrast, was used by nearly 10 times as many people — 4,653 users — on Sunday, who uploaded more than 43,000 pictures.

While Flickr’s analytics should be taken with a grain of salt — they don’t necessarily represent the market at-large — the data does support a long-standing belief among industry watchers that the point-and-shoot is gasping its last breaths. The smothering pillow of connected devices like the iPhone 4 only makes staying alive that much more difficult.

To anyone who uses the iPhone 4 on a regular basis, the benefits of the device are obvious: For the average user, the photos it takes are just as good — or better — than most point-and-shoots; its wireless connectivity and apps allow for simple photo-sharing.

Yes, the iPhone 4 is more awkward to use than a dedicated camera, especially without the presence of a physical “shoot” button. And the phone’s digital zoom is nothing compared to an optical zoom, especially on the high-quality point-and-shoot devices made by Canon. But when uploading photos to Flickr can be done on the go, and iPhone apps like Instagram quickly make photos look more interesting than anything most people can crank out of a point-and-shoot, it’s easy to see why the iPhone 4 has become such a worthy adversary to the camera industry.

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Andrew Couts
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