With so many different camera brands offering a wide range of cameras, it can be hard to narrow down the best of the best. Besides, with camera technology as advanced as it is these days, a good camera from any brand will get the job done. The upshot of that is that choosing one over another mostly comes down to personal preferences and needs. Still, each brand has quirks and differences, so it's good to be aware of what each one brings to the table.
We've bought and tested over 80 cameras from over 12 different brands, and below are our recommendations for the best camera brands to buy from. The brands aren’t ordered by rank or position; the first brand listed isn’t necessarily our top pick overall, and the last brand isn’t the worst. Instead, we’ve tried to list the brands by popularity and market share, as well as keeping brands with similar audiences together to make it easier to find what best suits your needs. If you're looking for your first camera, check out our recommendations for the best cameras for beginners. Otherwise, you can take a look at our picks for the best cameras for photography or the best cameras overall.
If you know anything about cameras, you've probably already heard of Canon. The brand's been around since the 1930s, often pitted against its long-time rival Nikon, and still largely dominates the market today. With exceptional professional services, Canon has long been a favorite among professional photographers, and their cameras typically feature robust ergonomic designs, intuitive menu systems, and some of the best autofocus on the market. Its DSLR lineup ranges from beginner cameras like the Canon EOS Rebel T8i 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 R50 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 Mark II. Improving upon the already-excellent Canon EOS R6, this enthusiast model can do it all. Image quality is fantastic, and it performs incredibly well in low light. It also has an excellent autofocus system, borrowed from the pro-level Canon EOS R3, which can reliably track moving subjects, along with burst shooting at up to 40 fps with the electronic shutter. That aside, you also get a sturdy, weather-sealed body, a high-res viewfinder, and in-body image stabilization (IBIS).
Widely known for its TVs, soundbars, headphones, and speakers, Sony has also been making cameras since the 1990s, quickly growing into one of the top camera brands in the world. With roots in making electronic components like semiconductors and sensors, Sony is also one of the world's largest manufacturers of image sensors—you're likely to find Sony-built sensors inside cameras from other brands on this list. Sony's mirrorless camera lineup is primarily marketed under the Alpha brand name, but the company also offers point-and-shoot cameras through its Cybershot lineup. Sony cameras tend to have snappy, highly effective autofocus systems and portable bodies. Sony is also one of the few brands to release the specifications for its proprietary lens mount, giving users a wide selection of third-party lenses to choose from for its E-mount mirrorless system.
The Sony α7 IV is hands-down the best Sony camera we've tested. This hybrid model improves upon the highly popular Sony α7 III by updating its video specs to appeal to the demands of today's hybrid photo and video shooters. It also has an upgraded, higher-resolution sensor that makes it an excellent choice for photography of all kinds. With in-body image stabilization, 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording, excellent autofocus, and a ton of lens options, this is one of the best all-around enthusiast cameras you can get.
Nikon is another of the best camera brands with a long history of producing optical devices, cameras, and lenses. One of the pioneering manufacturers of digital cameras throughout the 1990s, Nikon continues to hold its own among the top camera brands. Though it was slow to get on board the mirrorless train, Nikon has proven adaptable and continues to make smart decisions, releasing excellent-quality lenses and cameras, from entry-level models like the Nikon Z 50 and the retro-inspired Nikon Z fc to the pro flagship Nikon Z 9. While Nikon has now discontinued many of its DSLRs, they still have a lot to offer, including beginner models like the Nikon D3500 to enthusiast options like the Nikon D780. It also offers point-and-shoot cameras under its 'Coolpix' line and is known for pushing boundaries with some of its cameras, like 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 Nikons 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 excellent image quality, a fast max burst rate, built-in stabilization, and some solid video specs, it's a camera that checks a lot of boxes for both photography and video, especially if you're already in the Nikon lens ecosystem.
As its name suggests, Fujifilm started manufacturing film in the early twentieth century until it eventually began producing cameras in the late 1940s under the 'Fujica' moniker. It was also one of the most successful camera companies to transition from film to digital, and it's now one of the leading producers of APS-C and medium format mirrorless cameras. Its X Series includes entry-level models like the Fujifilm X-T200, mid-range models like the Fujifilm X-T30 II, and even vlogging-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 control dials, as well as excellent color science and in-camera processing.
The Fujifilm X-T4 is the best Fujifilm camera that we've tested. Portable and well-built, this high-end APS-C model offers excellent performance in both photography and video. It's a solid option for vlogs and video, but it's also great for more advanced video projects thanks to excellent internal recording capability and a very effective IBIS system. Besides its video capabilities, it also embodies Fuji's dedication to the art of photography, with amazing out-of-the-box image quality, film simulation profiles to help you get creative, and physical exposure dials to give manual shooters more hands-on control.
Panasonic makes everything from TVs and appliances to batteries, headphones, and cameras. Its camera lineup is marketed under the LUMIX brand and is made up primarily of digital mirrorless cameras, from video-oriented ILCs like the Panasonic LUMIX GH5 II to budget bridge cams like the Panasonic LUMIX FZ80. For a long time, Panasonic mainly produced cameras within the Micro Four Thirds system, which the company standardized in collaboration with Olympus. Four Thirds camera sensors are about half the size of full-frame sensors, so they're smaller than APS-C sensors but larger than those typically found on compact point-and-shoot cameras. That makes them good portable alternatives to larger-sensor options, along with giving them more focal reach. More recently, Panasonic has also started producing full-frame cameras thanks to the L-mount Alliance with Leica and Sigma, which all produce L-mount compatible cameras.
The Panasonic LUMIX DC-S5, one of the brand's first full-frame offerings, is also the best Panasonic camera we've tested, though it's since been replaced by the new and improved Panasonic LUMIX DC-S5 II. Coming in at a very affordable price point for what you get, this enthusiast model is a great all-arounder with advanced 4k video features like internal 10-bit recording and plenty of codec/format support. It's no slouch for still photography, either, especially when it comes to low-light performance. It isn't the best for faster subjects, with a slow max burst rate and slower contrast-based autofocus that falls short of brands like Sony or Canon.
OM SYSTEM, formerly known as Olympus, has been around in some form or another since the 1930s. Olympus was a major player in the days of film, achieving worldwide popularity in the 1970s and 80s with its innovative 'OM System' line of SLRs. In the digital age, Olympus helped standardize the Four Thirds and later Micro Four Thirds systems in collaboration with Panasonic, offering a smaller and more affordable alternative to full-frame and APS-C cameras. These include beginner models like the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV, along with prosumer models like the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III. In 2021, OM Digital Solutions acquired Olympus's imaging division and began releasing cameras under the new name, OM SYSTEM, in a callback to the company's heyday.
The OM SYSTEM OM-1 is the first camera released since the company's rebranding and the last to physically bear the Olympus name. It's also the best camera we've tested from the brand. It's the ultimate sports and wildlife camera for those who want something rugged and portable. It's got a weather-sealed body with fantastic ergonomics and best-in-class image stabilization. On top of that, it has a remarkably fast max burst rate and plenty of cool computational photography features, including a high-resolution composite mode. Of course, its smaller sensor makes it a bit less suited to low-light shooting, but this is still an incredibly well-rounded camera for fans of the Micro Four Thirds system.
Like Olympus, Fujifilm, and others, the 'PENTAX' brand name has a long history. It was first used by Asahi Optical in the middle of the twentieth century with the release of the influential Asahi Pentax camera. It was so popular that it prompted Asahi to rebrand as simply 'Pentax'. Like Olympus, Pentax cameras were often innovative and well-regarded throughout the development of SLRs. In the digital age, the company was eventually acquired by RICOH and renamed RICOH Imaging Company, though it still releases DSLRs and medium format cameras under the Pentax brand, as well as compact cameras under its own name, like the RICOH GR III. The brand is one of the few that doesn't offer mirrorless models and remains committed to producing high-quality DSLRs.
Of those DSLRs, the best we've tested is the PENTAX K-3 Mark III. It's their flagship APS-C camera, and though it comes at a steep price for an APS-C model, it has an incredibly sturdy weather-sealed construction and delivers low-light performance that rivals some full-frame models. In addition, it's got a fantastic IBIS system and excellent battery life. If you're looking for an excellent DSLR for photography, it's one of the best crop-sensor models you can get, despite its hefty price tag.
Apr 24, 2023: Replaced the Canon EOS R6 with the Canon EOS R6 Mark II and replaced the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III with the OM SYSTEM OM-1.
Feb 20, 2023: Verified article accuracy; minor touch-ups for clarity.
Oct 24, 2022: Replaced the Sony α7 III with the Sony α7 IV; replaced the Nikon D780 with the Nikon Z 6II; and replaced the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best cameras for most people to buy from the best camera brands. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability.
If you would like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all of our camera reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no camera is perfect for every use, most offer enough to suit most people's needs. Personal taste, preference, and shooting habits will matter more in your selection.