Top Camera Brands in 2021
Whether you’re buying your first digital camera or upgrading your existing photography gear, knowing the top camera brands in 2021 is essential.
Choosing the right brand for you is important because it will go a long way to shaping your photography style and how you build out your kit.
The brand you choose will also influence the quality of your equipment and the range of accessories compatible with it.
We intend to make the selection process a lot easier by showing you the best camera brands for digital cameras.
So let’s take a closer look at the top camera brands available and what you need to know to make the best purchasing decision.
Table of Contents
13 Most Significant Digital Camera Brands of 2021
Chances are that if you’ve ever considered buying a new camera, the name Canon has come up.
Canon has been making film and then digital cameras since 1937 – much later in the game than a lot of the other top brands founded in Japan.
They make both DSLR cameras and a vast range of compact and mirrorless cameras. These include both full-frame and cropped sensor cameras.
Plus, the range of Canon and third-party lenses available for their camera bodies is extensive. As a result, being able to get started and take amazing images is easy with Canon.
Fortunately, there are Canon cameras and lenses tailored to every need and every budget.
If you’re looking for a reliable and popular brand in a digital camera, look no further than Canon.
Nikon, much like Canon, has been in the business of making cameras for decades – since 1917. Most camera brands that exist today were founded in Japan – the home of tech innovation.
Nikon makes a vast range of pro-level DSLR cameras but also develop cameras for entry-level and enthusiast photographers.
What’s more, Nikon has an extensive range of lenses for their DSLRs. Plus, third party companies also make fantastic lenses to pair with a Nikon camera.
As a result, there’s a camera and many lenses to suit any budget or genre of photography. Nikon are also known for performance and image quality.
And like Canon, Nikon cameras are designed to follow a reasonably familiar aesthetic and user-experience that has not changed much over the years.
Sony is well known for developing all kinds of high-tech devices from stereos to PlayStations.
Of course, Sony makes exceptional cameras and is considered one of the best camera brands. Sony creates a selection of powerful full-frame mirrorless digital cameras that deliver incredible image quality.
Sony produces cameras tailored to the enthusiast and professional photographers. But they also have a great range of entry-level mirrorless cameras and premium compacts.
Sony products are designed with a big focus on modern aesthetics and considered ergonomics.
Sony digital cameras are considered to be industry leaders, especially in the mirrorless category. They are also considered to be the leaders in autofocus technology.
People may think that Fujifilm is a company that creates film for old-school cameras. And while that’s true, they’re also the creators of some truly innovative and high-performing digital mirrorless cameras.
Fujifilm was the first company to develop a consumer digital camera in 1988. Today, Fujifilm create a range of premium compacts and highly acclaimed mirrorless digital cameras.
Unlike Sony, Fujifilm decided against making full-frame cameras – instead, they have invested heavily in APS-C sensors that are smaller but arguably just as good.
Fujifilm digital cameras range from entry-level up to pro-level – but they can all use the same extensive Fujifilm lens range. This level of diversity is brilliant as you can gradually upgrade your lens range as you progress.
Further to this, for high-end professionals, Fujifilm has a range of mirrorless medium-format cameras.
It appears that almost all of the best camera brands started off in Japan during the second decade of the 1900s. Panasonic is no exception and has a name for making great digital and cinema-quality video cameras.
And like Sony, Panasonic makes a wide range of consumer and commercial grade electronics.
Panasonic currently offers an exciting range of full-frame DLSRs and cropped-sensor digital cameras under the Lumix banner.
Plus, Panasonic is the manufacturer of high-quality lenses both for their brand and for the uber-expensive Leica camera market.
Some of their most recent camera releases have been awarded and applauded for their outstanding video performance.
The Olympus camera company was founded in Japan way back in 1919. They have been developing high-quality film and digital cameras for quite some time.
Olympus digital mirrorless cameras have a very retro-inspired design to them – especially the PEN and OMD range.
Other Olympus OMD camera bodies look more like a traditional DSLR in both size and look.
They are popular thanks to their overall aesthetic, compact size and range of quality lenses to suit most photography genres and budgets.
While not the biggest player in the market, Olympus cameras are sought after for their capabilities and style.
If you’ve been on the hunt for a new digital camera, or are familiar with the industry, then you’ll have come across the name Leica.
Leica is a company founded in Germany back in 1914 and they’ve produced world-class optics ever since.
Leica cameras are highly sought after but not so affordable for the mass-market.
A good quality Leica mirrorless or DLSR camera with a couple of lenses can set you back tens of thousands of dollars.
But it must be said that Leica engineering standards and image output are exceptional.
The Leica digital camera can be found with both old film-camera aesthetics and modern-day design considerations.
Action cameras have enjoyed popularity in recent years thanks to the trend of posting content to platforms such as YouTube.
GoPro makes a small but reliable selection of compact action cameras that are ideal for outdoor sports such as kayaking, mountain climbing and downhill slalom skiing.
Even if you’re not action-orientated, a GoPro can make a perfect travel camera that also shoots in 4K video. They’re compact, waterproof and have a range of features ideal for creating exciting travel content.
Pentax was established in 1919 in Tokyo producing spectacle lenses. That history of optics continued and the company produced their first film SLR cameras in the early 1950s making them a late starter to the camera game.
Today, Pentax delivers a range of DSLR cameras including a medium-format DSLR. What’s more, Pentax also develops a wide range of lenses to suit their full-frame and APS-C cameras.
Pentax is not as well known as some of the other DSLR brands available. Canon and Nikon dominate the market in terms of their range and marketing presence.
Pentax DSLRs have two predominant design styles with the first giving a more retro, film-style camera appearance. The second is much more like other modern-day DSLRs.
Pentax cameras are very reliable and capable of meeting the needs of enthusiast photographers.
The name Kodak is synonymous with photography and especially film-photography and developing solutions. The company was founded way, way back in 1888 in New York, USA.
It may be surprising to learn that Kodak was the number one player for most of the last century thanks to their innovative film products. The invention of digital camera technology saw the demise of Kodak whose business model lost its sustainability in the new world.
Today, Kodak continues to make both camera and cinematic film stock for all levels of the industry.
In more recent years, Kodak has evolved and now develop a range of unique instant print cameras – but their former glory has certainly been lost.
While it is a misconception that the Polaroid company invented the now-famous instant print camera, they certainly dominated that niche market.
The first Polaroid instant film camera was developed in 1948, some 25 years after another scientist created the first actual instant film camera.
Much like Kodak, the Polaroid company struggled to survive in the digital age and sadly went under.
Fortunately, another company now owns the brand and continues to develop instant film cameras and printers that can print via a smartphone.
These are fun and creative products that deliver instant result and pair with modern-day technology.
Ricoh, situated in Japan, was founded in 1939 as a research and development division of a much larger institute.
Ricoh has developed compact film and digital cameras over the years but are also known for their consumer electronics such as office imaging equipment.
In more recent years, Ricoh has established a name for its popular GR range that began as a line of film cameras and more recently digital offerings.
The Ricoh GR range is a sought after system for those that love to shoot street photography. The cameras are small, stealthy and have a fixed wide-angle lens.
As a result of their unique fit to this genre, they have a cult-like following.
Hasselblad was founded in Sweeden in 1841 and it was the founder’s son who created a photography division – and you thought Kodak was an old company.
A little fun history fact for you – NASA used modified Hasselblad 500C cameras for the Mercury 8 mission on October 1962 to capture the ship’s orbit of the earth.
Hasselblad optics are revered as the bespoke tools of high-end professional photographers.
Their cameras have futuristic design qualities and are packed with whopping medium format image sensors with up to 400-megapixel in resolution. For comparison, an iPhone 11 sports a 12-megapixel camera.
Much like the cameras, Hasselblad lenses are also considered to be some of the best optics in the business.