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45% of World Press Photo winners were shot on Canon cameras

Canon eos 5D Mark IV
(Image credit: Canon)

The World Press Photo (WPP) awards represents the work of some of the best photojournalists in the world, and those interested will be keen to learn the equipment that is used by professionals in what is the Olympics of documentary photography.

Mirrorless or DSLR? APS-C or full frame? It can be extremely easy to get bogged down by equipment and become fixated on which system is the best. There's no right or wrong answer, as the top pros can use any of the best cameras for professionals (opens in new tab) and get incredible results. 

That being said, it's always intriguing to see what kit is favored by the best shooters in the world. So photolari (opens in new tab) gathered data from this year's WPP competition to decipher the most popular camera bodies that were used to capture highly commended and winning images. 

Kamloops Residential School for the New York Times (Image credit: © Amber Bracken, for The New York Times)
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The World Press Photo of the Year 2022 winning image (above), by Canadian photographer Amber Bracken, commemorates children who were mistreated and died at Kamloops Residential School, with red dresses hung over unmarked grave crosses. 

It was taken using a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (opens in new tab) – and it seems that the EOS 5D series remains the most commonly used camera among top achievers in the contest. 

Data from Photolari shows that out of all the brands (Marcas) used throughout the competition, derived from the submitted image available information, Canon was the most used brand with 11 cameras used by successful participants, in comparison to 5 Nikon cameras, 3 Sony, 2 Fujifilm and a singular Leica. 

Courtesy of Photolari (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Photolari)
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The white section of the chart (Sin datos) represents images that had no data or equipment information available. Nikon came second in this ranking of cameras used that include the D3200. Sony sits in third with its Sony A7 III (opens in new tab) and a few Sony A7R III (opens in new tab)s used to capture images ranked in the competition.

According to the study, out of the 24 regional winners (opens in new tab) only 22 entries had clear and accessible data. Interestingly, one of the regional winners for Africa, photographer Rehab Eldalil, uses a Huawei P10 for his image of a woman picking wild herbs. A DJI drone was also used by Lalo de Almeida, from South America, as well as a Canon EOS 5D Mark III (opens in new tab).

As for the type of systems used (Sistema), data shows that SLRs dominated at just 59% (13 out of 22), though mirrorless systems are climbing the ranks in second place with 36% (8 out of 22). Out of the mirrorless systems used, cameras included a Canon EOS R5, (opens in new tab) a Nikon Z7 (opens in new tab) and a veteran Fujifilm X-T2 (opens in new tab). Rangefinders (Telemetricas) were the least used. 

Courtesy of Photolari (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Photolari)
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The findings from Photolari note that the removal of the WPP sports category means that especially fast professional cameras have, as a result, been somewhat demoted in use for entries. 

Additional data from the competition was collected by The Phoblographer (opens in new tab), data mined using Capture One 22 (opens in new tab) to decipher the cameras used by professional photojournalists. According to this, a Canon 5D Mark II, Mark III, and a Leica M8 were used by Rijasolo Riva in entries submitted to African Long-term Projects. A Canon EOS 1D X and Canon EOS-1D X Mark II (opens in new tab) were used by Dar Yasin in the Asia Honorable Mentions category. 

Intriguingly, the only medium format camera to have been used by the regional and global winners was the Fujifilm GFX 50S (opens in new tab).

• Read more: 

Best DJI drones (opens in new tab)
Best Canon camera (opens in new tab)
Best DSLR (opens in new tab)
Best Canon lenses (opens in new tab)
Best mirrorless camera (opens in new tab)
Powerful images triumph at the World Press Photo Contest 2022 (opens in new tab)

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A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.