Shotkit has just published the finding of a recent survey where 1,000 photographers were asked “What camera do amateur and professional photographers use in 2022?”. The findings of the survey are quite surprising but give a good insight into the most popular camera choices.
Since mirrorless cameras first emerged on the scene, there has been an ongoing debate as to whether they really are better than DSLRs. While the best mirrorless cameras (opens in new tab) often offer smaller bodies, faster continuous burst modes and silent shooting options, the best DSLRs (opens in new tab) can be more ergonomic, they have optical viewfinders rather than electronic ones which means better quality and less lag and the battery life is often a lot better.
Despite the advantages and disadvantages of both according to Shotkit (opens in new tab), mirrorless cameras are preferred by 63% of professional photographers while 36% are still loyal to DSLRs and only 1% have both.
Interestingly, the divide among amateur photographers is a lot less with 54% using mirrorless systems and 45% still using DSLRs. One of the reasons for the more even split could be that amateur photographers don’t have such a need for the latest equipment and can’t justify the high costs as they’re not earning money from it.
Overall, the most popular camera used by professional photographers is the Sony A7 III (opens in new tab) despite it being released in 2018. When it first came out, many photographers were switching from DSLRs to mirrorless for the first time (I know because I sold an insane number of them at The Photography Show in 2019) and the Sony A7 III offered high-quality photos and video, in-body stabilization and a smaller, lighter body than many pro DSLRs.
While 7% of professional photographers favor the Sony A7 III making it the most popular camera, Nikon is actually the most popular overall brand with 31% of pros using models such as the Nikon Z9, the Nikon Z7 II or the Nikon Z6 II. Canon comes a close second with 28%, while Sony followed in third place with 20%.
Amateur photographers are also big fans of the Sony A7 III but the Nikon D850 (opens in new tab) is equally as popular - two very different cameras capable of producing outstanding image quality. While the Sony A7 III is a better all-rounder, the D850 is a high-resolution powerhouse with one of the best focusing systems in any DSLR. Canon is the most popular brand for the amateur market with a 27% stake closely followed by Nikon (25%) and Sony (16%).
The camera you choose will massively depend on what type of photographer you are and what you like to shoot. Both amateur and professional photographers tend to opt for mirrorless cameras over DSLRs as they are faster at focussing, better for video and are smaller/lighter. But those who have stuck with DSLRs prefer the range of lenses available, the cost of switching to mirrorless is too high and they have more robust bodies.
Of course, if you asked every photographer in the world what kit they used you might get very different results but asking 1000 photographers is enough to indicate the current camera trends. It is surprising that some of the more recent camera releases such as the Canon EOS R5 (opens in new tab) or the Sony A7R IV (opens in new tab) don't appear on the list but that could be down to the fact that a) they've been so hard to get hold of due to supply chain issues and b) they're incredibly expensive as are the lenses to go with them. Times are hard and with living costs rising, perhaps four-year-old cameras are the way forward?