Digital photography has reached a phenomenal level of maturity. The number of genuinely amazing brands competing in the same market is staggering. Photography has always been a world characterized by innovation.
In the past several years, though, this innovation has really picked up. So which are the best camera brands today? Are they much of a muchness, or is it worth digging a little deeper? This article will dive into the wonderful world of today’s camera brands.
We’ll identify what sets each camera brand apart and where each falls a little short of the mark. One of the best ways to become a better photographer is to know your stuff when it comes to camera brands. Understanding your tools will make you much better at your craft!
Best Camera Brands: Sony
A behemoth camera brand from Japan, Sony has been providing cameras for the commercial market since the 80s. Sony’s first step into photography came with their Mavica line of film-based cameras. Their offerings have been rising to dizzying heights ever since.
Today, Sony offers a broad range of products for a professional photographer. While some entry-level options are available, the Sony brand is more commonly associated with pro-grade devices. Compact, mirrorless, and even cinema-quality cameras are all sold by Sony.
Mirrorless Cameras – A Sony Strength
Sony’s mirrorless cameras are what keep them on the map of digital photography; they’re what make the company one of the best camera brands around. A lighter, more compact answer to the older DSLR format, mirrorless cameras can offer incredible optical performance at a fraction of the weight.
Sony α9 – The Best of the Best
The α9 is probably Sony’s best camera to date. If you’re wondering why Sony is known as one of the best camera brands, this device should tell you why. This full-frame mirrorless beast packs a phenomenal level of punch for professionals.
It’s far from an entry-level option, but it defines Sony’s identity in the market.
- Incredible mirrorless line
- Often on the bleeding edge of camera innovation
- One of the strongest camera brands for cinema-level performance
- Not many affordable options
- Limited lens choices compared to some competitors
Canon is one of the most well-known camera brands around, and for good reason. The Canon suite of products has grown to gargantuan proportions and shows no signs of slowing down. This Japanese camera brand has been around in some capacity since the 1930s.
This long legacy of camera innovation shows most prominently in the strong line of Canon DSLR and point-and-shoot cameras.
DSLR – The Canon Strength
The list of Canon DSLRs with awards is impressively long. This particular product line is defined by its versatility and performance. Canon has been producing excellent DSLRs for years and there are tons of different lenses available.
While a little bulkier than their mirrorless counterparts, these cameras are what make Canon one of the most talked-about camera brands in 2020/21.
Canon EOS 7D Mark II
A strong contender for the title of best Canon camera is the EOS 7D Mark II. The onboard processing and optical performance of this full-frame machine is truly breathtaking.
While this is one of the priciest cameras Canon sells, its strengths reveal a lot about the brand’s reputation and are not unique to this specific model.
The flexibility, performance and reliability of the 7D can be found throughout the Canon family of products. Everything from the 5D Mark IV to their more obscure options is usually great.
Convenient Point-and-Shoot Cameras
Another area where Canon does particularly well is the brand’s excellent line-up of more compact cameras. If you’re looking for a good beginner’s camera, Canon is among the best camera brands out there.
- Excellent DSLRs
- The legendary EOS range
- Some great compact cameras
- Not great for mirrorless cameras
If you’re looking for camera brands with tons of choice when it comes to interchangeable lenses, Nikon is a great bet. Not only does Nikon make a boat-load of lenses themselves, plenty of third-party companies make options that work too.
Nikon Pro-Grade DSLRs
Just as with Canon, many professional photographers use Nikon DSLRs for their work. The strong line of Nikon options offer a great deal of flexibility and performance. The variety really stands out with this brand in particular. There’s almost definitely a Nikon DSLR that would fit your specific requirements.
Nikon Mirrorless Cameras
The Nikon ‘Z’ series is the brand’s line of mirrorless cameras. There’s something for everyone here, with models aimed at a diverse spectrum of customers. The Z7 II is one of the Nikon full-frame cameras that stands out for its attention to detail and blistering speed.
Compact Cameras – A Nikon Twist
Nikon is also a strong choice for those who need something a little simpler. The Nikon family of compact cameras is sizeable, with prices to suit virtually any budget. The ” Nikon coolpix” trademark is aimed at the casual photography market in particular.
- Tons of choice for interchangeable lenses
- Pro-grade DSLRs to compete with Canon
- Some stunning full-frame options
- Doesn’t necessarily have a “specialism”
Yet another Japanese camera brand, Panasonic has been making cameras since the early 1900s! While the Panasonic suite of cameras is diverse, the current focus for this brand is their line of full-frame mirrorless cameras and DSLRs. The brand is also a popular choice among videographers.
While Panasonic isn’t the biggest player out there, they still sell some excellent products
Panasonic Lumix Line
The Lumix line is packed full of options for photographers of all experience levels. The mirrorless variants of these cameras are particularly impressive. The Lumix S Series is crammed full of exciting technology that helps Panasonic compete in a crowded marketplace.
Micro Four Thirds Cameras
Panasonic has spent many years investing in its offerings of micro four thirds cameras. The technology behind this venture was developed in collaboration with another camera brand, Olympus.
Micro four thirds technology allows for cameras that are significantly lighter, thinner, and more versatile. If you’re looking for a more compact, modern camera, Panasonic might be the right choice for you.
- Full-frame mirrorless options with excellent image-quality
- Micro four thirds cameras for improved portability
- Great video recording options
- Not the biggest name out there
Fujifilm is dedicated to maintaining its legacy as a film-focused camera company. While this brand is behind an impressive amount of digital camera innovation, their bread and butter, at least in terms of reputation, is their film cameras.
The warm richness of film photography is celebrated with the Fujifilm line of products. The brand has an eye for the nostalgic. The Instax suite of cameras, for example, aims to recapture people’s love of instant print cameras and film development.
Even the digital cameras from Fujifilm hearken back to the good old days of film photography. Built-in overlays and filters allow users to create film effects on their photos.
Fujifilm X System
The Fujifilm X system brings traditional styling and bleeding-edge technology together in an exciting line of digital camera options. The Fujifilm X T4 is perhaps the best option in the series. Its CMOS sensor, onboard image processing, and unique design are characteristic of the Fujifilm brand.
APS-C Mirrorless Camera Options – A Fujifilm Focus
A huge focus for Fujifilm is the brand’s APS-C mirrorless camera products. An astonishing amount of attention to detail goes into their color technology and scene accuracy. Fujifilm customers often receive firmware updates several years after an initial purchase.
This is great to see in today’s world of planned obsolescence.
- Great for film lovers
- A unique line of digital cameras with classic stylings
- A great option if you’re looking for a new mirrorless camera
Leica is one of the oldest brands around, having first started out in the mid 1800s. While the name is still known among enthusiasts and some professional photographers, Leica has found the transition into digital camera technology quite challenging.
A primary focus for Leica over the past few years has been the brand’s line of high-end, full-frame cameras. While many of these products are gorgeous, with some impressive performance achievements, the pricing and variety leave a little to be desired.
An effort to re-establish the Leica name, the Leica Akademie aims to introduce newcomers to the wonders of digital photography. From insights into full-frame camera technology, to getting to grips with the basics, courses are available for a broad range of potential students.
- Bold new innovations into digital camera technology
- Longstanding company that’s existed much longer than most
- A unique, stylish approach to photography
- Waning popularity and relevance in the cut-throat world of the digital camera market
Olympus has become well-known for its mirrorless offerings. While many cameras in this brand’s line-up offer excellent image-quality and optical performance, the Olympus name remains associated with cameras that are very affordable.
If you’re on a budget but don’t want to sacrifice performance, Olympus is a great option.
Digital Camera Tech With a Retro Twist
The Olympus family of mirrorless, digital cameras is packed full of modern technology while staying true to the brand’s film-based roots. These cameras are rugged, stylish, and most importantly, strong performers.
Price points are available to suit a broad range of needs, and the Olympus suite of lenses is also surprisingly versatile. While they’re not the biggest name on the block, many professionals in the know would recommend Olympus in a heartbeat.
Explore the World with Action Cameras
Olympus has a strong reputation for action cameras with rugged designs and waterproofing technology. For snorkeling, hiking, and general exploring, the Tough TG 6 is a great choice.
- A great balance of affordability and high-end performance
- Uniquely designed cameras with a retro twist
- Very portable products
- Olympus only offer micro four thirds cameras. This format can be great, but more flexibility could help their popularity.
Frequently Asked Questions
This section will touch on some of the most common questions concerning camera brands.
What’s the Best Camera Brand for Beginners?
Canon has spent many years perfecting its control systems and as a general rule, they’re fairly easy to navigate and even self-program. Many Nikon cameras do well in this regard also.
Which is the Best Pro Brand?
The answer will depend on your specific preferences. If you prefer mirrorless cameras, Sony is probably a safe bet. For strong DSLRs, either Canon or Nikon is a great choice. All of the camera brands on this page offer some great products in the point-and-shoot category.
What’s the Cheapest Camera Brand?
In terms of compact cameras with fewer compromises on quality, Nikon has some fantastic options in this bracket. Olympus is another name frequently associated with affordable cameras that don’t sacrifice much on quality or performance.
What if I Like Film Photography?
Fujifilm is a camera company that still places an emphasis on film-based photography. It’s also worth remembering that you may be better off exploring the second hand market too. There are tons of great vintage cameras that might have what you’re looking for.
Whether it’s Canon, Sony, Leica, or a different name entirely, the perfect camera brand will be different for everyone. For example, Olympus receives criticism for its lack of full-frame options, but if this doesn’t matter to you, their cameras could serve you incredibly well.
Or take Canon, for instance. The photography giant is well-known for its gigantic line of high-performance powerhouses. The thing is, though, if you just need a point-and-shoot for your casual photography needs, their cameras can be a little over priced.
It’s best to spend some time figuring out what you actually need from your photography gear. This will make it much easier to make a decision that works for you. Don’t be afraid to rent a camera first before buying. This can let you get a feel for a product at a fraction of the actual cost.
Whichever brand you choose, we hope it serves you well!