Your average consumers use — almost exclusively — the cameras inside their smartphones for picture taking these days. Professionals use big black cameras with even bigger lenses. Or, at least that’s the perception most us have when thinking about camera use. But is this actually true?
The analysts at Suite48Analytics have conducted a survey among a total of 881 professional photographers from North America and Europe to find out and published the results in a report titled Pro Photographers and their Camera Use’.
The report covers camera use in general but puts some emphasis on ‘stand-alone cameras’ versus smartphones. The results aren’t entirely surprising. Most photographs for business purposes are still captured with a dedicated camera of some sorts. However, 11 percent of the surveyed photographers use a smartphone camera for approximately 50 percent of their pro images. Smartphone use for professional images is also on the rise, with 31 percent saying they use the smartphone more now than they did 12 months ago.
As one would assume, smartphone use is higher for personal photography. 29 percent take 50 percent of their non-work photos with a smartphone. 36 percent take even more than half of their personal pictures with a phone.
Despite Android phone makers putting a lot of emphasis on their devices’ camera capabilities, the iPhone is still the clear favorite among pro professionals, with 86 percent using an Apple model.
So for what type of work do pro photographers use their smartphone camera? Interestingly smartphones are mostly used in situations that don’t involve a client present at the scene. 58 percent use the smartphone to take photos that support their own business, for example, website photos or social media posts. 20 percent use phones for behind the scenes type of work.
In those situations when professional photographers do use a dedicated camera the trusty DSLR is still the most popular choice with 53 percent, but at 30 percent mirrorless full-frame cameras are getting closer. Medium format cameras get some use, too, but all other types of cameras are represented in a fairly minor way.
Professionals who use smartphones do so predominantly because they have less gear to carry and the phone allows you to ‘catch moments’ because it is always within reach. On the other hand, phone use is still much lower than it could otherwise be because professional photographers have concerns about the optical quality of smartphone cameras, even those on high-end models, but also client perception. It seems in some people’s minds it’s still the camera that makes the pro and that also has an impact on gear choice among professionals.
You can find a summary and the full (paid) report for download on the Suite48Analytics website.