Smartphones take half of the photos — but DSLRs are growing, Flickr says

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Scott Betts
The number of images taken with smartphones continues to rise — but the numbers for DSLRs are on the rise, too. Flickr recently released its 2017 year-in-review data, showing a breakdown of the most popular devices on the platform.

Like with the past few years, smartphones were the No. 1 type of camera used on the platform, accounting for exactly half of all the uploads, up from 48 percent in 2016. While the data is an unsurprising continuation of previous years trends, the rise in smartphone photography isn’t at the cost of the DSLR.

DSLRs made up 33 percent of all the Flick uploads in 2017 — that is a number that is up from only 25 percent in 2016. In just one year’s time, DSLRs went from shooting a quarter of the photos to a third.

But if smartphones are up and DSLRs are up, something’s gotta go down. Images from point-and-shoot cameras was the only category with a loss this year. While the compact cameras made up 21 percent of the images in 2016, the smaller dedicated cameras shot only 12 percent of this year’s uploads. Mirrorless cameras have now held at four percent of the uploads for the third year in a row.

Flickr also tracks the brands used in those uploads and just like smartphones are once again the most used device, Apple is the top brand for the volume of uploads, with an iOS device accounting for nine out of the top 10 brand list. The most popular were the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone 5s while the Canon 5D Mark III also snuck into the top 10.

Canon was the second most popular brand accounting for 23 percent of the photos with Nikon following at 18 percent.

While uploads to the Flickr community aren’t exactly representative of all photographers, the data offers some insight into imaging trends for the year. The data seems to support the idea that the smartphone is replacing the compact camera, but not the DSLR. While a handful of companies have compact cameras with larger sensors, the trend away from compacts and toward interchangeable lens cameras is as easy to find as reviewing Nikon’s restructuring plan.

Remember though, uploading from a smartphone is much easier than uploading from a DSLR, so the ease of uploads could also be playing a role in smartphone’s dominance in volume alone. Flickr also released a list of the top 25 images of the year, a list which, like in 2016, is dominated by DSLRs, suggesting smartphones may make up a majority of the volume but DSLRs aren’t going anywhere when it comes to quality.

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