As the world's largest buyer and seller of used camera gear, we have a unique vantage point from which to evaluate photographic trends. Not only do we get an insight into what new gear is catching on, we also have a window into what has staying power—the items that maintain relevance long after their release.
As the 2010s wrap up, we thought it would be fun to look back at our best-sellers—the cameras that ruled the decade. The results may be surprising, and if you read the title of this post, you already have an idea of what we discovered. Let's just say that early reports of the death of DSLRs were greatly exaggerated.
Top 10 Best-Selling DIGITAL Cameras, 2010-2019
You'd think that since the first interchangeable-lens mirrorless cameras started hitting the market in the late aughts, they would have a large impact on the decade that followed—and they clearly did—just not enough to dethrone DSLRs, apparently.
- Canon EOS 5D Mark II
- Canon EOS 7D
- Nikon D7000
- Nikon D300
- Canon EOS 5D
- Canon EOS 40D
- Nikon D90
- Nikon D200
- Nikon D700
- Canon EOS 5D Mark III
That's right, every camera on our top 10 was a DSLR. Heck, every camera but one (!!!) on our top 50 was a DSLR—they dominated our list. On top of that, Canon and Nikon were the only manufacturers in the top 10, showing their tight grasp on the market—new, used or otherwise.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark II is far and away our top seller, with a 12% lead on the runner-up 7D. Released to much acclaim in 2008, it's clear that the Mk II remained relevant throughout the next dozen years or so. It hasn't slowed down in sales either—we still sell a ton of them. Its full-frame, 21.1-megapixel sensor and durable construction still make it a viable option for photographers to this day, and will probably continue to be.
Same could be said for every other model on the list. The beauty of camera gear is that it's durable and capable long after its release date, and we have the sales to prove it. For an industry that's obsessed with the latest and greatest, not enough is being said about the gear that has staying power—the workhorses that keep cranking out quality work.
Honorable Mentions: Our lone mirrorless camera in the top 50 is the Sony a6000, which, for perspective, sold a third as much as the 5D MkII. Sony's a7 II, Olympus' OM-D E-M1 and Fujifilm's X-Pro1 were our other top-selling mirrorless cameras for the decade.
Top 10 Best-Selling FILM Cameras, 2010-2019
What's interesting about our business is that, along with used digital cameras, we have the world's largest collection of used film gear. That means we can keep our eye on trends in that category as well, which by the way, is booming at the moment.
Film is definitely still going strong as a new generation that missed it the first time around is discovering the joys of the format. Our top-10 list for film gear proved a little less surprising, as every camera on it is a stone-cold classic.
- Canon AE-1
- Pentax K1000
- Nikon F3
- Nikon F100
- Nikon FE
- Minolta X-700
- Canon A-1
- Mamiya RB67
- Nikon F4
- Nikon F5
Once again, Canon takes the top spot with its classic AE-1. We included the AE-1 Program variation in the numbers, making it a runaway victory. The reliable Pentax K1000 was no slouch either, and proved itself a worthy runner-up—it's still a go-to for photography students everywhere.
Nikon had a respectable showing on the list as well, nabbing 5 of the top 10 spots, with the classic F3 coming in strong at number 3. Defunct-and-sorely-missed manufacturer Minolta also showed up on the list with their fabulous X-700, which is still going strong 40 years after its release.
The sole medium format camera in the top 10 is the classic studio workhorse Mamiya RB67, and it made a good showing beating out the F4 and F5.
It's worth mentioning that every camera on this list is also a single-lens reflex. Whether digital or analog, the SLR design is hard to beat.
Honorable Mentions: Leica's M6 and M3 tied for the best-selling M-series rangefinders. The Hasselblad 500CM and Pentax 645 join the Mamiya as our best-selling medium format cameras. The Mamiya C330 is our top-selling TLR.
As we look ahead to the next decade, we have to wonder when DSLRs will lose their dominance. Already, mirrorless cameras are moving up our list at a good pace, so it's just a matter of time until they start sneaking into the top 10 and eventually take over.
For the time being though, DSLRs are still selling strong, and although they may not make up the majority of new releases, something has to be said for the fact that photographers still go to them to get the job done. The fact that there's a lot of available and affordable lenses for these systems is still a huge factor.
As far as our list of best-selling film cameras, we suspect not much will change going into the next decade. It really goes to show that these kits are classics for a reason, and that no matter how much time passes, a new generation of film shooters will find them. Given the durability of this gear, they might stick around for a long time to come.