Most Popular Disney Photography Gear
The results from our Disney Photography Survey are in! The purpose of the survey was to get some information so that I can write photography content that will appeal to readers more in the future, but I thought the results were pretty interesting and worth sharing. All told, we have had 287 people respond to the survey.
I was a bit surprised by the results, mostly because I expected there to be a bit more of a selection bias, especially since so many people indicate to me that they bought X camera/lens/etc. on my recommendation. I guess my recommendations don’t carry quite as much weight as I thought! 😉 This is best evidenced by the fact that 56% of those polled use Canon versus only 34% who use Nikon. However, as I’ll explain below, this gap might be partly “explained away” by scrutinizing the numbers a bit. More people reported regularly using an Apple iPhone for photography than Sony, Pentax, and Olympus combined. Not to disparage the latter three brands (as they make some great cameras), but that market share among readers suggests that you probably won’t ever see coverage of those brands on this website.
More broadly, it does appear that those responding to the poll take photography more seriously than the general public. A whopping 71% of respondents identified as regularly using DSLRs. 53% regularly use phones and 50% regularly use point and shoots, with Micro 4/3s, Mirrorless cameras, and “Other” combining to only account for 5% of those polled. I was surprised that these systems frequently identified as the future of photography barely registered a blip on the radar. I do think there’s some selection bias in this breakdown. Because of the tone of the photography writing on this website, I think DSLR users were more likely to respond to this survey. Novice point and shoot users have told me that they are often confused or intimidated by the photography talk on this website, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if many of them simply didn’t bother responding to the survey. This is reinforced by the fact that only 4% of respondents indicated that there’s not too much photography content on this Disney general interest blog.
This is also reinforced by the fact that fact that 96% of you want to see more photography content (including two people who want to see both more and less photography content…that will be tricky to pull off!). There’s no way on earth 96% of all readers want to see more photography content, but even if the real number is 50%, it’s much higher than I expected. The photography topics you want to see most are information on capturing the photos and post processing. 71% and 66%, respectively, of you want to see more on these two topics. That will prove challenging, but I think I can weave some of this into the photos of the day. One of you would like to see more posts about “mommy blogging, cool rims for my car, the whereabouts of the hamburglar who is still at large.” I’ll work on that.
Several of you also wrote in that you’d like to see my EXIF data for each photo. The great news is that this is already available for each photo. Just click the image, and click the “Info” (I) button on SmugMug, where the photos are hosted.
As for which cameras and lenses were most popular? Let’s break that down by brand.
5. Canon T2i (write-in “other”) – A few write-in options were popular on the Canon side of things. The T2i, XS, and XSi all received a fair number of write-in votes. This should come as no surprise, as all of these were very popular entry or novice level cameras at one time. Given that, it was a bit surprising to not see much love for the Canon T1i.
3. Canon EOS 60D (tie) – The equivalent to the Nikon D7000 was a popular choice, but less than half as popular as the Nikon D7000. Although I don’t use Canon cameras, I’m not too surprised by this despite the 60D costing about half as much as the 7D, since I’ve pretty consistently heard that the 7D is a great camera and the 60D is just so-so.
3. Canon EOS 7D (tie) – No surprise to see the highly-praised 7D on this list. It is a bit surprising that it didn’t place higher given the Nikon D7000 claiming the top spot (by a landslide) on the Nikon list, but it does retail for a bit more than the D7000, so maybe that explains this?
2. Canon EOS Rebel T3 – It should come as no surprise that this sub-$400 camera kit ranks highly with readers (and the public in general). It’s frequently the top-selling DSLR on Amazon, so it makes sense that it’s the #2 Canon for readers.
1. Canon EOS Rebel T3i – By far the most popular Canon DSLR for those who responded to the survey. This is not too surprising, as it’s a solid “step up” DSLR camera that Canon promotes heavily. If I ran this survey again after Christmas, I suspect it would take an even greater lead, as the Canon has offered some aggressive deals on this camera this Christmas season.
5. Nikon D90 – Even though it’s now a few years old, the Nikon D90 has aged very well, causing many of its owners to (justifiably) not feel a need to upgrade. It being in the top 5 is not surprising to me. (Note: I recently dropped the Nikon D90 and D40 from my recommended DSLRs list due to their age.)
4. Nikon D40 – I am a little surprised about this one, but not too much. When this camera was released, it was touted as a break-through DSLR by many online, and it gained a strong reputation thanks to folks like Ken Rockwell. That said, it’s several years old now and newer DSLRs make it a bit antiquated.
3. Nikon D5100 – The D5100 has been Nikon’s newest enthusiast camera for a couple of years now, so it being on the list should come as no surprise.
2. Nikon D3100 – No shock at all here, either. The Nikon D3100 is an incredible entry-level camera that has now been out a couple of years, and the Nikon D3200 is still too new to have much traction.
1. Nikon D7000 – Far and away the most popular Nikon DSLR, the Nikon D7000 is popular in general because it’s a great camera, but definitely a bit more popular with readers of this blog than the general public. That could be because I’ve highly recommended it in the past, or it could be coincidence. I’ve also highly recommended the Nikon D600, and it wasn’t a very popular camera with readers, so it’s likely that my recommendations aren’t all that influential (or at least aren’t influential on really expensive cameras!).
No non-Canon or Nikon DSLRs were even remotely popular with survey respondents. Interestingly, while Canon enjoyed a significant overall lead as the top camera brand used, when considering just DSLRs cameras, Canon only edged out Nikon 51% to 46%. This is fairly easily explained by Canon’s dominance in the point and shoot market, where several top point and shoot cameras are Canon, butvery few are Nikon (I’ve never used a Nikon point and shoot that I’ve liked).
The list of first party lenses is not at all interesting. Kit lenses and the 50mm f/1.8 prime dominate the top of both lists, with the 55-200mm (or 55-250mm in Canon’s case) taking up the number three spots. The final two slots are predictably rounded out with higher end kit lenses, except the Nikon #4 slot, which contains the sole interesting entry to the list: the Nikon 35mm f/1.8. Third party lenses are much more interesting…
Third Party DSLR Lenses:
5. Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens – This lens has some of the best bokeh known to man, and it’s a lens I far prefer over the (in my opinion) overrated Nikon 35mm f/1.8. In the photography at large, I don’t think this lens is quite as popular as it is in the Disney photography community. But it should be.
4. Sigma 10-20mm Lens – I knew this was a popular lens, but I never knew it was this popular. Personally, I’d rather have the wider Sigma 8-16mm lens or the f/2.8, tack sharp Tokina 11-16mm lens. Not that this is a bad lens by any means…
3. Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 Lens – One of the most highly regarded third party lenses of all time, this lens was difficult to find in stock for over a year after it came out. No shock at all that it ranks so highly.
2. Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 Lens – The second most popular lens is a great value lens (as compared to its first party counterparts) and a versatile choice, so it’s no surprise it landed in the #2 spot…despite me mistyping it’s name on the survey!
1. Rokinon 8mm Fisheye Lens – Not only was this the most popular third party lens amongst those surveyed, it was the most popular lens by 11 responses–11% of DSLR owners who responded to the survey own this lens! This lens has exploded in popularity throughout the photography community in general, and is especially popular in the Disney photography community, but still…a fisheye as #1? I’m surprised.
It would be interesting to see the results of this same survey from a larger sample size, as there’s not a whole lot that can be concluded from statistically insignificant differences in the raw number of one less popular lens being used as compared to another less popular lens. But I’m sure the gaps become meaningful once you have a few thousand people respond.
Overall, the survey was really helpful for me even without the detailed results because the general tone of responses suggests that a lotof you are coming to this site, at least in part, because of the photography content. Site analytics hinted at this, but I thought there was a strong possibility that those clicking on the photography content might just be interested in the Disney sample photos that accompany the various reviews. That’s clearly not the case.
The difficulty going forward will be balancing the photography content with the general Disney content. The group primarily interested in the photography content also seems to be interested in the Disney content, but it remains unclear whether the group primarily interested in the Disney content has a secondary interest in photography content. My intuition says no, even if the results to this survey suggest otherwise.
Anyway, thanks to all those who participated in the survey! If you have any comments on the results or other suggestions, I’d love to hear them in the comments!
Thanks for posting the survey results – they are interesting. I’m also surprised a fisheye ranked #1 of the 3rd party lenses. (Perhaps because I have a bias against fisheye lenses!)
It’s a fun, cheap lens and I’ve been a strong advocate of it, so I’m not that surprised.
I totally bought the fisheye based on your rec. I’ve commented before that I’m not even a fan of Disney World/Land, yet I still read this blog because I’m inspired by your photography and HDR work.
Truth be told, I am OBSESSED with the fisheye. I’m about to embark on an NYC vacation. I imagine that 75% of the shots will be fisheye… 🙂
Hi Tom. Love Disney and love the blog. I really enjoy the Disney reviews as they are mostly the same things we look for in the amenities when I visit with my family. Being that we live 30 minutes from the parks we spend time there several times per month with a few weekend stays per year. Your reviews make many of the things we like to do relevant and help our decisions in the process. BTW, the photos are a plus as well, nicely done.
At risk of seeming petty I am slightly troubled by the statement that it seems those in the survey take photography more serious than most because a high percentage of them use dSLRS. I may be misinterpreting the statement so forgive me I am being obtuse. I have been a part-time pro photog for many years and have used SLRs and dSLRs for much of the time until maybe the past 6 months. This is when I found m4/3’s (mirrorless) to have come almost full circle maturity. I have replaced all of my large equipment with 2 OMD EM-5’s and several of the best prime lenses made in a very long time. For “me” it works, it is lightweight (one small Domke) and portable with blazing speed and amazing image quality.
For what it is worth, please know, I love your style (no overcooked HDR), writing, and taste in Disney dining, I just would hate to have someone think they need a big camera to be serious about their photography.
I came for the Disney but I enjoy reading about the photography too. I have a DSLR and I’m trying to go from a novice who only uses the kit lens and the auto setting to trying out other lenses and settings on the camera. I enjoy reading about the photography and trying out some of the tips with my camera!
Many people have been drawn to the site by the Disney magic that we all seem to enjoy. It is wonderful to be able to mix the photography hobby with that Disney alure. Personally, I am not going to go to the Amazon to photograph the Brazilian Verigated Hissing Butterfly or Alaska or Antartica. Most of us never will. However, most of us will make trips to the Disney parks at some point (some of us, like me, go a couple times per month). So we all have that common frame of reference. Thats why we are drawn to this site. So Tom, keep up the postings that support our two passions. Challenge us with ways to become better photographers. Help us develop that minds eye view you seem to have. And buy a Canon for Mickey’ssake, the masses have spoken.
Noted that I should not post photos of the Brazilian Verigated Hissing Butterfly when I next encounter them! 😉
I know this might go unnoticed. I saw pictures you took from Disney in the past and loved them. And recently I started to learn more about your blog with Google+ ( Disney photography group ).
I really love what you do, love the mix of Disney and photography ( two of my passions ). The fact that strangely you and your wife do similar things than me and my fiancee ( yes… we also do voice over for ducks in vacation and our pets at home :S ).
I would LOVE someday to be able to go to DisneyWorld while you are there and share some knowledge ( I know my way around photoshop since I’m a graphic designer ). Anyway, keep up the great work. As for me I’ll soon go on my honeymoon ( 6 months from now, 3 years after proposing to her in Epcot ) and hopefully take some great pictures of my own.
Speaking for those who have ever met me at Walt Disney World, you do *not* want to be there at the same time as me…let alone meet and talk to me!
I’d say I prefer more Disney news than photography posts (70/30 split). I love photography but it’s too expensive of a hobby for me to dig into enough, plus I only go to Disney once a year and am not sure how I would enjoy carrying a large camera and several lenses around the parks for the majority of my time. I love the way your photography enhances your reviews, news, etc. but reading about what a great deal a $2,000 camera is does nothing for me when a refurbished T3 with a kit lens is a stretch financially.
Disney news? When there are big stories or things I personally find interesting, I’ve reported on them here–mostly to interject my own strong opinions on the topic.
The problem I have with focusing more on news is that EVERY site does it, and virtually all of the news stories are identical. I can understand why they do it, as a lot of people click news stories, but I’d rather have fewer clicks and write about things that interest me…
I originally came for the pictures and it re-ignited my interested in photography ;). Your pictures prompted me to get back into photography. I tell my fiancee your the reason I had to buy a DSLR.
I stumbled onto this site back in early 2011 because it was Disney and was inspired and greatly influenced with me getting into photography and buying my first DSLR. I ended up buying the Rokinon 8mm fisheye and Tamron 17-50mm because of the high praise and reviews I read here.
Well, people like you explain how those lenses performed so well in the poll!
I’m on the same page as George; I came for the Disney and was definitely drawn in by the photography. I think it’s the Disney photography that makes this site so unique and worth reading, not to mention the savvy sense of humor. Definitely interested in seeing what you might be changing here!
Sorry to buck your intuition but I came for the Disney, was pleased to find a fellow photographer, am stoked that I can learn much from you.
It doesn’t buck my intuition, and it’s not just “intuition.” I regularly review the site analytics and glean a lot from that. I know that a lot of people are aspiring photographers who are here partly for the photography shop talk, but I also know that a lot of people are here because they like the photos and other Disney content…but aren’t interested in replicating those photos.
Numbers can only tell me so much, so the survey helps fill in some gaps. But surveys can also be misleading. For example, if I made a survey entitled “Constitutional Law Survey” with nuanced questions about constitutional law, posted it here, and had the very last question be, “would you like to see more content about constitutional law on this website?” the percentage of people answering “yes” would be far higher than the percentage who actually want to see more constitutional law content on the website, simply because the uninterested wouldn’t have clicked on the survey to begin with, or wouldn’t have completed it if they did click. There’s a self-selection bias there, just like there is with this survey.
This is where intuition is important to fill in the gaps. Numbers and survey results can tell me a lot, and they can certainly shape content, but using either as a barometer for site content would be a bad idea.
So I use the numbers and results, and fall back on my intuition for the “important” decisions–because there are SO many important decisions to be made in the high stakes world of Disney blogging! 😉
Photography? I just come here for the snark.
I can only imagine what a colossal letdown this blog is, in that case! 🙂
I need a “like” button.