Flickr, the popular photography showcase website, has just published a graph showing the most popular cameras used to take photos displayed on the site. The Nikon D90 has been at the top of that particular chart for quite some time, taking over from the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSI, which has now fallen badly off the pace. Two of the others in the top five are also very familiar names: the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and the Canon EOS Rebel T1i. However, coming out of nowhere from farther down on the chart, the Apple iPhone 4 has passed all three of those Canon models and has a sure aim on the Nikon D90 currently in first place.
This hardly means that the Canons and Nikons are in danger from the lowly iPhone camera. What is does mean, though, is that one of our most popular aphorisms (“The best camera is the one you have with you.”) is growing in importance. That is to say, it does not matter a bit what your “good” camera is if you don’t have it when you need it. If you have an iPhone 4, though, you almost certainly have it in your pocket or purse all day long, and can use it to take a respectable 5 megapixel photo at a moment’s notice. So convenience and availability are playing a major part in which cameras get used.
The iPhone, easily the single most popular smartphone with a decent camera, is in million of pockets and purses all the time. It therefore gets used more than the “better” cameras that are at home or locked in the trunk when a photo op comes along. As the cameras in smartphones continue to get better, the odds are that we’ll see a lot more of this trend in the future.