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ExploreCams pulls metadata from photo sharing sites to show most popular cameras

Canon EOS 5DS R
Jessica Lee Star/Digital Trends
Every time you press the shutter, your camera not only captures the photograph, it also records a lot of data that’s stored inside the image file.

This information is referred to as metadata. And when viewed inside a comparable program, it will show you almost every piece of detail about the image, from shutter speed to GPS location of where you captured the image — if you have a GPS-enabled camera.

Although this information can be manually removed or scrubbed out by social media sites, much of it is retained when uploading it to photography hosting and sharing sites, as a way to better help other photographers understand how an image was captured and what gear was used.

Using this publicly available information, a team of developers created ExploreCams, a mesmerizing website that pulls metadata from photographs hosted Flickr, 500px, Pixabay, and others to show off live statistics of the most popular cameras and settings used by photographers around the globe.

To do this, ExploreCams relies on metadata reading tool ExifTool. Using this, ExploreCams performs weekly refreshes and updates its databases and infographics accordingly. Already, over six million images have been indexed.

The results, which are shown off in beautiful interactive graphs, aren’t that surprising if you’ve been around the photography world long enough. Canon holds the lead for the most commonly used camera, with Nikon coming in a close second. Sony rounds out the top three, while Apple — led by its latest iOS devices — comes in at fourth.

As for lenses, it appears as though kit lenses take the top spot for most manufacturers. Not exactly surprising considering the lenses are packaged with the camera bodies and offer an affordable starting point.

It’s easy to get lost in the data, so consider yourself warned if you want to dive down the ExploreCam rabbit hole. If you have time to burn, head on over and check it out in its entirety.

Gannon Burgett
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