With many camera brands available, knowing the best ones will help you find the right fit. Learn what the top camera brands are.
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Whether you’re looking to buy your first camera or you’re a long-time photographer, keeping up with what’s going on in the camera world is essential.
A part of staying up to date is knowing what the top camera brands are.
With so many camera brands, it’s difficult to compare and evaluate each one. Canon, Nikon, and Sony have dominated the market.
They’re also the most popular. However, there are other excellent brands.
The following are the top camera brands of 2021 and information about why they’re the best.
Canon is perhaps the most well-known camera brand. It’s typically the first brand that comes to your mind.
Canon was founded in Japan in 1937. While Canon manufactures other products, such as printers, industrial products, and medical equipment, photography gear is a big part of their business.
Related: Canon EOS 90D review
In the Americas, Canon opened its first office in 1955 in New York. In 1956, Canon released the VT model, which was their first camera designed for mass production.
In 1959, Canon introduced its first 35mm single-lens reflex camera, the Flex. Today, Canon makes cameras and lenses for all skill levels and budgets.
Whether you’re a beginner or pro, Canon has a high-quality camera for you. They offer DSLRs, mirrorless, and point-and-shoot cameras. The most popular Canon cameras are as follows:
- Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS Digital Camera. Buy for $239 from B&H.
- Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II Digital Camera. Buy for $629.99 from B&H.
- Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Digital Camera. Buy for $649.99 from B&H.
- Canon EOS Rebel T8i DSLR Camera. Buy for $749.99 from B&H.
- Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera. Buy for $2,699 from B&H.
- Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Digital Camera. Buy for $3,899 from B&H.
- Canon EOS-1D X Mark III DSLR Camera. Buy for $6,499 from B&H.
Regardless of the type of camera you want, Canon is a reliable, high-quality, durable, and overall excellent brand for buying photography gear.
Nikon is another extremely popular camera brand. Over the years, photographers have debated about whether Canon or Nikon is better. You can’t go wrong with either brand.
Like Canon, Nikon originates from Japan. However, Nikon is an older brand, as it was founded in 1917.
It’s well-known for high-quality cameras and lenses in addition to its other medical and industrial imaging products.
Related: The best tripod brands in 2021
The Nikon Model I was its first camera, which launched in 1948. The D1 was its first DSLR, which launched in 1999. Today, Nikon has many options.
Whether you’re looking for an entry-level or top-tier camera, Nikon produces excellent photography gear.
The following are the most popular Nikon cameras:
- Nikon COOLPIX A1000 Digital Camera. Buy for $476.95 from B&H.
- Nikon D7500 DSLR Camera. Buy for $996.95 from B&H.
- Nikon Z fc Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-50mm Lens. Buy for $1,096.95 from B&H.
- Nikon Z 6II Mirrorless Digital Camera. Buy for $1,996.95 from B&H.
- Nikon D850 DSLR Camera. Buy for $2,996.95 from B&H.
- Nikon Z 9 Mirrorless Digital Camera. Buy for $5,496.95 from B&H.
- Nikon D6 DSLR Camera. Buy for $6,496.95 from B&H.
Overall, Nikon is an excellent camera brand. After using a Nikon camera, you’ll see why.
The image quality and performance are what make it a top camera brand.
Sony is the leader of mirrorless and point-and-shoot cameras. While other brands became popular for DSLR cameras, Sony didn’t.
Instead, Sony has a strong line of mirrorless cameras that Canon and Nikon are trying to compete with.
Related: The best memory card readers in 2021
Sony was founded in 1946 in Japan. It’s known for music, films, and a wide range of products. However, its cameras and lenses are incredible.
The Alpha line of cameras is one of the best that you can find. They have excellent image quality, performance, and in-body stabilization.
The following are the most popular Sony cameras:
- Sony ZV-1 Digital Camera. Buy for $648 from B&H.
- Sony Alpha a6400 Mirrorless Digital Camera. Buy for $898 from B&H.
- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII Digital Camera. Buy for $1,198 from B&H.
- Sony Alpha a7 III Mirrorless Digital Camera. Buy for $1,998 from B&H.
- Sony Alpha a7S III Mirrorless Digital Camera. Buy for $3,498 from B&H.
- Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera. Buy for $6,498 from B&H.
If you’re looking for a proven mirrorless camera, Sony’s Alpha line has plenty of options to consider.
With superior performance and image quality, Sony is one of the top camera brands.
Fujifilm was founded in 1934 in Japan. While it’s known for its film, it offers more than that.
It’s an incredibly innovative and high-quality brand. Fujifilm is versatile, as you can get instant cameras, digital cameras, top-tier medium-format cameras, and sharp lenses.
Whether you’re a professional or hobby photographer, Fujifilm has great cameras that you’ll quickly fall in love with.
One of Fujifilm’s most popular cameras among the general population is the Instax Mini. It’s an aesthetic instant camera that allows you to save memories on a film.
For hobby and pro photographers, the X and GFX System are excellent cameras. The following are the best and most popular Fujifilm cameras:
- FUJIFILM INSTAX Mini 11 Instant Film Camera. Buy for $59.95 from B&H.
- FUJIFILM X-S10 Mirrorless Digital Camera. Buy for $999 from B&H.
- FUJIFILM X100V Digital Camera. Buy for $1,399 from B&H.
- FUJIFILM X-T4 Mirrorless Digital Camera. Buy for $1,699 from B&H.
- FUJIFILM GFX 100S Medium Format Mirrorless Camera. Buy for $5,999 from B&H.
- FUJIFILM GFX 100 Medium Format Mirrorless Camera. Buy for $9,999 from B&H.
You’ll notice that Fujifilm has crop-sensor cameras. They’ve invested a lot into them, and the cameras produce high-quality images.
The crop-sensor cameras from Fujifilm are on par with full-frame cameras from other brands.
When you think of a luxury, high-quality, and lightweight camera brand not from Japan, Leica is most likely what’ll come to mind. It’s a German company that was founded in 1914 by Ernst Leitz.
Leica cameras are popular because they’re small, fast, and take incredibly sharp images.
They also come with a higher price tag. However, Leica cameras are worth the investment.
Aside from incredible cameras, Leica lenses are some of the best in the world.
When you combine the lenses and cameras, you get beautifully crafted, well-built, and high-performing cameras.
The following are the top Leica cameras:
- Leica TL2 Mirrorless Digital Camera. Buy for $2,495 from B&H.
- Leica CL Mirrorless Digital Camera with 18-56mm Lens. Buy for $3,795 from B&H.
- Leica Q2 Digital Camera. Buy for $5,695 from B&H.
- Leica SL2 Mirrorless Digital Camera. Buy for $6,895 from B&H.
- Leica M10 Monochrom Digital Rangefinder Camera. Buy for $8,995 from B&H.
- Leica S3 Medium Format DSLR Camera. Buy for $19,995 from B&H.
Overall, Leica makes cutting-edge cameras with spectacular quality. They’re also durable and will last a long time.
Pentax was a well-loved camera brand, as it sat between low-end compact cameras and pro-level DSLRs.
It was founded in 1919 in Japan as a company producing spectacle lenses. In 2011, Ricoh acquired Pentax and has continued the Pentax line of cameras.
Together, Ricoh Pentax has several great cameras, including the medium-format DSLR that Pentax was known for.
Pentax cameras are also popular because it has a retro design, along with being weatherproof. On Ricoh’s side, it’s known for high-end digital compact cameras.
The following are the most popular and best-performing cameras from Ricoh Pentax:
- Pentax K-70 DSLR Camera. Buy for $546.95 from B&H.
- Ricoh GR III Digital Camera. Buy for $896.95 from B&H.
- Ricoh THETA Z1 51GB 360 Camera. Buy for $1,046.95 from B&H.
- Pentax K-1 Mark II DSLR Camera. Buy for $1,799 from B&H.
- Pentax K-3 Mark III DSLR Camera. Buy for $1,996.95 from B&H.
- Pentax 645Z Medium Format DSLR Camera. Buy for $4,996.90 from B&H.
If you’re looking for a camera with in-body stabilization and a weatherproof design, Ricoh Pentax is an excellent brand to consider. Keep in mind that its cameras are at a mid to high price point.
Panasonic was founded in Japan in 1918 as a lightbulb socket manufacturer.
Today, Panasonic is known for its variety of electronics and appliances, including cameras and lenses. Its line of cameras and lenses is under the name of Lumix.
Related: Panasonic Lumix GH5 II review
The DMC-LC5 and DMC-F7 were the first two products in the Lumix series, which was launched in 2001. Both of the cameras were compact digital cameras.
Panasonic is a trusted camera brand offering DSLRs, mirrorless, and point-and-shoot cameras.
The following are the top cameras from Panasonic:
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 Digital Camera. Buy for $697.99 from B&H.
- Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera. Buy for $997.99 from B&H.
- Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera. Buy for $1,297.99 from B&H.
- Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 Mirrorless Digital Camera. Buy for $1,997.99 from B&H.
- Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H Mirrorless Digital Camera. Buy for $3,497.99 from B&H.
Panasonic also manufactures excellent lenses for not only their own cameras but also Leica. It’s a great representation of the quality.
GoPro was founded in the United States in 2002. It’s become the most popular action camera, as it’s versatile, works well for many activities and travel.
What makes GoPro cameras a top choice is that they’re small, waterproof, and records 4K videos. You can also mount a GoPro on virtually anything.
The following are the best GoPro cameras:
- GoPro HERO8 Black. Buy for $299.99 from B&H.
- GoPro HERO7 Black (Limited Edition Dusk White). Buy for $329 from B&H.
- GoPro MAX 360 Action Camera. Buy for $499 from B&H.
Unlike other camera brands, GoPro hasn’t been around for almost a century.
Its relativity quick growth is due to the ability to capture high-quality photos and videos with a small, waterproof, and durable camera. Plus, its price is low and accessible to most people.
Polaroid is an American company founded in 1937 by Edwin Land. He’s the inventor of the instant camera.
Unfortunately, Polaroid struggled as digital cameras were introduced and went under.
However, it’s now owned by the Dutch photography company Polaroid B.V. They’ve continued the Polaroid brand and now produce trendy instant film cameras.
The following are the best Polaroid cameras today:
- Polaroid Now Instant Film Camera. Buy for $119.99 from B&H.
- Polaroid Originals OneStep+ Instant Film Camera. Buy for $130 from B&H.
- Polaroid Originals SX-70 Instant Film Camera. Buy for $389.99 from B&H.
Polaroid cameras are affordable and offer an excellent way to print images to save memories.
Hasselblad is a Swedish company founded in 1841. Originally, it became popular for its analog medium-format camera with a viewfinder at waist-level.
Hasselblad is also known for going to space. In 1962, NASA purchased a few 500Cs, used to capture images in space.
Today, Hasselblad offers several high-end medium-format cameras geared towards professionals. The large sensors and quality build make the cameras expensive.
The following are the best Hasselblad cameras:
- Hasselblad X1D II 50C Medium Format Mirrorless Camera. Buy for $5,750 from B&H.
- Hasselblad 907X 50C Medium Format Mirrorless Camera. Buy for $6,399 from B&H.
- Hasselblad H6D-100c Medium Format DSLR Camera. Buy for $32,995 from B&H.
Hasselblad cameras have a futuristic design, incredible lenses, and take extremely high-quality photos.
Olympus is known for cameras, binoculars, and audio equipment. The company was founded in Japan in 1919.
In 2021, OM Digital Solutions acquired the Olympus imaging division. Now, it’s being sold under OM System.
However, you can still buy an Olympus camera. Olympus cameras are appealing because of their low to medium price point, compact size, and sturdy design.
The following are the most popular Olympus cameras:
- Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV Mirrorless Digital Camera with 14-42mm Lens. Buy for $699 from B&H.
- Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III Mirrorless Digital Camera. Buy for $899 from B&H.
- Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera. Buy for $949 from B&H.
- Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Mirrorless Digital Camera. Buy for $1,499 from B&H.
Olympus cameras are equipped with a Micro Four Thirds system. For the price point, it offers great cameras.
When you think or talk about film photography, Kodak is a brand that likely comes to mind. Eastman Kodak was founded in New York in 1888.
It’s the company that invented color film and made photography accessible to the general public.
Unfortunately, Kodak faced troubling times due to the digital camera. It moved beyond bankruptcy in 2013 and decided to focus on imaging.
If you’re getting your first camera and don’t want to spend a ton of money, you can start with a Kodak and upgrade from there. They’re around $80 to $200.
Featured image courtesy of Canon, Sony, Olympus, Leica, Panasonic, Fujifilm, Nikon, GoPro, and Pentax.
About David Em
David Em is the founder of Portraits Refined. He’s a published portrait photographer dedicated to helping photographers develop skills, capture incredible photos, and build successful businesses.