If you argue the point look at the sad that on Flickr the most popular camera phone for providing shots is the iPhone.
Of course, you would not be surprised that it is more popular as a digital phone than Nokia or even Sony Ericsson with its K600i. But the fact is that it is the most popular camera phone on Flickr and its resolution is a non-mind blowing two megapixels.
But it is not just the iPhone is beating out all other mobile phones: it is galloping into a position that it is one of the most popular cameras overall.
It has no flash, cannot be zoomed and only gives low resolution pictures with its two megapixels. Yet it made that stunning picture that heads this article.
In truth the latest figures suggest that as a digital camera (even though it is primarily a mobile phone) it is slightly behind the Canon Rebel XTi â€” but that will probably have changed since Christmas and at some point in the very near future it is highly possible that the iPhone will lead the pack as the most popular camera in the world.
To check this out go to Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/cameras/.
Take a note of what it says:
These graphs show the number of Flickr members who have uploaded at least one photo or video with a particular camera on a given day over the last year.
The graphs are ‘normalized’, which is a fancy way of saying that they automatically correct for the fact that more people join Flickr each day: the graph moving up or down indicates a change in the camera’s popularity relative to all other cameras used by Flickr members.
The graphs are only accurate to the extent that we can automatically detect the camera used to take the photo or shoot the video (about 2/3rds of the time). That is not usually possible with cameraphones, therefore they are under-represented.
Indeed, they are. But there are other ways of checking what was used to take the photograph â€” slow and laborious but you can do it and it is fairly accurate â€” and the fastest growing sector is mobile phones with a camera built-in.
Why is this?
Jimmy Fox was the editor of Magnum studios in France. I had lunch with him in Paris a few weeks ago. We are talking about a man who knew Cartier Brisson, Capa â€” all the greats. And his biggest rule for taking pictures is that you must have a camera with you.
His advice is probably, possibly, why the iPhone is becoming the most popular digital camera in the world.
If you have one you always have it with you. It is not cheap, it is slightly flash and it gives you some street cred. And when you have taken a picture you can immediately send it to your friends or to Flickr.
So you do not leave it at home.
Therefore you have a digital camera with you wherever you go. Which is why pictures by the iPhone are leading the charge. Even in news pictures shots from digital cameras are starting to take over from serious camera work. (In just the same way on the news video clips taking by amateurs are starting to dominate the airwaves.)
What happens next?
At a guess Apple â€” and its digital phone with everything added â€” will up the ante byÂ improving the resolution of the built in camera to, say, 4 megapixels. And every mobile phone maker will realize that a mobile phone is no longer valid unless it has a built in digital camera of 4 megapixels or more. And as this picture shows, manufacturers are racing to make on-ons that make the iPhone a more complete, if daft-looking, camera.Â (One blogger wrote: That’s sort of cool, yet utterly friggin useless at the same time.)
True. But this is but the start of a revolution. It will be possible to make that lens smaller, compact. It could easily be made into a very slim clip-on with the Carl Zeiss Tessar lens.
This will not affect the high end camera market. It may not affect the point-and-shoot market to as great an extent as you might think. But it will mean that in the next few years a serious percentage ofÂ pictures will be taken on camera phones and this will, in itself, become a new art form.