Flickr's Most Used Camera Brands Overall. From this view, dominance of the big four brands is clear. Samsung isn't too far off taking the third slot from Nikon

Photo sharing website Flickr has published tables of its members' most used cameras and brands, in which Apple has overtaken Nikon for the first time. Canon remains the most popular brand used, according to Flickr's calculations, but in 2014 Apple knocked Nikon into third place, with Samsung moving ahead of Sony to take fourth.

The figures are not a totally accurate guide to which cameras are being used and owned by the website’s posters, but they do still give an indication of the popularity of smartphones among the users, and demonstrate that these devices are not just being used for casual snapshots anymore.

It isn’t news that the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S- series have decent cameras, or that smartphones in general have eroded the traditional compact camera market to a fraction of its former size. What is notable is that images taken on smartphones now make up such a large part of a dedicated photography site.

In the compact system camera rankings Sony is the most popular brand overall at 40%, followed by Olympus (25%), Panasonic (20%), Fujifilm (almost 20%) and then Pentax – with Samsung hardly registering. Of those, the most popular individual bodies are the Olympus OM-D E-M5, the Sony a7 and the Sony NEX-6.

A look at how compact system camera brands compare for popularity among Flickr users. Sony is enjoying the lion's share by some distance.

The top three slots for most-owned camera go to Apple iPhone products, with the Canon EOS 7D making fourth place as the most popular stand-alone camera – as has been the case for the last two years. Of course, Apple generally has a much smaller range of phones than the camera brands do camera models, so Apple’s popularity is concentrated into a few products, which exaggerates their position. APS-C DSLRs take up the remaining slots in the top ten, along with the full frame Canon EOS 5D Mark III in 7th place.

The list of top ten DSLRs is dominated by models from Nikon and Canon, reflecting the lack of serious competition from other brands in the last few years, though Sony comes in at third place with less than 5% share. Sadly, Pentax doesn’t seem to get a mention at all.

These figures can be interpreted in a number of ways, and Flickr says itself they are based on frequency of posting and by counting one camera per user per week. Flickr also publishes rankings of most popular cameras looking at absolute numbers of photos taken, and smartphones predictably dominate the rankings. However you look at them, these figures make for interesting reading.

You can see the tables and Flickr’s analysis on the Flickr blog.