The Royal Observatory Greenwich Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition has become an annual staple in the lives of many photographers. We all want to see what new views of the universe we’re going to be presented with.
But just as interesting to photographers is the gear used to create it. Fortunately, we’ve got Skies and Scopes here again to give us the rundown. They went through all 828 shortlisted images to see how they were made.
Canon is losing ground
The complete report by Skies and Scopes is very in-depth, going into much more than the cameras used. It talks about many products far beyond the scope of this website, but the photography section is quite interesting.
Particularly interesting is that Canon seems to be losing ground. Skies and Scopes says that while Canon has led the way over the six-year period that their data covers, both Nikon and Sony have overtaken them in the last two years.
Mirrorless overtakes DSLRs for second year
Another big change that’s come over the last two years is that mirrorless has finally overtaken DSLRs. This is, of course, not a huge sampling. It only covers the images shortlisted in this one competition each year. But it does seem to be following the trend mirrored in other reports.
Despite the increase in mirrorless camera use amongst those shortlisted, a few specific models of DSLR were highly represented. These include the Canon 6D, which is the most popular model of camera from either camp, the Nikon D850 (buy here), and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (buy here).
Nikon mirrorless overtakes Sony
When it comes to mirrorless, the most popular model over the last six years of data is the Sony A7 III (buy here). This actually enters the list at number 6, with the five models above it all being DSLRs. This is followed by the Sony A7R III (buy here) and the Nikon Z6 II (buy here).
Things change significantly if we look at more recent data, though, as NIkon and Canon overtake Sony in the mirrorless stakes, too. For 2023’s shortlisted entries, the top 6 cameras of all types looks like this.
- Canon EOS 6D
- Nikon Z6 II
- Nikon D850
- Nikon Z7 II
- Sony A7S III
Full frame reigns supreme
Of course, regardless of brand, full-frame trumps APS-C here, with an 87% share. Micro Four Thirds is barely even a blip. Amongst all of the camera brands, Olympus (OM-System) and Panasonic accounted for only 0.7% between them.
Interestingly, going larger than full-frame didn’t appeal to many people, either, with only 0.5% shooting Hasselblad and 0.7% shooting Fujifilm – which probably includes at least one or two GFX shooters.
If you haven’t seen them yet, be sure to check out this year’s Royal Observatory Greenwich Astronomy Photographer Of The Year winners. Then check out the complete Skies and Scopes report on this year’s shortlisted entries.
[Lead image: Black Echo © John White / Other images: Skies and Scopes]