The Most Popular Cameras and Settings for Reuters’ 2012 Photos of the Year

Reuters has published its list of the best photographs taken in 2012, a massive collection of 95 powerful images showing different events that have occurred around the globe over the past year. In addition to large photos, descriptions by the photographers, and the official captions, each image is also accompanied by information about the equipment and settings that were used to capture it.

Photography enthusiast and Reddit user hallbuzz decided to copy, paste, sort, and tally all 95 EXIF data entries, and published a list with the ranking of cameras, lenses, and settings used.

Another user named mathiasa then took that list and turned the data into a series of charts. They offer an interesting glimpse at how some of the most powerful photographs recently captured by photojournalists were snapped:


Prime Lenses

Zoom Lenses

Shutter Speed



A single photograph captured using the most popular equipment and settings (for Reuters’ top 95 photos of 2012) would be shot using a Canon 1D Mark IV with a 16-35mm lens attached, set at 1/320s, f/2.8, and ISO 200.

(via Reuters via Reddit)

Update: mathiasa has released an updated series of charts here. We’ve updated the charts in this post with the new versions.

Image credits: Photographs by Reuters, charts by mathiasa

  • Anthony Harrison

    This is interesting.

  • EdwardCoffey

    “F (two-point-) eight and be there”.

  • Yo

    No Nikon D700? Most shot at ISO 200? Is it me or these colors?

  • Sven Ratzel

    I wonder that ANY Nikons are in this statistics. As far as I know all cameras that Reuters owns are Canons. So I guess the Nikon pictures are taken with the photographers own cams, not with the ones provided by the employer.

  • Kay O. Sweaver

    Finally. Now I can go buy a 1DmkIV with16-35mm, set it to 1/320, f2.8, ISO 200, glue all of the buttons and dials so they don’t change and take award winning photos.

  • Sum_it

    strange to see multiples of 100 ISO more popular than multiples of 160.

    In any case, this is a fantastic post and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Thanks Michael!

  • Kevin Baird

    The random colors actually make these charts pretty hard to read.

  •!/thelonelylights Adam Cross

    definitely! so annoying

  •!/thelonelylights Adam Cross

    exactly. all the remotely operated cameras at the Olympics operated by Reuters were 1D X cameras – for example. Pretty biased chart – and pointless, it doesn’t really tell us anything

  • Andy Austin

    Makes me feel good about myself that I own a Canon 5DMii with a 16-35 f/2.8 and the 70-200 f/2.8. Now of course.. cameras and lenses don’t make photographs, photographers make photographs.

  • Michael Willems (MVWphoto)

    Oddly enough, I most often shoot with a 1Dx with a 16-35 lens at 200 ISO.

  • Mikko Löppönen

    Probably because 100 ISO is usually the base. 160 is just digitally pushed down. Multiples of 160 are good only in videomode (as it isn’t raw). In raw, it’s better to go native and multiples of 100.

  • Zak Henry

    “A massive collection of 95 images”

    Are there some zeros missing here, or is my understanding of “massive” a little off?

  • Mansgame

    This is very nice information to have. I guess when it comes to getting pictures that really matter, the camera in addition to the photographer are important too.

  • Sean Derrick

    This is the dumbest post. Why the Hell would anyone put so many colors that are so close to others, it’s confusing. Should have been made with letters associating the items. Besides, as many have said before Reuters uses Canon. Big deal! It is NOT the camera that makes the great photographs, it is the photographer. Anyone who says otherwise knows NOTHING about photography. Sure, super cool highly expensive equipment helps, but I’d rather give props to the photog. Who cares that a majority of shots were taken with an ISO of 200 (I think anyway)? Seriously, so what? Are the conditions the same in every photo? Of course not. Pointless. Same with the F-stop and shutter speeds, and zoom lenses. I think someone was just plain bored creating these graphs.

  • Albi Kl

    Agreed. Listing the items in order or a different type of graph would have been a better option.

  • Sven Ratzel

    The most interesting thing about these stats is that I can completely cheap out on the 24-70. I start to believe Ken Rockwell who stated that the mid-range is not good for interesting pictures. Take a wide-angle zoom and a tele-zoom, save money and weight and leave the mid-range zoom at home or in the shelve of the store.
    Also interesting that many pictures are shot with a completely open aperture. At least I think I can state this with the huge amount of 2,8 and 1,4 apertures.

  • Me

    Too bad the charts are impossible read. Did they have an idiot make them?

  • Peter

    What an absolutely meaningless and pointles post.
    Who cares what brand Reuters photgraphers use or what their settings setting are for journalistic photos.

  • Isaac Sunkes

    I am colorblind, so which is which?

  • Jim Saul

    The surprising part is that Canon so utterly dominates over Nikon. I use Canon, so glad to see it, but still I didn’t expect such totally lopsided results.

    I suspect it would be reversed if we were looking at studio model shots.

  • Zak Henry

    The bias is the fact that you are looking at the statistics from one photo agency that supplies their photographer with cameras. Reuters sticks to Canon, probably for simplicity’s sake.

  • Dave


  • Nathan Gibbs

    Yep. Needed to sort the charts and key in order.

  • Thewirehead

    You cared enough to read and comment…

  • Ryan Troop

    I kinda wanna see the pictures that represent that 11% Sony contribution with a point and shoot.. seems odd that none of the current DSLR or NEX cams were used in any of the “best” and an 6+ year old point and shoot represents the best of Sony… that’s either a Reuter’s bias, or data that is poorly accounted for… or something funky going on…

  • Duke Shin

    I just see browns and greys…

  • 11

    you might also need to glue the award winning photographer to the camera.

  • kyoshinikon

    Its a Reuter’s bias… I used to now a guy who was on a string with them and he used his a900 after about a year of getting away with it one day somebody decided to check the exif. He was told that if he didn’t go to canon or at minimum nikon he would be dropped. His D3 kept him his job just because some higher ups who know little about the tools thought he was delivering a sub par product only based off the fact that his tool was a a900.

  • Scott Strohmeier

    Two things. The graphs are terrible. But what I want to know, is what awards those shots won to be considered such powerful images. Any shots win Pulitzers? Or any other such prizes? Or are these just the ones that Reuters likes the most?

  • wickerprints

    These charts are a perfect example of choosing the wrong visualization type based on which data was analyzed first. Although the first chart represents categorical data (type of camera), the last three data (shutter speed, f-number, and ISO) are exposure-related and therefore better understood if plotted as a histogram.

    In fact, one could take this further and plot the focal length(s) of the lenses in a similar fashion, especially for the prime lenses.

  • NDT

    I concur.

  • NDT

    Thats your opinion. I, and may others find it to be quite an interesting analysis. One example is, Camera companies could find this kind of information very useful in future product developments .The data is massively useful to many people, unlike your post.

  • Tobie Openshaw

    Don’t fortget a ticket to Kabul, or Dharmsala. Or, indeed, to Peachtree Avenue, USA.

  • Jonas

    That is the joke.

  • Anon

    The colours are actually in order, so if you read down the list, you can read the colours on the chart going clockwise starting from the 12 o’clock position, if that helps with sorting out the similar colours.

  • itsraininginsunnysantabarbara

    LOL! Thanks for posting the instructions-you made my day!

  • statnerd

    Offhand I can’t think of a worse way to try to communicate these numbers.

  • Jjjustinnn

    Yeah, I noticed the same. Why is everyone complaining about the choice of colors? It’s very easy; random to tell them apart and 12 o’clock as a starting point. With so many variables I think using a pie-chart makes sense.

  • 9inchnail

    “Well, Leonard in Big Bang Theory used the word “plenty” when talking about the number of girls he dated. “Plenty” turned out to be two. So if two is plenty, 95 is quite massive.

  • PR4Photos

    Something wrong somewhere. No Nikon D700 or 17-35mm lens

  • 9inchnail

    And again, the photographer alone does not take great pictures. You can’t shoot sports if your camera’s highest acceptable ISO is 800 and your lens can’t go any faster than 5.6 . In perfect conditions, yeah sure, an entry level DSLR will propably do the job. But these photos were shot in quite less than perfect conditions.

    If you want a high quality full page print of a photo, 10 MP won’t do, you’re gonna need more and so on.

    Have you ever seen a photo in a magazine that’s been shot with a point and shoot? No? Well, what does that tell you?

  • 9inchnail

    I don’t see much of a point either. The way Reuters presented that information makes more sense for interested photographers. The information that XX % used an aperture of 6.3 has NO value to me. Seeing a photo and the corresponding settings, now that helps me and teaches me something. Statistics alone are only interesting for manufacturers, like NDT pointed out.

  • Bua


  • Bua

    Oh my gosh…feels like I’ve had LSD with all these colors swimming around.

  • Turner

    That is indeed something very interesting. I also wondered whether my next camera-setup will have a 24-70?

  • Tim Lingley

    I think the most interesting stat is the focal length of these shots.

  • Koen

    Canon now delivers there gear for free to reuters because they tought of this wonderfull marketing scam. To the rest of the world please keep on shooting…

  • jerni

    best responses ever!!!!

  • miki

    because a chart is supposed to be graphic and doesn’t have an order or a direction to read. this is even more true for a pie chart