Stock Site Stats Reveal the Most Popular Cameras Among Stock Photographers


About a week ago, the stock photography website Dreamstime got in touch with us to offer us some exclusive information. Having recently added a “search-by-camera” feature, they had compiled a huge amount of statistical data on the most popular cameras being used by their 150,000+ contributing photographers.

Well, keeping in mind that Francis Bacon once said “knowledge is power,” we told them to go ahead and send the stats over. What we received was a veritable smörgåsbord of interesting (and perhaps useful) information.

Based off of Dreamstime’s archive, the statistics below were compiled from data about 157,000 photographers and over 17,500,000 photos, illustrations, cliparts and vectors.


Two of the most interesting categories Dreamstime sent us listed the 5 most popular stock photography cameras vs the 5 cameras that led to the most downloads.

The most popular (from 1 to 5) were: the Canon 5D Mark II, the Canon 5D, the Nikon D700, the Nikon D80 and the Canon 40D. The cameras that were responsible for the most downloads in 2013, however, were the Canon 5D Mark II, Nikon D80, Nikon D700, Canon 7D and Nikon D90, in that order.

Another interesting category listed the oldest cameras people were still using to contribute, a list topped off by: the Kodak CX4300, the Olympus C3000Z, the Sony 100, the Canon EOS D30 and the Nikon E4500 — all boasting some 3.x megapixels.

Compare those with cameras like the 5D Mark III and Fujifilm X-Pro1 — both of which made the “newest” list — and you see how wide the quality gap is, even if the cameras are only separated by some 6 to 10 years in age.


The final statistic that really jumped out at us has to do with the overall most popular camera. As we said above, the 5D Mark II is king. Whether you’re looking at most downloads or just most popular, the number of photos taken with the Mark II more than doubles those taken by its predecessor and closest competitor.

But what really stands out is that, no matter what country you go to — be it the US, UK, Canada, Russia, Australia, Japan, China, France, Germany, Brasil, Spain or Italy — the number one camera is always the 5D Mark II.

More often than not, the number two spot is taken up by Nikon’s D700 — with the D80 making an appearance at number two in the UK and Germany, and the 7D in the US and France — but no other camera even comes close to stealing the Mark II’s thunder.


Keep in mind that while Francis Bacon did indeed say “knowledge is power,” Mark Twain followed him up at some point with another good one: “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

We’ll let you pick your favorite and apply it to the numbers above, but it may not hurt to keep some of these stats hidden away in the back of your mind — especially if you’re a stock photography buff.

Image credit: Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 50mm 1.4 by dbgg1979, Nikon D700 and 17-35 f/2.8 by and[w], Canon EOS 40D with EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM by 103momo and Nikon D80 with AF 50mm f/1.8 by thegreeneworks.

  • Mark

    Interesting except the 2nd measure doesn’t tell you as much as an index would. How about % most created / % most downloaded? This would tell you the propensity for a camera to create appealing photos.

  • Zos Xavius

    My K-7 is suddenly not feeling so bad. Pros are still using 40Ds and D80s? Wow. And really the C3000Z? I’ve come across more than a few istock photos that were shot with the worst P&S cameras. They have pages and pages talking about their high level of standards and noise is not all that acceptable and then they accept 8mp images from 1/2.33″ sensors. Yeah those pictures looked really great poster sized too! Really if you have something on the level of a 7D or D90, there is no reason you cannot churn out great stock worthy pictures that can be printed poster sized and clearly from what I’ve seen and what this study indicates, you’d be ahead of quite a few other stock photographers. Interesting that the 5d mk2 is king indeed. I’ve probably seen more nature photos from that camera off istock than any other though, so I guess that makes sense. It had a lot of popularity with landscape photographers due to its massive resolution and to be honest, it looks pretty darned good at iso 100, which on a tripod is all you ever need for landscapes usually.

  • Aaro Keipi

    Perhaps the reason why older cameras show up on the list is because some of these stock photos were taken years ago….so just because these cameras were used to take the pictures does not mean that professionals are still using D30s or even 40Ds. ;)

  • Jake

    I see what you did there! Spend all that time talking about the Mark II, and then quote Mark Twain, who’s last name is an archaic word for “two.” Nicely done!

  • Mako

    hmmm … most sites say that the iPhone is the most popular camera

  • Richard Smith

    They can have my Brownie 120 when they pry it out of my cold dead fingers!

  • Jordan Butters

    For stock photography? Please point out said sites.

  • Mako

    Ah, stock photos. When I said iPhone I meant the data from

  • Brad C

    Agreed – it seems obvious that if the most photos are uploaded from a camera model those same photos should generate more sales simply by volume. I’d love to know the sales generated proportionately to the quantity of online images. Plus, new models like the D800 and Mk III haven’t been around long – it takes time for images to work through the levels and get found in searches.

  • wilmark johnatty

    This is to be expected. Most pros know that you dont need a 5DMk3 or a D800 to take good pictures. Most of these models I suspect are purchased by amateurs with extra money to burn. I really wonder however if there are more 5DM2s than Mk3’s in the wild though. I suspect that there are more of the latter as it is an immensely popular camera despite its price tag and short comings (which are minimal).

  • James

    Exactly, the title of this article made me think I was in for a surprise or something. Like what if it was the canon T3i or hell an iPhone 5 that would blow my mind. But no, the stock photography camera is exactly what you would think it would be.