Which camera brands have the best community? (Part 2)

As promised, here is a second part. The subject has turned out to be deeper than I thought, and the rigorous stats will have to wait until part 3. I have, however, tripled the amount of data for this part, and they look quite smooth. In part 1, we established that picture posting seems to benefit communities in overall participation. In this part, I will look separately at the effect of picture posting on how picture posts are rated and how non-picture posts are viewed.

Looking at picture posts and non-picture posts separately, we find that the more pictures get posted in a community, the more frequently that community tends to rate both picture and non-picture posts. However, there seems to be a threshold effect where communities with fewer than about 47% picture posts do not see any particularly clear improvement in the proportion rated.

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Once we weight the average ratings of non-picture posts by community size, however, we see that they benefit across the board (graph below). This is remarkable because it suggests that the presence of picture posts encourages rating of non-picture posts. In fact, you could say that appreciation for posts of all kinds increases when there are also lots of picture threads listed. So even more clearly than in my first post on this topic, we see that posting pictures gives a major boost to a community, and should probably be the one thing photo communities wishing to thrive should focus on. (In some communities, attempts are made to corral pictures into fewer posts – it would be interesting to actually conclusively demonstrate whether this is counterproductive.)

Screen Shot 2019-06-13 at 01.47.54

Startlingly, all 39 communities rated picture posts more often and more highly than non-picture posts. There wasn’t a single community where this was not the case.

So which communities were the ones happiest to post pictures rather than other types of discussions?

Screen Shot 2019-06-13 at 02.06.54

This may turn out to be one of the more polarising graphs I’ve presented. There’s a strong suggestion here that frequent camera releases do not make people more enthusiastic about posting pictures, and by extension, do not make for a happy, appreciative community. Rather, the communities that are happy to mostly post pictures are those of camera systems that are either discontinued or release cameras at a slower pace – foremost in this group are the compact camera systems of yesteryear – compacts from Kodak, Nikon, Pentax, Fujifilm, and Casio. Two of the companies most actively releasing compact cameras, Sony and Canon, are towards the bottom of the group. Panasonic and Olympus compacts do a little worse but are still in the “top” (left) half of the graph.

But we also find some interchangeable lens systems at the top – Nikon 1, Pentax and Leica, with Sigma also being in the group – note that that forum discusses all cameras from Sigma, whether with fixed or interchangeable lenses.

This trend repeats among the lens forums, where adapted lenses produce more pictures than third party lenses, and the third party lens community in turn posts more pictures than Nikon or Canon users.

Among the least picture-posting communities are the Canon EOS R and Nikon Z as well as Sony full frame E-mount – presumably these communities are too busy discussing which out of the three systems is best to actually take pictures and post them. There is also an interesting trend in terms of price. Even if we take compacts out of the equation, we still see that, most notably among mirrorless systems – where the Nikon 1 and Canon EOS M by far outperform the Nikon Z and EOS R in picture posting – owning affordable cameras seems to lead to picture-posting – and that makes for happy communities.

And while on the subject of Nikon and Canon: Nikon leads Canon in all three mentioned categories – the 1 over the M, the Coolpix over the Powershot, and the Z over the R. This trend continues with Nikon lenses over Canon (by a negligible margin) and DSLRs for both the pro and non-pro APS-C groups. Only in Nikon FX vs. Canon full-frame, does Nikon not succeed. So for those wanting to keep score, it’s Nikon 6 : Canon 1. On the evidence presented so far, Nikon communities might be the happier ones out of the two major brands.

Why is the pro FX category the outlier? Perhaps it’s because those users are more often shooting weddings and hence can’t share the pictures, while the Canon users more often shoot sports, where there are no such privacy concerns. One could probably look at the pictures and find out for sure, but that would be extending the scope of this presentation way beyond the original intention.

However, both Canon and Nikon together mostly populate the bottom end of the graph, joined there by Sony, the number 3 brand. The real rebels – those shooting less popular or perhaps, less mainstream, brands, might be the happier ones.

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