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The 7 Best Camera Brands - Black Friday 2021 Reviews

Updated
Best Camera Brands
71 Cameras Tested
  • Store-bought cameras; no cherry-picked units
  • Easily comparable results
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Learn more about our approach to product reviews here.

It can be difficult to narrow down the best camera brand, as they all have advantages and disadvantages. Besides, with camera technology as advanced as it is these days, a good camera from any brand will allow you to take great photos. Choosing one over another is just a matter of preference and finding a camera that suits your needs and feels good in your hand.

We've tested over 70 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 listed the brands by use or specialty, keeping brands with similar audiences together to make it easier to find what best suits your needs. For more options, see our recommendations for the best cameras for beginners, the best cameras for photography, and the best cameras.


  1. Canon

    7.6
    Travel Photography
    8.1
    Landscape Photography
    8.1
    Sport & Wildlife Photography
    7.4
    Vlogging
    8.6
    Studio Video
    5.3
    Action Video
    Body Type
    DSLR
    Mirrorless
    Yes
    Sensor Size
    Full Frame
    Tested Lens
    Canon RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM

    Canon is a Japanese multinational specializing in optical imaging devices, including cameras and lenses, as well as printers, scanners, medical equipment, and more. Canon produced its first camera in the 1930s and has been a leading manufacturer in the field of analog and later digital cameras across the 20th century up to today. Canon still leads the market in consumer camera sales and is a trusted brand among professional photographers. It's also a leading manufacturer of professional and consumer lenses, from affordable lenses for beginners to incredibly complex professional lenses. Its camera lineup ranges from entry-level DSLRs like the Canon EOS Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D to cameras favored by professionals like the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. In recent years, the company has also continued to expand its mirrorless lineup, from the entry-level Canon EOS M50 Mark II to the enthusiast-grade Canon EOS R6.

    While it's hard to go wrong with a high-end camera from any of the top brands, and performance will vary drastically depending on your lens, the Canon EOS R6 is among the best Canon cameras we've tested due to its exceptional image quality, well-constructed physical design, and intuitive menu system. It has a remarkably wide ISO range and its 20.1-megapixel full-frame sensor delivers fantastic image quality with incredible noise handling capability at higher ISO levels, so you can comfortably shoot in low light without sacrificing too much quality. It also has a great autofocus system with over 6,000 detection points for quick and accurate focusing. That said, its battery performance isn't the best, and you can't use it while it charges via USB, which is a bit inconvenient. Still, its robust build quality and dense feature set make this one of the best mirrorless cameras we've tested.

    See our review

  2. Nikon

    7.8
    Travel Photography
    8.0
    Landscape Photography
    8.1
    Sport & Wildlife Photography
    5.2
    Vlogging
    7.9
    Studio Video
    5.0
    Action Video
    Body Type
    DSLR
    Mirrorless
    No
    Sensor Size
    Full Frame
    Tested Lens
    Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR

    Nikon is another big name in cameras, often pitted against Canon since both have been making cameras since the mid-century. Nikon developed some of the first DSLR cameras in the 1990s, culminating in the Nikon D1, the first practical consumer DSLR, released in 1999. Nikon is still known primarily for its DSLR cameras and lenses, from professional models like the Nikon D850 to the entry-level Nikon D3500, as well as consumer point-and-shoots under its COOLPIX brand, which includes superzoom bridge cameras like the Nikon COOLPIX P1000. They've also continued to push into the mirrorless realm, from entry-level models like the Nikon Z 50 to full-frame models like the Nikon Z 6II.

    The Nikon D780 is among the best Nikon cameras we've tested. It's a premium full-frame camera that feels incredibly comfortable to use, with well-spaced physical controls, a tilting screen, and an optical viewfinder that gives you an unfiltered view of your subjects. The camera's menu system is remarkably intuitive and easy to navigate. Nikon also has a wide variety of DSLR lenses to choose from to suit almost any style of photography. Though battery life can vary with settings and usage habits, DSLRs also tend to have better battery performance; the D780's battery, for instance, is advertised to last for approximately 2,260 photos. That said, the camera is also bulkier and heavier than most APS-C and mirrorless alternatives. If you're looking for a DSLR, though, this is one of the best DSLR cameras that we've tested.

    See our review

  3. Sony

    7.9
    Travel Photography
    8.4
    Landscape Photography
    7.4
    Sport & Wildlife Photography
    6.3
    Vlogging
    8.5
    Studio Video
    4.9
    Action Video
    Body Type
    DSLR
    Mirrorless
    Yes
    Sensor Size
    Full Frame
    Tested Lens
    Sony FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS

    Widely known for its TVssoundbarsheadphones, and speakers, Sony has also been releasing cameras under the CyberShot brand since the 1990s and entered the DSLR, and later mirrorless, camera market using the Alpha brand name in 2006 after acquiring Konica Minolta. The company has since become the third-largest camera manufacturer in the world behind Canon and Nikon, and it's made strides, particularly in the mirrorless camera market. The company also has roots in manufacturing electronic components like semiconductors and image sensors and is one of the world's largest manufacturers of image sensors; many cameras from other brands feature Sony-built sensors. Sony cameras are known for their snappy, highly effective autofocus systems. It's one of the few brands to release the specifications for its proprietary lens mount, giving users a wider variety of third-party lenses to choose from within Sony's E-mount mirrorless system.

    The Sony α7 III is one of the best Sony cameras we've tested. Alpha 7 series cameras are among the most popular full-frame mirrorless cameras. While it lacks certain features like weather-sealing and a fully articulated screen that you can find on newer models like the Sony α7C, it's still a staple among enthusiasts and some people may prefer it to the more compact α7C because of its better-spaced controls and ergonomics, dual SD card slots, and larger viewfinder. While it uses a now older version of Sony's autofocus system, it still does an excellent job tracking moving subjects in photos and works fantastically well in video, particularly when tracking objects. If you're looking for something more portable for travel or simply want to save some money, Sony also produces APS-C models like the Sony a6400 or premium point-and-shoots like the Sony RX100 VII.

    See our review

  4. Fujifilm

    7.8
    Travel Photography
    7.9
    Landscape Photography
    8.0
    Sport & Wildlife Photography
    8.5
    Vlogging
    8.6
    Studio Video
    7.3
    Action Video
    Body Type
    DSLR
    Mirrorless
    Yes
    Sensor Size
    APS-C
    Tested Lens
    FUJINON XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R OIS

    Fujifilm is also a Japanese multinational company known for its cameras and imaging technology. As its name suggests, Fujifilm started by producing photographic film in the 1930s and continues to be a leader in that realm. The company then started producing optical glass and lenses and, later, cameras under the moniker Fujica. It released its first digital camera in 1988 and was one of the more successful film companies to adapt to digital. Fujifilm now primarily focuses on APS-C format interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras but also produces high-end medium format and compact cameras. It's known for its color science and retro-inspired camera designs, as seen on cameras like the rangefinder-style Fujifilm X-Pro3. Fuji cameras often include dedicated exposure dials and squared-off bodies that cater to photographers and camera enthusiasts. Their X-Trans sensors also stand out for using a different color filter layout than the more common Bayer filter.

    The best Fujifilm camera we've tested is the Fujifilm X-T4. This flagship model uses an APS-C X-Trans 4 sensor with 26.2 megapixels. It's a versatile and well-rounded camera that's good for both photography and videography. It delivers very good overall image quality and has amazing noise handling capability at higher ISO levels, so you can shoot in low light without introducing too much visual noise. Fujifilm cameras also include 'Film Simulation' profiles that you can apply to your photos to emulate the look and tone of classic film stocks. While the X-T4 has a very good autofocus system, especially when shooting video, it can be a little inconsistent when taking photos. If you're looking for something more portable, the Fujifilm X100V is a premium compact and one of the best point-and-shoots we've tested.

    See our review

  5. Panasonic

    8.0
    Travel Photography
    8.2
    Landscape Photography
    7.5
    Sport & Wildlife Photography
    7.2
    Vlogging
    8.7
    Studio Video
    5.4
    Action Video
    Body Type
    DSLR
    Mirrorless
    Yes
    Sensor Size
    Full Frame
    Tested Lens
    Panasonic LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6

    Panasonic is one of the largest electronics manufacturers and offers a very wide range of products, including TVs, headphones, appliances, and batteries. It also produces digital cameras under its 'Lumix' brand. For the most part, Panasonic produces mirrorless cameras, though they've made DSLR cameras as well. Panasonic helped standardize the Micro Four Thirds system in collaboration with Olympus and offers a range of MFT cameras for different budgets and experience levels, along with premium video-oriented models like the Panasonic LUMIX GH5 II. The company's lineup also includes many point-and-shoot and bridge cameras, and they've begun producing full-frame L-mount cameras as part of the L-Mount Alliance with Leica and Sigma.

    The best Panasonic camera we've tested is the Panasonic Lumix DC-S5, part of the brand's aforementioned shift to full-frame cameras. It's a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that uses L-mount lenses and, like many of Panasonic's offerings, has advanced video capabilities, making it a versatile option and viable competitor to some of the top full-frame cameras from leading brands. It feels remarkably well-built, has a fully articulated touchscreen, and can shoot 10-bit 4:2:2 4k video internally. It also supports a range of recording formats and has a full array of inputs and outputs, meaning you can connect an external recorder or auxiliary microphone. It's also a very capable stills camera, and while it has a great overall autofocus system, it does lag behind the autofocus of competitors like Sony and Canon.

    See our review

  6. Olympus

    7.6
    Travel Photography
    8.0
    Landscape Photography
    7.9
    Sport & Wildlife Photography
    8.7
    Vlogging
    7.7
    Studio Video
    6.5
    Action Video
    Body Type
    DSLR
    Mirrorless
    Yes
    Sensor Size
    4/3
    Tested Lens
    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-45mm f/4.0 PRO

    Olympus Corporation is a Japanese optics manufacturer. Olympus cameras were highly popular in the 1970s and '80s thanks to its 'OM System' SLR cameras, which packed the latest camera technology into exceptionally portable camera bodies, some of which are comparable in size to modern-day mirrorless cameras. These days, Olympus is known for standardizing the Micro Four Thirds system in collaboration with Panasonic. They offer a range of cameras to suit different budgets and styles of photography. In 2021, OM Digital Solutions bought Olympus's imaging division, and in October 2021, they announced that moving forward, the company would begin releasing cameras under the new brand name 'OM System'. These cameras and lenses will be compatible with existing Olympus cameras.

    The best Olympus camera that we've tested is the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III. This interchangeable-lens model uses a Micro Four Thirds sensor and has a very portable design, so it's a great option to take with you for travel or on-the-go photography. It's also a great choice for vloggers and includes a fully-articulated screen that you can flip around to face you when recording. It has five-axis in-body image stabilization, which does an amazing job of reducing camera shake when shooting handheld. Image quality is excellent overall, and video looks impressive even in low light. Its smaller sensor means that all video is cropped by a factor of 2x, though, and it only has decent RAW image noise handling capability.

    See our review

  7. PENTAX

    7.1
    Travel Photography
    7.7
    Landscape Photography
    7.7
    Sport & Wildlife Photography
    3.2
    Vlogging
    6.4
    Studio Video
    4.1
    Action Video
    Body Type
    DSLR
    Mirrorless
    No
    Sensor Size
    APS-C
    Tested Lens
    Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL WR

    PENTAX is a brand currently owned by RICOH, a Japanese imaging and electronics company that produces cameras and office equipment. The PENTAX brand was first prominently used by Asahi Optical, beginning with their 'Asahi Pentax' SLR camera in 1957. This and other PENTAX brand cameras were popular throughout the rest of the century. RICOH purchased PENTAX in 2011 and continues to release cameras under the PENTAX name. RICOH also produces cameras under its own brand name, like the RICOH GR III, part of their GR series of street photography cameras.

    While they aren't as popular as they used to be, PENTAX still produces high-quality cameras like the PENTAX K-3 Mark III, a premium DSLR. It offers exceptional low-light performance for a crop-sensor camera, rivaling the noise handling capability of some full-frame cameras. It can also reach an exceptionally high native ISO of 1,600,000. It feels incredibly comfortable to shoot with and is advertised to be weather-sealed against dust, rain, and humidity. It delivers excellent overall image quality and has a fast continuous shooting speed to capture bursts of fast action. However, its fixed screen is less versatile for composing shots from unconventional angles, and its 4k video features are somewhat limited.

    See our review

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best camera brands and the best cameras for most people. 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.

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