There have been a couple of articles floating around the internet talking about how the iPhone 4 is one of the most popular cameras on Flickr. This piqued my interest on a few different levels, so I had to just go and check it out for myself. So, I decided to head on over to Flickr and you can check out data on the cameras that are being used by the Flickr community. And I couldnʼt believe what I was seeing.
When you look at the data I am amazed at what is showing up. First, I cannot believe that the iPhone 4 is almost as popular as the Nikon D90 on Flickr. Now, I have both an iPhone 4 and a D90 and there is no comparison between the two when it comes to taking pictures. More on this observation later. It is also amazing to see how the iPhone 4 just started trending upward and never let up, surpassing some very good Cannon point and shoots.
Secondly, if you look at the “Popular Point and Shoot Cameraʼs” graph, it shocks me to see that every single camera on there for one, is a Cannon (sorry, I am biased to Nikon) and that they are steadily decreasing in popularity. There are some very interesting observations I can make about this.
Then, when you look at the third graph, it is somewhat surprising that the iPhone 4 made that much of a leap in popularity. I also would have thought the iPod Touch would have made a similar leap being that it also introduced a back and front facing camera as well.
So what does all of this data mean? Well, it can mean a lot of things and it can possibly mean nothing at all. But, it has to mean something. You cannot look at these three graphs and conclude that nothing is happening. I think there are some significant things happening here. Let me share some of my thoughts.
Majority of people are satisfied with iPhone camera. Yes, granted the iPhone 4 has a 5 megapixel camera, but it is slowly getting better and better to the point that the average camera user will just as assume use an iPhone 4 to take their pictures rather than spend double or triple the amount to get a camera that takes higher quality pictures. The iPhone camera is only going to get better and better. People would rather not take the time to take really high quality pictures and spend the money on a camera to do this, when they can take pretty good pictures for a fraction of the cost. This then leads me to my next point.
Better pictures = more time. I think if you ask the average person if they wanted to learn how to take and get better quality pictures, most would lose interest. I know for me, as much as I love good pictures, I hate taking the time to learn and understand how to take really good pictures. Taking good pictures is a process and it takes time to learn the camera and how it functions. Most people donʼt want to take the time to do this. They want the camera to do it for them in the least amount of time possible. Why do you think apps like Instagram and Camera+ are so popular? It is because you can take a mediocre iPhone 4 picture and spruce it up into a good looking photo without knowing how to do any of the work to get the picture to look good. You just choose a filter and boom, you are done. Now, why would I want to learn how to do all the other things to make the picture look that good, when I can get an app that does it for me?
The more popular the phone, the more popular the camera. As you can see from the graphs, a lot of people are using smart phones as their camera of choice now days. As a photographing hobiest, this somewhat makes me nervous. But, we have to face facts here. We need to realize the inevitable. The fact is, it is not how good the camera is, it is how good the phone and all that comes with it. As you can see the iPhone 4 definitely does not have the best camera of any smart phone out there on the market. But because of the fact that it does so many other things well, the camera is secondary. I think what phone makers need to realize is that it isnʼt the camera that will attract people to use their smart phone as a camera, it is everything else that comes with it that will make people use their camera. Here is a good example. Lots of people went out and bought the iPad 2. I would venture to guess most people really liked the fact that the iPad 2 had both a front and rear camera and that is one of the factors that made them get it. But did most people realize that the cameras in the iPad 2 are maybe 1 or 2 megapixels? No, people donʼt care, they will use it any way. Why? Because the iPad 2 is an amazing device. People donʼt care about how good the camera is. They will use them regardless.
So, in conclusion, yes the iPhone 4 does have a camera that is very popular. But, it is not the camera itself that is popular, it is the iPhone 4 in general that is popular. And this is what drives it to become one of the most popular on Flickr. There are many other things I could say about these graphs, but these are the three that I think are most worth mentioning. Now, like I said earlier, this data is something we need to take with a grain of salt. On the one hand, it is interesting to see how popular the iPhone 4 is as a camera, on the other hand, we are taking data just from Flickr. So who knows, but I think one thing is for sure. The camera phone will eventually take over the entry level point and shoot some day and that day may not be too far away.
What do you think about this data? Let us know in the comments.
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.