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, a good camera from any brand will get the job done. The upshot is that choosing one over another mostly depends on personal preferences and needs. Still, each brand has its own strengths and quirks, so it's good to be aware of what each one brings to the table.
We've bought and tested over 95 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 the best, and the last brand isn't the worst because what's best for you will depend on your own specific needs. Instead, we've listed the brands by popularity and market share while trying to keep brands with similar audiences together to make it easier to find what best suits your needs. If you're looking for your first camera, you can check out our recommendations for the best cameras for beginners. Otherwise, you can look at 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, often pitted against its long-time rival Nikon, and still largely dominates today's camera market. 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 excellent autofocus systems. The brand's 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, mid-range models like the Canon EOS R10 and Canon EOS R7, all the way to pro-grade full-frame options like the Canon EOS R5.
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. All in all, it's a very well-rounded hybrid camera for enthusiasts.
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, with everything from APS-C options like the Sony α6700 to compact full-frames like the Sony α7C. The company also offers point-and-shoot cameras through its Cybershot lineup, including the premium Sony RX100 VII. Sony cameras tend to have snappy, highly effective autofocus systems and portable bodies. It's also one of the few brands to release its proprietary lens mount specifications to third parties, giving users a wider selection of lenses 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 a higher-resolution sensor, making it an excellent choice for high-level photography. With in-body image stabilization (IBIS), 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording, excellent autofocus, and many lens options, this is one of the best 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, Nikon Z 30, and retro-inspired Nikon Z fc to the flagship pro-level 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. The brand 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 a fast max burst rate, built-in stabilization, and some solid video specs, it's a camera that checks many 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-T30 II, mid-range hybrid models like the Fujifilm X-S10 or its successor, the Fujifilm X-S20, and ultra-portable X-E series cameras like the Fujifilm X-E4. 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-H2 is one of two flagship APS-C models, along with the Fujifilm X-H2S. These are among the best Fujifilm cameras we've tested, with performance that, in some ways, rivals full-frame competitors. The X-H2 is built around a high-resolution 40 MP sensor that delivers fantastic image quality and sharpness, with plenty of leeway to crop your photos. The slightly pricier X-H2S, on the other hand, uses a 26 MP stacked-design sensor that gives it a faster readout speed for quicker burst shooting and fewer rolling shutter artifacts. Both are hybrid beasts with advanced video capabilities and excellent IBIS systems. If you're looking for portability and the dedicated exposure dials that Fuji is known for, look to X-T series cameras like the Fujifilm X-T5, which shares the same high-res sensor as the X-H2.
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 and gives 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 S5 II is the best Panasonic camera we've tested. Whereas the original Panasonic LUMIX S5 offered a ton of value for its price, the S5 II improves upon the formula in a few key ways, namely being the first LUMIX camera to feature phase-detection autofocus. This enthusiast model is a great choice for hybrid and video shooters, with advanced video features like 6k video, internal 10-bit recording, and plenty of codec/format support. It's no slouch for still photography, either, especially when it comes to image quality, though it still falls short of brands like Sony or Canon when it comes to burst shooting and AF implementation.
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, more affordable alternative to full-frame and APS-C cameras. These include beginner models like the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV and 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, doing some justice to the Olympus legacy. 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. Asahi Optical first used it 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.
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.