What Camera Manufacturers are Most Popular? [Reader Digital Camera Census Results Part 1]

What Camera Manufacturers are Most Popular?
[Reader Digital Camera Census Results Part 1]


Over the last couple of weeks on dPS we’ve been running a reader camera census to do a little investigating into what cameras our readers are using as their primary digital camera.

Over 1800 readers responded to the question and today and tomorrow I’d like to share the results that we found.

Today I’d like to start with some of the more general results and tomorrow I’ll reveal the top camera models and reveal which single model DSLR is used by over 11% of all of our DSLR owning readers.

In this post I’ll reveal:

  • Which type of camera is used most by our readers
  • Which manufacturers are most popular in different classes of cameras

Do keep in mind that the following stats are just a summary of what our readers are using and as such is skewed towards people who are perhaps a little more serious in their hobby than the average camera owner.

Format of Cameras

I don’t think that there will be too many surprises in this result but when it comes down to the format of camera that most of our readers are using – the Digital SLR wins hands down with 94% of our readers responding that their primary camera is a DSLR.


Worth noting is that we were only counting the ‘primary’ camera used and did not count those readers who said that they used a point and shoot as a backup/secondary camera. I suspect that quite a few readers do this (I know I do). Perhaps we’ll run a survey on this in the coming months.

Obviously with the DSLR becoming a more affordable option the popularity of the format grows. It will be interesting to see whether the Micro Four Thirds market expands in the coming year and whether it’ll take ground away from DLSRs and/or Point and Shoot cameras.

Also note that we’ve lumped a lot of cameras in the ‘point and shoot’ category. If it’d been larger segment I would have done more analysis on whether they were compacts vs super zoom cameras – but the numbers were relatively small. My impression in compiling the stats was that about half those in that 6% segment were compacts and the other half were larger cameras.

Manufacturers of DSLRs

We always have a lot of debate in our forum area on the merit of different camera manufacturers. A lot of the debate revolves around the Canon vs Nikon rivalry – with a few readers who are fans of other manufacturers chiming in. This is reflected by the split of manufacturers in the DSLR section.


Just over 86.1 of our DSLR owning readers own a Canon or Nikon with Pentax, Sony and Olympus splitting almost all of the rest (only 0.4% of the total came from Samsung, Sigma, Konica Minolta and Fujifilm).

Canon fans will rejoice in this ‘win’ – however it is worth noting that those mentioning Canon cameras put forward 19 models while there were only 15 Nikon models mentioned. Canon fans might want to hold off on their gloating a little until we reveal the #1 camera owned by our readers in tomorrows post.

Manufacturers of Point and Shoots

As mentioned above – the number of responses from those using point and shoot cameras as their primary cameras was pretty low so I’m not going to put too much weight on these results. We’ll run another survey in the coming months to dig deeper into this market – but for the time being, here’s how the split went along manufacturer lines in the point and shoot category.

point and shoot-manufactuers.png

Canon dominates with Panasonic having a fairly respectable representation also. The other section was made up of a small number of responses for Leica, Olympus, Pentax and even a few who say that their iPhone is their primary camera.

Micro Four Thirds Manufacturers

The sample size for this response was even smaller and as there’s such a limited number of manufacturers in the game at this stage there’s not much to say.

micro four thirds manufacturers.png

This will be one to watch develop over the coming year or two.

Read more from our Cameras & Equipment category

Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • iqbal sohel June 7, 2011 08:08 am

    i was planning to buy a canon but ended up with a Nikon D 3100......it feels better in my hands then canon. i am a new DSLR user...though i used to use Zenith SLR long before. i loved that fully manual camera...it was wonderful....... But DSLR just amazing.....you don't need to buy different films and wait long time to see what you did ....With DSLR its instant ............like instant coffee........Photography becomes so easy.....what i can say WOWWW

  • Benjamin Kanarek July 3, 2010 07:27 pm

    Harper's BAZAAR, most recently shot with the Pentax K20D and Pentax Ltd 40mm lens exclusively:


  • Dana July 3, 2010 12:23 am

    Olympus E-620 all the way. I love the results and have never had so many compliments on my close ups and macro shots.

  • Putera Dedeq June 26, 2010 02:39 am

    very nice article bro................

  • nYro June 24, 2010 08:45 pm

    I own a Nikon D80

  • Dr suchitra mehta June 19, 2010 08:56 pm

    I am planning to buy Sony alfa 900 DSLR and I am interested in bird photography.Kindly advise.

  • Michael Hickey June 18, 2010 08:20 am

    THAT many people use Pentax and Sony? And they admit it?

  • citmariñas June 17, 2010 04:07 pm

    Nikon and P&S Sony!

  • Thomas June 17, 2010 08:56 am


  • Scott June 15, 2010 01:29 pm

    Yeah, and I do agree, Canon copiers and printers are really nice, but I'm an Oly fella, due to the glass, anyone can get software to make a picture a photograph.

    Oly makes Microscopes, and if Canon and Nikon had as good of glass, I guess I too might be a Canon or Nikon herd photographer, and if photo groups actually helped users with their specific cameras, other then Canon and Nikon, more of us would hang out here.

    I spend maybe $500 on a piece of glass that is one step up from the entry lens the camera body came with (unless you bought the top end Oly cameras, then they come with Professional grade lenses), and all I seem to hear from my Nikon and Canon friends, who never even asked what the glass cost is, they can't afford that quality.

    It is pretty hard to get a real take on it, when a fair portion of what a photo group offers is help with specific cameras, and ones like Oly, offer very little, and certainly not on this kind of a forum.

    I know a good number of Upper End Oly camera owners, and the impression I've gotten over the years is, Oly, it's the glass, Canon and Nikon have better software, and Canon has the mot gadgets available.

    Depending on what your shooting, I understand why the have Oly and Canon and Nikon cameras, but few of us can afford 3 bodies and the specialty glass that does what we want.

    I do lots of macro, and have to shoot in low light in wilderness conditions all the time, and I haven't heard of a competitor that can get close to what I'm getting. I admit, the Oly is slow to focus with long zooms, Canon and Nikon have me beat there, but when I get my photo, dollar of dollar on the equipment, and comparable photos' I'm the winner .


  • Stan Schurman June 15, 2010 07:44 am

    Canon should stick to making photocopiers or whatever it is they do. Leave fine cameras to Nikon. ....I'm kidding..even though I'm a Nikon owner.

  • Rolling Stone June 12, 2010 03:18 pm

    I found this interesting. But I ain't leaving my Nikon! EVER!

  • David Neely June 12, 2010 01:57 am

    It's all about the photographer. I own Sony, Nikon, and Canon cameras, and I like them all. I bought the Sony because it adapts to my 20yo Minolta lenses, the Nikon 7 years ago as my first digital, then a Canon P&S for travel. Now, I just got the Zeiss lens for the Sony and it's probably my most accurate...easy to use, and great shots. I don't want any other gear until the full frames come down in price. Then I'll probably go with the Nikon but I don't welcome the investment in lenses.

  • Scott Andrew June 11, 2010 06:21 pm

    Canon 500d & Panasonic TZ1

  • Artifex June 11, 2010 12:58 pm

    I bought my first DSLR just recently for my 21st; a Sony a550. When I was doing my research, I had "photographer" friends of mine (read: "think they know-it-alls") ask why I was going with Sony when I was just going to end up upgrading to Canon or Nikon. It frustrates me! I missed out on a job because I wasn't shooting Canon either - people just dont seem to take us seriously. I'm perfectly happy with my alpha (her name is Artemis) and was challenged to prove that my camera was better. Night time shooting over the beach, I ended up with a gorgeous picture, my Canon rival ended up with a black frame. Its not the equipment that makes the photographer. "Your camera makes nice pictures" - Gee thanks, your mouth makes nice compliments.

  • Brian Baverstock June 11, 2010 11:01 am

    I'm interested in getting a better tripod for my 50D and 200mm 2.8L IS USM lens because of the weight of the camera and lens.Where I purchase my equipment they have a Gitzo tripod GT 2931 ex Basalt.
    I know Gitzo's are very good but have found out that this model has been discontinued.and replaced with the GT 2830 model.Money is a factor here so I'm not sure if I should get the older model or spring and put out more cash for a present model.Would also like some imput as to what head I should get for my tripod and I need a head that has a quick release on it.
    Can you offer any advice on tripod's by Gitzo or should I look at Monfrotto's too.
    I need a tripod that is light and not to heavy.
    Thanks and best regards

  • Tom June 11, 2010 05:12 am

    Nikon, Canon, who cares. I don't think that it really makes any diferene. It is the person that pushs the shutter button that makes a good picture or a great picture. Not the camera.People get lost in the technical side and they loose sight of the art of photography. Professional use Canon or Nikon because of the many lenses and such. Did anyone ask Picasso what brush he used?

  • Lawrence Baker June 11, 2010 04:49 am

    Top French based Professional Benjamin Kanarek uses Pentax gear too. His photos appear on:
    VOGUE Italy, VOGUE Paris, VOGUE Brasil, RG VOGUE, Harper’s BAZAAR China, Harper’s BAZAAR Italy, L’Officiel Paris, New York Daily News Fashion, New York Times Magazine – Fashion Supplement, Women’s Wear Daily, Cosmopolitan (France and Italy), Elle (Spain, Portugal and Greece editions), Madame Figaro, Votre Beauté, “W” Magazine UK, Flare, Chatelaine, Glamour (French), Biba, 100 Cose, Dealer Deluxe, Oyster Magazine, Deutsch Magazine, Icon, Issue One, Tank, No Name magazine, West East Magazine, Jardin des Modes, Dépêche Mode…and so on.
    The K20D which you,Darren referred to as an "entry level" DSLR, produces RAW fileS slightly larger than the Canon 7D at the same ISO settings. Wow! That is really punching above its weight by the Pentax K20D!
    Conventional wisdom by its very nature is always out of date. People should think for themselves!!!!

  • jb June 11, 2010 02:13 am

    I'm a Pentax "pro", I guess you would call it. I've used Pentax not because of the brand but because of the product. And the product has two things I very much need...backwards compatibility with any lens ever produced for a Pentax, and incredible durability. On top of that, it's price point is the same or cheaper than the other brands (my opinion only there). Having used several "Canikons" over the years, going with Pentax is my personal choice and I've never regretted it.

    The best is not always the one with the most "sales" or the one that cost the most.

  • AliP June 11, 2010 01:52 am

    I'm a Canon user and lover, I got a 50D and this baby is pretty fast. I haven't had a chance to use a Nikon, but a friend of mine has and he said that was quiet confusing when you hold a different brand in your hand and it just didn't feel right for Canon users or should I say Canonians!

    P.s I enjoy reading your toturuals, I really do but never had a chance to participate in any of them though :(


  • Pedro Beltran June 11, 2010 01:27 am


    Thanks for your answer


  • d90dewey June 10, 2010 09:11 pm

    Nikon D90
    Nikon D40
    Nikon P&S

  • Scott June 10, 2010 04:43 pm

    Interesting, this shows that most people own a Canon or Nikon, but not that they are the best, just that they are easily the ones that can be found.

    I have a dozen friends that shoot photos in Big Basin Redwoods State park. 3 of us Use Oly's, one fella is a macro specialist, I'm a flower and macro specialist, the third one does scenery's. I have the mid grade E-620 (as is my skill level) and a couple of High grade lenses. My 5 Canon and 2 Nikon friends (3 of them say they are Pro quality photographers) , just will not compare photos in the field with me anymore, after mumbling about 'they can't afford glass that good'. I don't bother with software editing except on rare occasions, they spend many their evenings doing that after a day shooting.

    So, I SERIOUSLY would love to see a survey that shows which cameras are best in the entry DSLR category, mid range DSLR and the Professional categories, with a PRICE comparison for that equipment too.

    That would be informative, not who has the most accessible equipment, if that is the case, then a Ford would be the best car/truck in the world, yes Canon users?


  • Lesley June 10, 2010 03:49 pm

    Crikey !!
    I'm an "Other" !!!
    I didn't think Fuji was that rare :)

  • Robert June 10, 2010 02:20 pm

    Each brand has it's own strengths and challenges. I sincerely hope readers are choosing photographic tools by what best meets their needs rather than just blind brand loyalty. For me, like most working folks on a budget it ultimately came down to an investment in glass.

    I'd actually like to own them all and if I ever win a lottery I will.

  • Darren Rowse June 10, 2010 11:10 am

    Hi Pedro - yes I should have probably taken it to a couple of decimal points. The reality was that the 1% was closer to 0.7% and the others were probably a little rounded up too.

  • darren_c June 10, 2010 10:40 am

    @ Pedro Beltran

    There can usually be a +- 2% measurement error in most surveys. Usually due to rounding. Other time it can just be input error.



  • Jacob June 10, 2010 09:38 am

    I don't consider myself a Nikon/Canon/Sony/etc or Point and Shoot/DSLR user. More a hobbyist photographer.

    My camera is a Nikon DSLR camera (and I love it), but I have owned and used other cameras and enjoyed them as much.

    At the end of the day, what brand or form factor doesn't matter, it's how you use it that does.

  • chris1916 June 10, 2010 08:15 am

    Nikon D300s and D80

  • Scottyea June 10, 2010 06:12 am

    EOS 10D FTW!!!

  • Clayton June 10, 2010 05:25 am

    I agree that Pentax is a surprising third place finisher in the DLSR category, but I'm not sure if I agree with the thinking that you can't buy a Pentax on impulse. I've seen some ridiculous prices on entry level Pentax DSLRs over the past few years which would lead me to believe that may be where some of the 'strong third place' presence is coming from.

    Also, Frank, be prepared to be surprised, because you will inevitably see plenty of Canon users gloating about how they are the most common brand, along with all of their speculative reasons why, many of which are valid but sometimes slightly overblown. A similar thing happens with Nikon users, who I suspect are ever so slightly bitter because the numbers usually always show them as a close second.

    The true fact of the matter is that it will boil down to many factors for the individual (cost, features, lenses, previous experience, ect), but just about every DSLR out there is a quality tool, regardless of brand.

  • Rob June 10, 2010 04:47 am

    As a Pentaxian, I am pleasantly surprised by the strong third place finish. Considering Sony has been third in sales for quite a while, I expected to see better numbers from them.

    I think the relative strength of Pentax in this survey is a reflection of the LACK of Pentax retail presence. If you by a Pentax, you are probably more "serious" or "into" photography. Not a knock on any other brand, just retail facts. As much as I would like to, I cant buy a Pentax on impulse at Best Buy, Costco, or Target. You have to REALLY want a Pentax and then its buy and wait...wiat...wait.... My son is pulling his hair out waiting for his right now! If you have gone through all that, you are probably going to spend time online at sites like this.

  • BL June 10, 2010 04:17 am

    Canon SLR, Canon P&S, Samsung P&S, Olympus P&S, Panasonic P&S

  • Michael June 10, 2010 03:49 am

    That's why I go for the best... Canon!

  • Richard Lehoux June 10, 2010 03:48 am

    Ho no! Not an other Canon vs Nikon thread!

  • Chad June 10, 2010 03:36 am

    I use both a Canon and a Nikon. A film and a digital of each. I love them all!!! Glad to see everyone feels the same

  • Jackson June 10, 2010 03:19 am

    I own a Nikon D40 DSLR as well as a Samsung S85 point-and-shoot.

  • Pedro Beltran June 10, 2010 03:11 am

    Format of Camera used

    96% plus 6% plus 1% iqual to 101% is that right?

  • frank codispoti June 10, 2010 02:40 am

    Remember you are taking a survey of people who have a strong enough interest in photography to subscribe to this site. It would be odd if such people did not own a DSLR camera if they can possibly afford it, so your results on the type of camera owned should not be surprising.

    I also would be surprised if Cannon owners "gloated over being the most common camera. I own a Cannon because they are widely available, reasonably priced, and appear to be of good quality. I would not think of "gloating" about that. In fact, I would be far more interested in hearing what choice is made by veteran photographers who have owned or own a number of cameras and therefore have directly compared and contrasted the strengths and weaknesses of various camera makes and models. I am an amateur who bought his first DSLR last November, so I would benefit from the experience of others. If you did your survey in a way that allows you to give meaningful results of the subset I described above, or if you can do a new survey asking about experience with various brands, I would be grateful.

  • TimM June 10, 2010 02:27 am

    Nice to see Pentax ahead of Sony and Oly. With only 2 new models at that.

  • Jim Halpert June 10, 2010 02:25 am

    Well I'm a Nikon user and this is exactly why. Too many people are going for Canon just because they see most people using it.

  • darren_c June 10, 2010 01:53 am

    I'm a Nikon D300 user with a Canon P&S; so I guess I'm pretty well represented.


  • Orv Neconie June 10, 2010 01:45 am

    Canon 5D all the way, baby!

  • Shafraz Thawfeek June 10, 2010 01:28 am

    Woah! Nice! I'm a Canon user too!

  • Leonel Macias June 10, 2010 01:27 am

    Very cool "census." It's kind of interesting. Thanks!

  • MeiTeng June 10, 2010 12:31 am

    I am a Canon user :)