Are you planning to buy a camera? Below are the top 12 camera brands and manufacturers to watch out for!
If you are new to the photography industry, I know that you are probably confused about which of the best camera brands you should invest in.
“What’s the difference?” is probably just one of your thoughts, considering that most camera manufacturers produce the same types of cameras.
Although that’s true, most brands specialize in a particular type of camera. For instance, Canon and Nikon are the leaders in DSLRs. Meanwhile, Sony prides itself on offering mirrorless models.
You should also consider that the brand affects the features of your equipment and the range of accessories compatible with it.
In this article, I’ll try to discuss the differences between the 12 best camera brands. Hopefully, the following information will help you make the right purchasing decision.
Let’s take a closer look below!
Canon requires little to no introduction. It’s probably the first camera brand that you thought of when shopping for a camera.
Well, that isn’t surprising. After all, Canon is the current leader in the photography industry. According to statistics, it has over 45% share of the global digital camera market in 2020.
This Japanese multinational company produces a vast range of compact, mirrorless, and DSLR cameras. These include both full-frame and cropped sensor devices.
It also boasts a wide selection of lenses, flash units, and other camera accessories.
So whether you are a first-time buyer, an enthusiast, or a professional wanting to buy a new camera, the Canon camera brand is worth considering. It offers cameras and lenses suitable for every budget, skill, and genre of photography.
I highly recommend the Canon Rebel series, specifically the SL3 for beginners and enthusiasts. It’s easy to use and packed with several features that a first-time DSLR user will appreciate.
I particularly suggest the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV for professionals. It offers advanced features, versatility, and overall superb performance. This product is the end of the line for Canon’s formidable 5D line, though, as the brand moves toward the mirrorless landscape.
Nikon is another popular camera brand in the consumer and professional camera field.
Over the years, it has been Canon’s main competitor, with both camera manufacturers battling it out in the DSLR field. However, the rise of mirrorless cameras prompted Nikon’s falling out in recent years. Statistics reveal that it ranks third on the global market in 2020, with 19% shares behind Sony’s 20%.
With that said, Nikon cameras are still a force to be reckoned with in the camera industry. Its current product lineup includes several of the best DSLRs today (like the Nikon D850 and the Nikon D6), robust mirrorless models, and beginner-friendly compact cameras.
Similar to Canon, Nikon also offers a wide range of native lenses, external flashes, and other camera accessories.
Thus, this popular camera brand also has something for every photographer, regardless of budget, skills, and photography genre.
The Nikon D3500 has the typical DSLR build and features, which can intimidate beginners. However, it features an easy-to-use interface similar to a point-and-shoot camera. I highly suggest it for first-time photographers or those looking to upgrade from their phones.
Meanwhile, the Nikon D850 is my recommended camera for professionals. It offers extraordinary resolution, outstanding dynamic range, and weather-sealed body to ensure high-quality results, even in tough weather conditions.
Although Sony was founded in 1946, it wasn’t until 1988 that it produced its first digital camera. It’s a fairly new camera brand, especially when compared to Canon and Nikon. However, that didn’t stop the company from dominating the photography market.
Sony is now the largest manufacturer of digital sensors in the world, owning almost 50% of shares in the global market. The camera brand even goes as far as to supply these for its other competitors, such as Nikon, Panasonic, and Fujifilm.
Sony leverages this expertise by producing cameras with superb image sensors and fast autofocusing technology. It boasts a powerful line-up of mirrorless cameras, geared towards enthusiasts and professionals. It also has several entry-level mirrorless cameras and point-and-shoots for beginners.
In terms of the selection of camera accessories, this camera brand is not yet there—it still falls behind Canon and Nikon. However, Sony already has a solid range of lenses. It is only a matter of time until this highly innovative and popular camera brand catches up.
The Sony Alpha a6400 offers a fast autofocus system, multiple video modes, and other useful features in a lightweight and compact body. I highly recommend it to vloggers and photography enthusiasts.
If you’re looking for a versatile photography and videography beast, consider the Sony A7R Mark IV. It features stunning 4K video resolution, fast AF speed, and a wide dynamic range that will delight professionals.
Fujifilm produces some of the most innovative and high-performing mirrorless camera line-ups. But unlike Sony, the camera company chose to focus on APS-C sensors, which are smaller and lighter but arguably just as good.
Besides APS-C cameras, Fujifilm also offers a range of mirrorless medium-format cameras. These are specifically geared towards professionals and will cost you a fortune.
Moreover, the brand cares deeply about camera aesthetics, as evidenced by the retro look in most of their camera bodies. It uses mechanical dials and the classic film camera silhouette despite having high-quality sensors.
The Fujifilm X-T200 features a built-in gyroscopic sensor, a highly accurate AF system, and revolutionary color science among many other features. It even comes at a relatively affordable price point, perfect for enthusiasts.
Meanwhile, the Fujifilm X-T4 offers a high-resolution sensor with the capability to record 4K/60P videos and up to 15 frames per second. It is also equipped with other advanced functions, making it among the top choices for professionals.
Olympus is another popular Japanese camera brand. It specializes in the production of micro four-thirds sensor cameras, alongside Panasonic.
Olympus cameras are known for their capability to capture high-quality images and videos without the added bulk of full-frame and APS-C sensors. They also include highly effective in-body image stabilization and robust weather-sealing.
Although Olympus is not the biggest player on the market today, the brand remains a solid contender due to its range of quality cameras.
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III boasts an integrated five-axis image stabilization in its sensor and easy connectivity. It is one of the best micro-four-thirds cameras for beginners.
If you want a high-resolution camera packed with other advanced features, consider the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III. Its fast autofocus system and impressive burst shooting capability are suitable for professionals.
Similar to Olympus, Panasonic is also known for its micro four-thirds cameras. But instead of focusing on photography, this popular camera brand specializes in video recording.
It produces a wide selection of mirrorless cameras under the Lumix banner. These cameras can record cinema-quality videos despite having a lightweight and compact body.
Panasonic has also ventured into the full-frame mirrorless market, with the release of the Lumix S1. However, it continues to create high-performing cropped sensor cameras.
The Panasonic LUMIX G100 offers 4K resolution, wireless connectivity, and a built-in tracking audio system. I highly suggest it for first-time vloggers and content creators.
Meanwhile, I recommend the Panasonic Lumix GH5 for professionals. It records high-quality 4K video, owing to the image stabilization and high dynamic range among other advanced features.
Pentax is a Japanese company that has produced a little over 20 cameras. These are hard to find on the market, but they offer a significant advantage over the other best camera brands. They are weather-sealed against dust, cold, rain, and other harsh temperatures.
Of course, Canon, Nikon, and other brands also offer this feature but they are far more expensive. Pentax, on the other hand, includes weather sealing in its whole camera line-up, regardless of the price.
Overall, Pentax cameras are reliable and capable of meeting the needs of enthusiasts and professionals. It’s important to note, though, that Pentax was bought by Ricoh (more on this brand later!).
I like the Pentax K-70 for its weather-resistant body, in-body shake reduction technology, and tilting LCD. I highly recommend it for enthusiasts!
On the other hand, my choice for professionals is the Pentax K-1 II. It offers a high-resolution sensor, fast focusing system, and durable body that rivals other popular and more expensive DSLRs.
The Ricoh camera brand may not seem familiar for beginners, but it was one of the largest manufacturers of compact film and digital cameras, printers, and copiers. It is also among the first companies to develop cameras for shooting underwater and in other extreme conditions.
Today, Ricoh is known for its popular GR range. It features a small and compact body paired with a fixed wide-angle lens, suitable for street photography.
The Ricoh GRIII offers superb image quality, portability, and speed, owing to the APS-C sensor and advanced image processor. Overall, this is a pocketable powerhouse suitable for enthusiasts and professionals alike.
Best for Enthusiasts
Leica is one of the best camera brands for photographers. It offers world-class optics that are famous for producing a “Leica effect” on photos. It also boasts a sleek and sophisticated body that makes its cameras highly sought-after.
However, Leica cameras are notorious for being expensive. Even if you’re looking to buy the APS-C model instead of its full-frame counterpart, it will still set you back at least thousands of dollars.
The Leica CL features an APS-C sensor capable of recording 4K resolution videos and an advanced autofocus system. It also includes a sharp wide-angle lens that delivers pristine image quality. I highly recommend it to enthusiasts and professionals who can afford it.
Best for Enthusiasts
For the longest time, Kodak has been the leader in the camera industry, owing to their innovative film products. However, when digital cameras became popular, this brand struggled to catch up to other companies. It ended up losing its sustainability in the new world.
Today, Kodak continues to produce various cameras, including point-and-shoots, bridge models, and instant print ones. The brand is still worth considering, especially if you want something easy to use.
The Kodak PIXPRO FZ53-RD is a modest point-and-shoot camera with 5X optical zoom. I recommend checking it out if you want a small, pocketable design with zoom and focus feature slightly better than your phones.
If you want a DSLR-like camera but are intimidated by its controls, consider the Kodak PIXPRO Astro Zoom AZ401-BK. It borrows the form factor and some features from DSLRs, but it features a beginner-friendly interface similar to compact cameras. I recommend it for beginners and enthusiasts alike.
Hasselblad is renowned for its medium-format cameras and superb image quality. It produces cameras with very large resolutions and sharp lenses, which are considered to be some of the best optics in the industry.
As a testament to its impressive technology, NASA used a Hasselblad camera to capture Earth from space as part of the Mercury 8 mission in October 1962.
However, Hasselblad cameras cost thousands of dollars, making them tools for professionals alone.
The Hasselblad X1D II features a whopping 50-megapixel resolution, a huge dynamic range of up to 14 stops, and stunning color reproduction. These features can give professionals a lot of flexibility over the images and videos they wish to capture.
Best for Professionals
Besides calculators and watches, Casio also produces several point-and-shoot cameras. These are small and compact with a fixed lens and an easy-to-use interface to deliver quality images. They also come at a lower price, ideal for those who are on a budget.
However, Casio cameras do not have the best image quality, fastest autofocus, or robust build. They are geared towards beginners.
Nevertheless, Casio still deserves a place in our best camera brand list.
The Casio Exilim EX-ZR5000 is a 12-megapixel compact camera with an ultra-wide zoom lens. It offers full manual control, RAW image capture, and wireless connectivity at a compact body. I recommend it for beginners and enthusiasts.
Best for Beginners
That concludes our list of the best camera brands for photographers!
To recap, Canon, Sony, and Nikon are the top three companies with the widest selection of cameras and lenses. Meanwhile, Fujifilm, Olympus, and Panasonic are more specialized brands. The other manufacturers are struggling to remain relevant. However, they are not necessarily obsolete, especially if you’re looking for a medium-format camera or a compact one.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you have a sense of which camera brand is perfect for your needs.