Camera Facts & Figures

Global Camera Market Size And The Future Of Photography

In 2020, which is the most recent year they have figures for, the photography industry was worth $9.8 billion!

And by 2026, the market for Global Digital Photography, is forecast to be worth nearly $150 billion! (So, don’t believe people when they say there’s no money in photography anymore). 

Smartphones Vs Digital Cameras

Digital cameras are losing the war against smartphones, the sales of digital cameras have dropped a huge 87% since 2010 and have gone from 121.5 million units to under 15 million!

A recent report showed that of all the people who take photographs, nearly 90% of them have never used a camera!

Women Get A Raw Deal

Not RAW, either, sadly. But raw. According to Women Photograph, women routinely record only 10-20% of the photographic bylines in major newspapers. The San Francisco Chronicle is the best at 43.3% and the UK’s The Guardian managed only 8.3%. 

Dilish Parekh Knows Cameras 

Dilish has the world’s largest camera collection. He owns more than 4,400 cameras which he keeps at his home in Mumbai.

1.2 Trillion Captures A Year?

Recent estimates, from 2017, suggest that at least 1.2 trillion photographs are taken each year and that 95 million of them are uploaded to Instagram each day and another 300 million to Facebook!

Given that between 2013 and 2017, the number of images generated globally doubled, in 2021, there may be more than 2 trillion captures a year!

They say that we now shoot more photographs, worldwide, in 2 minutes than the whole world took during the entire 18th century!



The Digital DSLR camera’s market is dying. In 2012, more than 16 million DSLRs were sold to the public but by 2020 only 2.3 million were. This is partly due to the popularity of smartphones but also down to a market change and increasing consumer preference for mirrorless cameras. 

Long Live Mirrorless

In 2020, mirrorless cameras accounted for 3.26 million sales to the public and for the first time ever, more mirrorless cameras were sold than DSLR. The best-selling brand? Sony, which accounted for nearly 1 in 3 mirrorless cameras produced that year.

Watermarks Are For Amateurs

A survey of the world’s top 100 photographers showed that just 7% of them used watermarks to identify their images. That means the vast majority of pros don’t use them.

Interestingly, 2 of these photographers didn’t have an Instagram account!

Everyone Can Find A Photographic Niche

According to Wikipedia, there are over 100 different genres of photography and videography, that’s more than enough for you to find a niche and dominate it. 

Are Cameras Getting More Expensive?

Mirrorless Sony

Yes, in fact, the average mirrorless camera purchase is around $980 compared to the average DSLR purchase of just $532! The collapsing market has seen camera companies completely restructure their business, don’t expect things to get cheaper in the future, they won’t.

Consumers Love Images

The future, they say, is video. But, in fact, a well taken photograph typically gets 20% more engagement on Facebook than a video does and 350% more engagement than words alone. 

Facebook now has over 10,000 times more images in its databases than the Library of Congress too.

And it’s worth noting that nearly 1 in 4 Google searches is for images, not web pages. 

There’s Expensive And Then, There’s Leica

Leica cameras have a reputation for being among the most expensive on the market but a Leica 0-series no. 122 is the world’s most expensive camera. It sold for $2.97 million at auction in 2018 and is one of only three of its kind anywhere in the world. 

Photographers Can Make A Fortune

The most expensive camera cost nearly $3 million but the most expensive photograph, according to Peter Lik, was one that he says he sold for $7 million. 

Lik has sold photographs for in excess of $1 million before but the “most expensive” image of all time was sold at a private sale and was not officially recorded in the record books. 

Andreas Gursky's Rhein II

If you choose not to believe Lik, then Andreas Gursky holds the official record, his photo Rhein II, sold for $4.3 million at auction!

Recent surveys suggest that even among the more normal realms of professional photography that more than half of professionals charge more than $900 a day!

Baby Photos Can Get Your Wallet Back

In a bizarre experiment, researchers deliberately lost 240 wallets and placed the address of the  “owner” inside. 

They found that if the wallet had a baby photo in it, then you had an 88% chance of getting it back, a dog’s photo meant the wallet’s return in roughly half the cases, but only 15% of wallets without photos came back. 

The Biggest DSLR Lens Is Huge

You may, occasionally, hear photographers bemoaning the weight of their kit, but they should be glad they’re not shooting the Canon 5200mm F14 lens. It can focus at up to 32 miles away from a subject! But it comes at the price of weight and it weighs 220 lbs (100 Kg)! 

It isn’t the most expensive lens of all time but at $50,000 it’s not cheap, either. 

The First Funny Cat Picture Is Super Old

Harry Pointer Cats

You may think sharing funny cat pictures is something new, but, in fact, the first was made back in the 1870s by a guy called Harry Pointer. Some trends never die.

The Human Eye Is A Variable Aperture Lens

It’s true! When you’re in bright sunlight, your pupils contract and your eye has an F-stop of about 8.3, but if you go into a dark room, they expand and your F-stop rises to 2.0. 

There Are Cameras On The Moon

Human beings are notorious for throwing stuff out that could be re-used and the Apollo 11 astronauts abandoned 12 x perfectly good Hasselblads on the surface of the moon because it was cheaper than bringing them back with them.  

Travel Photos Are Popular

When surveyed by Foregroundweb, 45% of professional photographers said they were all about travel photography, 32% specialized in portraits, 12% took “general photos”, 7% did weddings and only 4% were involved in real estate and architecture imagery!

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