12/27/2011 12:19 pm ET Updated Dec 27, 2011

NPD Study: Smartphones Took 27 Percent Of Photographs In 2011

Forget that Nikon. It's all about the smartphone these days.

A new study by NPD shows that the percent of photos taken with a smartphone grew from 17 to 27 percent this year, while those taken on a real camera dropped from 52 percent to 44 percent. Based on a study of adults and teens, the survey shows that more and more people are turning to smartphones to snap their pics.

“There is no doubt that the smartphone is becoming ‘good enough’ much of the time; but thanks to mobile phones, more pictures are being taken than ever before,” said Liz Cutting, executive director at NPD said in a statement. “Consumers who use their mobile phones to take pictures and video were more likely to do so instead of their camera when capturing spontaneous moments, but for important events, single purpose cameras or camcorders are still largely the device of choice.”

The study confirms similar data released by online photosharing service Flickr, which found that the iPhone 4 is poised to overtake the Nikon D90 as the most popular camera among Flickr users. Apps like Hipstamatic and Instagram let ordinary users apply filters to their photos that make them seem as if they've been fiddled with for hours in the darkroom.

And casual photographers aren't the only ones snapping shots with their phones. The New York Times used the iPhone to capture images of troops in Afghanistan in a front-cover story last November. Additionally, filmmaker Hooman Khallili aims to produce "Olive," a feature-length film, entirely by iPhone.

The phone's photographic capacities aren't the only ones being used by artists -- David Hockney recently unveiled a show in Paris composed entirely of drawings he created using the Brushes app for the iPad.


Sign up for our email.
Find out how much you really know about the state of the nation.