With so many different camera brands offering a variety of high-quality cameras, it can be difficult to narrow down the best ones. With the exception of camera technology so advanced these days, any brand of good camera will get the job done. The upshot of this is that choosing one over the other is mostly a matter of personal preference and needs. Still, each brand has its own characteristics and differences, so it’s best to understand what each brand brings to the table.
We purchased and tested over 75 cameras from over 12 different brands. Here are our recommendations for the best camera brands. The brands are not ordered by rank or position; the first brand listed is not necessarily our overall top choice, nor is the last brand the worst. Instead, we try to rank brands by popularity and market share, and group brands with similar audiences together to make it easier for you to find the best brand for your needs. If you’re looking for your first camera, check out our recommendations for the best cameras for beginners. Otherwise, you can check out our picks for the best cameras for photography or the best cameras overall.
If you know anything about cameras, you’ve probably heard of Canon. Canon has been around since the 1930s and still largely dominates the market today, often competing with its longtime rival Nikon. With excellent professional service, Canon has long been a favorite of professional photographers, and their cameras often feature solid ergonomics, intuitive menu systems and some of the best autofocus on the market. DSLR products range from entry-level cameras like the Canon EOS Rebel T7/EOS 2000D to popular professional models like the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. On the mirrorless side, you have affordable entry-level models like the Canon EOS M50 Mark II and full-frame options like the Canon EOS R or the portable Canon EOS RP.
However, the best Canon camera we’ve tested is the Canon EOS R6. A cheaper alternative to the flagship Canon EOS R5, this full-frame mirrorless model is an excellent choice for the avid hybrid shooter. With an excellent autofocus system and continuous shooting at up to 20fps (or 12fps when using the mechanical shutter), it’s great for capturing sports or fast-moving subjects. Plus, the 20-megapixel sensor is great for shooting in low light, offering a wide dynamic range for landscapes and high-contrast scenes. Not to mention in-body image stabilization (IBIS) and internal 10-bit 4k 60fps recording for video shooters. All in all, an excellent, well-rounded model for Canon enthusiasts.
Best known for its TVs, sound bars, headphones and speakers, Sony has also been making cameras since the 1990s and quickly became one of the world’s leading camera brands. With roots in making electronic components like semiconductors and sensors, Sony is also one of the world’s largest makers of image sensors — you’ll likely find Sony-made sensors in cameras from other brands on this list. Sony’s mirrorless cameras are primarily sold under the Alpha brand, but the company also offers point-and-shoot cameras through its Cybershot line. Sony cameras typically have fast, efficient autofocus systems and compact bodies. Sony is also one of the few brands to publish its proprietary lens mount specifications, allowing users to choose from a wide range of third-party lenses for their E-mount mirrorless systems.
The Sony α7 IV is easily the best Sony camera we’ve ever tested. This hybrid model improves on the popular Sony α7 III by updating its video specifications to meet the needs of today’s hybrid photo and video shooter. It also has an upgraded sensor with higher resolution, making it a great choice for all types of photography. With onboard image stabilization, 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording, excellent autofocus, and a variety of lens options, this is one of the best all-around enthusiast cameras you can get.
Nikon is another best camera brand with a long history in manufacturing optics, cameras and lenses. As one of the pioneering digital camera manufacturers of the 1990s, Nikon continues to hold its place among the top camera brands. Despite the slow pace of entry into the mirrorless trend, Nikon has proven adaptable and continues to make smart decisions, releasing premium models from entry-level models like the Nikon Z 50 to the retro-styled Nikon Z fc. Lens and Camera, Professional Flagship Nikon Z 9. While Nikon has discontinued many DSLRs, they still have a lot going for them, from entry-level models like the Nikon D3500 to enthusiast models like the Nikon D780. The company also offers point-and-shoot cameras under its “Coolpix” line, and is known for pushing the boundaries of some of its cameras, such as the Nikon COOLPIX P1000, which has the longest fixed zoom lens on the market.
If you’re interested in Nikon, the Nikon Z 6 II is an excellent hybrid camera and one of the best Nikon cameras we’ve tested. Nikon cameras have some of the best ergonomics and build quality around, and the Z 6 II is no exception, with incredible handling and intuitive controls. With great image quality, a fast maximum burst rate, onboard stabilization and some solid video specs, it’s a camera that ticks the boxes for both photography and video, especially if you’re already in the Nikon lens ecosystem middle.
As the name suggests, Fujifilm started making film in the early 20th century and eventually started making cameras in the late 1940s under the name “Fujica”. It was also one of the most successful camera companies in the transition from film to digital, and is now one of the leading manufacturers of APS-C and medium format mirrorless cameras. The X-series includes entry-level models like the Fujifilm X-T200, mid-range models like the Fujifilm X-T30 II, and even vlogger-oriented models like the Fujifilm X-S10. The company also makes high-end compact cameras like the Fujifilm X100V. What unites many of these models is the brand’s old-school approach to design, with retro styling and physical dials, paired with excellent color science and in-camera processing.
The Fujifilm X-T4 is the best Fujifilm camera we’ve tested. Portable and well-built, this high-end APS-C model delivers great performance for both photography and video. It’s a solid choice for vlogging and video, but it’s also great for more advanced video projects thanks to the excellent internal recording capabilities and very efficient IBIS system.
Panasonic makes everything from TVs and home appliances to batteries, headphones and cameras. The camera range, marketed under the LUMIX brand, primarily includes mirrorless digital cameras, ranging from video-oriented ILCs like the Panasonic LUMIX GH5 II to affordable bridge cameras like the Panasonic LUMIX FZ80. For a long time, Panasonic primarily produced cameras within the Micro Four Thirds system, which the company standardized on in collaboration with Olympus. Four Thirds camera sensors are about half the size of full-frame sensors, smaller than APS-C sensors but larger than those commonly found on compact point-and-shoot cameras. This makes them a good portable alternative to larger sensor options and gives them a longer focusing range. More recently, Panasonic has also started making full-frame cameras, thanks to an L-mount alliance with Leica and Sigma, both of which make L-mount compatible cameras.
The Panasonic LUMIX DC-S5 was one of the brand’s first full-frame offerings and the best Panasonic camera we’ve tested, though it’s been superseded by the new and improved Panasonic LUMIX DC-S5 II. At a very affordable price, this audiophile model is an excellent all-rounder with advanced 4k video features such as internal 10-bit recording and extensive codec/format support. It’s also no slouch for still photography, especially when it comes to low-light performance. However, it’s not the best choice for faster subjects, with a slow maximum burst and slow contrast-based autofocus that lags behind brands like the Sony or Canon.
Like Fujifilm, Canon, and Nikon, Olympus has been around in some form since the 1930s. It was a major player in the film era and gained worldwide popularity in the 1970s and 80s with its innovative line of “OM System” SLR cameras. In the digital age, Olympus partnered with Panasonic to help standardize the Four Thirds and later Micro Four Thirds systems, which offered smaller, less expensive alternatives to full-frame and APS-C cameras plan. In 2021, Olympus’ imaging division was acquired by OM Digital Solutions, and began releasing cameras under the new brand “OM System,” starting with the OM System OM-1, echoing the company’s heyday.
Of the Olympus cameras we tested, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III is the best. It’s the ultimate sports and wildlife camera for those who want something lighter and more portable. It has a durable, weatherproof body with excellent ergonomics and top-notch image stabilization. On top of that, it has a very fast maximum burst rate and lots of cool extra features, like a high-res composite mode. Sure, its smaller sensor isn’t great for shooting in low light, but it’s still a very well-rounded camera for fans of the Micro Four Thirds system.
Like Olympus, Fujifilm, etc., the brand name “PENTAX” has a long history. It was first used by Asahi Optical in the mid-20th century with the release of the influential Asahi Pentax camera. It was so popular that Asahi simply renamed it Pentax. Like Olympus, Pentax cameras have often been innovative and highly regarded throughout the history of SLR cameras. In the digital age, the company was eventually acquired by RICOH and changed its name to RICOH Imaging Company, although it still released DSLR and medium format cameras under the Pentax brand, as well as compact cameras such as the RICOH GR III under its own name. The brand is one of the few that doesn’t offer a mirrorless model and remains committed to making a quality DSLR.
Of these DSLRs, the best we’ve tested is the PENTAX K-3 Mark III. This is their flagship APS-C camera, and while the APS-C model comes with a hefty price tag, it has incredibly durable, weatherproof construction and offers low-light performance that rivals some full-frame models. Plus, it has an excellent IBIS system and great battery life. If you’re looking for a great photography DSLR, this is one of the best crop sensor models you can get, despite the price.
Our recommendations above are what we think are the best cameras most people can buy from the top camera brands right now. We take price, visitor feedback and availability into account.
If you want to choose for yourself, here’s a list of all our camera reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no one camera is perfect for all purposes, most cameras are good enough for most people. Personal taste, preferences and recording habits play a bigger role in your choice.