The Most Popular Cameras in Every Country, Based on Millions of Flickr Photos

Flickr is the greatest slide show carousel in the world. And serious photographers love to let their audience know that they’re using the greatest cameras to fill it.

While Instagram has become a platform for memories and ‘content,’ Flickr is where photographic quality and technique set the agenda. Flickr may have fallen out of the limelight when camera phone photography and social media emerged as perfect partners in the late noughties, but professionals and enthusiasts continue to gather there to share notes and discoveries.

Technique is hard-won, but knowing the camera, lens, f-stop, etc., that a photographer used to get a particular effect narrows down the variables. And, thanks to the metadata-storing capabilities of digital camera devices, Flickr’s photographers tend to broadcast their set-up by copying the metadata of their photo files over along with their snaps.

As SimpleGhar demonstrates with our latest research project, collectively, this data reveals the ‘go-to’ cameras and camera phones that Flickr’s photographers are using around the world.


What We Did

SimpleGhar analyzed the tags assigned to more than 470 million photos uploaded to Flickr. We discovered which brands were most used overall and ranked which camera models and phones were used most often to take photos within each country based on up to 5,000 of the latest photos uploaded there.


Key Findings

  •   The most popular photography device brand in the world is Apple, accounting for 150,787,710 photos on Flickr — 31.79% of the total.
  •   The most popular model is the Apple iPhone 11, which has 13,212,135 tags on Flickr.
  •   The Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max is the most popular camera phone in the U.S.
  •   The Canon EOS 5D MARK IV is the world’s most popular standalone camera, with 11,761,586 photos on Flickr.


Canon Dominates “Proper” Camera Usage on Flickr

The first true digital camera (the Dycam Model 1) to be sold in stores landed in 1990, but there was a way to go before the holy trinity of quality, convenience and affordability would usher in the true digital age. As late as 2001, film was still the norm among professionals. But digital workflows and the pressure to disseminate images quickly on the internet drove the technology forward. By 2004 digital SLR camera sales achieved annual sales of 2.5 million. The following year, Sony and Konica Minolta combined forces, and the industry has never looked back.


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However, it is not Sony that is top in Japan today but another Japanese brand: Canon. The Canon EOS R3 is a high-performance mirrorless camera designed for sport, wildlife and news. With a top shutter speed of 1/64,000sec and Eye Control autofocus that tracks your human eye to choose the focus point, it is responsible for some incredible action photography.



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But while Canon is the camera brand of choice in 38 countries, only Ireland and Sweden share the R3 as their most commonly used along with Japan. Most popular of all is the Canon EOS 5D MARK IV, which is the non-phone camera behind the most pics on Flickr (11,761,586) and the top choice in nine countries — including the U.S. The 5D IV comes in below half of the R3’s $6k price tag, making it a strong alternative for the serious hobbyist with savings. Some 12 of the 20 most popular camera models on Flickr are made by Canon, and all of the top 20 are made by Japanese brands.


Japanese Camera Brands Battle International Camera Phones

Japanese camera brands may account for the most commonly used camera models on Flickr, but open the field up to camera phones, and things get a little more international. Apple and Google (U.S.), Samsung (South Korea) and Huawei (China) are among the top 10 brands of photography devices used on the site — although the remainder of the top 10 are all Japanese camera brands.


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However, as our data viz illustrates, the landscape is dominated by four big brands. Together, Apple and Canon are behind more than half of all the photos on Flickr. It is Apple, and particularly iPhones 11 through 13, that is responsible for the lion’s share. In fact, Apple has been the most used camera brand on Flickr since 2015, when measured by the percentage of photographers using Apple devices rather than the number of photos they took.


Camera Phone Flickr is All About the iPhone

Camera phone quality has come a long way since the first “Frankenstein-like” clip-on we mentioned in our history of the device. But while the “golden age of smartphone innovation” dawned before the first iPhone, Apple’s revolutionary ‘everything device’ triggered the transition towards the always-snapping, always-sharing camera culture that prevails today, for better or worse.

Apple’s rivals soon began the game of catch-up — and produced ever-better cameras. But the desirability of the iPhone coupled with Apple’s efforts to make budget-end buyers choose secondhand iPhones over cheap alternatives have kept the iPhone on top, and it now accounts for 52.5% of all actively-used smartphones in the U.S.


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This dominance is reflected in our Flickr data, with the iPhone 12 Pro Max proving the most popular camera phone in the U.S., and models from the iPhone 7 to the latest 14 Pro accounting for the top device in 62 of the 87 countries with available data. The 14 Pro is considered a leap, boasting achingly sharp images and far better light handling than previous models thanks to hardware tweaks and the software processing in Apple’s so-called Photonic Engine.


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However, despite being superseded by later models and despite being the most commonly used camera phone in just five countries, the near-four-year-old iPhone 11 is responsible for more photos than any other machine. It helps that it tops the popularity chart in China. Plus, it’s a camera device that has been worth hanging onto or picking up secondhand, marking a significant improvement over previous iPhone cameras.

“No matter what iPhone you are using now, if you are serious about shooting photos with your iPhone, this is a year to upgrade,” wrote photographer Austin Mann on when the 11 was released in 2019. “Apple had some serious catching up to do and as a result, this year has brought a tremendous leap in camera capability.”


From .PNG to AI

Today, we may carry more than one “totally electronic system for taking and showing still pictures” (as patented 45 years ago) without giving it a second thought. But the first digital camera prototype to be built weighed four kilos, and early consumer alternatives were similarly user-unfriendly, from the Mavica, which stored pictures on floppy disks, to the Xapshot, which was the first (analog) electronic camera, costing $499 but asked an extra $999 for essential accessories.

Since then, consumers have deferred ever more control to tiny chips and, now, to the cloud. Camera phones already use computation to improve images, and advances in AI image generation will make future snaps look suspiciously well-captured, whether the photographer is aware of it or not.

However, for Flickr’s professionals and serious hobbyists, using more tangible and deliberate technology is a point of pride. As technology advances beyond what’s humanly conceivable, the dividing line between whether it’s the photographer or their tools that makes a great photo will continue to be fiercely debated.



To discover the most popular camera brands, camera devices and camera phones used around the world, we considered more than 470 million photos that have been uploaded to and tagged with the name of the device that was used to photograph.

To discover the most popular camera and camera phone used to photograph in every country, we analyzed up to 5,000 of the most recent photos uploaded to Flickr in the world’s 100 most populated countries. We then ranked which camera and camera phone model was tagged most often as the device used to take the photos within each country.

Our final rankings removed any countries that were heavily skewed (50% or more photos) by one Flickr user.

The data for this research was collected in March 2023.

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