A digital camera is a prized possession, not only because of its prize tag but also because of the passion factor attached to it. So which is the best camera brand to buy your digital camera from? Should you buy a Sony, a Panasonic or a Canon? Here is a guide to help to get best camera.
A digital camera is probably the most difficult electronics item to buy. The sheer range of styles, features available under each brand makes it almost impossible to choose the right one. You can never really get the best of everything – meaning photo quality, performance, features and design – packed in one camera.
And then there is also the fact that the best camera might not be the best for you. Deciding how and which camera to buy is therefore not likely to be an easy decision.
To help you out with your shopping decision, we have put together a list of the best camera brands 2016 that are out there in the market as of today.
But before discussing the best camera brands, let us just gloss over all the different categories of cameras available out there. These are broadly defined categories based on certain criteria.
Categories of Digital Cameras
- Compacts: These cameras are used to capture family photos and moments, they are very handy, light and easy to handle. But, you do not have any real control over exposure settings, aperture, and the lens you get, is the one you are stuck with. These are also called point and shoots and do come with varying features and capabilities.You can get one for as cheap as /$80-$100 or 5000 INR and their price can go up to 30,000 INR or near $400. It depends on what features you want, some come with touchscreens, others offer features like geo tagging and social media integration too. Super-zoom models have optical zooms of up to 83x, these can literally capture minute details, like the dew on a soccer field from the stadium seats. Waterproof models come with varying capabilities; some brands claim to be working at as deep as 50 feet, while others can just be submerged to a fraction of that depth.Nearly all the cameras in this category are lightweight and can be easily carried. Newer models come with strengthened chassis construction, and can survive a fall of several feet.
- Rugged compacts and Action cameras: These include military grade compact cameras and a newer breed of action cameras which can be easily attached to surfaces; these can go underwater and shoot high quality video at slower frame rates. These are used by professionals and adventurers to get action footages.
- Mirror-less interchangeable-lens cameras: As the name suggests these cameras have the option of using different lenses, the mount fitted on the camera accepts interchangeable lenses just like single-lens reflex cameras.Though these cameras are smaller and lighter than SLRs they don’t have a through-the-lens viewfinder, which is one of the major one-ups SLRs have on these cameras. Settings can usually be adjusted via knobs and almost all offer an on-screen menu. These cameras have large sensors useful for capturing enhanced images, and low light photography.Some higher-end models also offer full-frame sensors; with the frame size equivalent to 35mm film frame and show excellent low-light performance. Some models also give the option of capturing RAW files. Low end models can be bought for around 20-25K INR, whereas the price for high-end models can go up to 1-2 lakh INR.
- Digital single-lens reflex cameras: DSLRs are interchangeable-lens cameras which provide flexibility in terms of the number of lenses they are compatible with. Though they offer a wide variety of features, they are also the bulkiest and heaviest. You will have to buy accessories like a carry bag to use these cameras.Generally, all DSLRs have large sensors for getting better quality images in low light, some higher-end ones also offer full frame sensors. Usually, the through-the-lens viewfinders that come with these cameras use mirrors to display the image exactly as it appears through the lens.
- Digital Single Lens Translucent (DSLT) cameras: These cameras use a fixed translucent mirror instead of a moving reflex mirror as used in DSLRs. This translucent mirror or semi-transparent mirror is a mirror which reflects the light along a path to a pentaprism/pentamirror which then goes to an optical view finder for the final image, simultaneously the translucent mirror also sends light to the sensor along a second path.DSLT cameras are used for shooting in low-light conditions, or when continuous auto-focus tracking is needed while taking videos.
So now that you know what all is available out there, let us take a look at the Top 10 camera brands there in market:
#10 GoPro – Be a Hero
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GoPro formerly known as Woodman Labs Inc. was founded by Nick Woodman to satiate his desire for a camera that can be used to capture professional angles at high definition and in extreme action environment.
The company was started following a surf trip to Australia that Woodman took in 2002, in this trip he was unable to capture quality action photos of his surfing, the main reasons behind this were that photographers could not get close enough to get good shots, and the equipment needed for such photos was very pricey.
Hence, the company was started as an action-adventure camera company as the founders realised that taking pictures in adventurous, fast-paced situations such as surfing, biking, trekking etc. is quite difficult, especially for amateurs, they wanted the adventurers to capture their own adventures themselves.
GoPro cameras are usually quite small and easy to carry around; the company also offers many different mounts for specific adventure sports and situations.
Latest models on offer: HERO3+, HERO4, Hero+LCD.
- HEROCast – For live broadcasting
- HERO5 – 4k filming at 60fps
- KARMA – Drone camera
In a WORD: GoPro sells high-quality equipment at seemingly reasonable costs enabling even amateur photographers to take high-quality pictures of fast-paced action.
#9 Samsung – Next is what?
Checkout all Samsung Cameras at Amazon
Samsung is a South Korean giant which has been the world’s largest information technology company in terms of revenue since 2009. While it makes everything from electronic components to finished consumer electronics, last year it also proposed to form a constellation of 4600 satellites orbiting Earth at 1,400 kilometres altitude that could bring 200 gigabytes per month of internet data for everyone in the world.
So it is no surprise that since 2009, the company has maintained its third place in the compact camera segment. Considering huge network it has built the company is likely to become even more popular in the digital camera market.
Samsung offers cameras in a variety of ranges with unique features, such as ceaseless social media integration, geo-tagging and GPS facilities. It is the first company to offer a digital camera based on Android operating system.
Latest and popular models offered include: Samsung NX1, Samsung NX30, Samsung NX300, WB100F, WB35F, and the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2.
In a WORD: Samsung has something to offer for everyone, and offers premium quality compact cameras, which are very easy to use and provide high quality images.
#8 Kodak – Share moments. Share life.
Browse all Kodak Cameras at Amazon
Kodak made its first digital camera way back in 1975, but then out of fear of cannibalizing their own photographic film business, they dropped the product and it never saw the light of day. The company is almost synonymic film photography it was one of the pioneers of still photography and is the precursor to most cameras even today. The company at a time was so popular that “Kodak moment” meant that a photograph was being taken.
It started to struggle financially in the late 1990s; this was a result of the combination of two factors: a constant decline in sales of photographic film and the firm’s slowness in transitioning from film to digital photography. The result was despite having invented the core technology used in all of the current digital cameras available in the market, Kodak had to file for bankruptcy protection in early 2012.
In February 2012, the company announced that it would stop producing digital cameras, pocket video cameras and digital picture frames. It announced that the firm wants to focus only on the corporate digital imaging.
Still the brand does have a great line up of products.
Kodak cameras still available are: Kodak Pixpro AZ521, Kodak Pixpro AZ251, Kodak Easyshare Z990 MAX and the Kodak Easyshare Z5120.
In a WORD: Though the company is phasing out, its products are still of superior quality and can help you capture the perfect moment.
#7 PenTax – For your precious moments
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Pentax is the brand name used by Ricoh Imaging Company for its business arm dealing with cameras, sport optics, and CCTV optics. It is one of the lesser known brands of today, but this doesn’t diminish their pioneering contribution to modern photography.
It is best known for its product ‘Asahiflex’ which was sold all over the world as ‘Asahi Pentax’; it was a single lens reflex camera and was released in 1957. It was merged with Hoya Corporation to form ‘Hoya Pentax HD Corporation’ in 2007; the primary goal of this merger was to strengthen its medical-related business by taking advantage of Pentax’s technologies and expertise.
Then in 2011, Hoya corp. sold Pentax’s camera business to copier and printer maker Ricoh to form the Pentax Ricoh Imaging Company, which was renamed to Ricoh Imaging Company Ltd. in 2013.
Popular models offered include: Pentax K-3 (having multiple variants), Pentax K-50, the Pentax Q7 and the Pentax LX. They are also planning to come up with a full-frame camera within a year.
In a WORD: Pentax offers high quality stuff for the minimum price possible; it tries to bridge the gap between lower end cameras which barely have any features and the high-end pricey DSLRs available in the market.
#6 Fujifilm – Value from Innovation
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Fujifilm or simply Fuji is one of the oldest film producing companies of the world, it was founded in 1934 and is the first Japanese multinational photography and imaging company.
It is one of the most trusted names in the camera market, Fujifilm grew parallel to Kodak but unlike Kodak, it successfully managed to integrate itself with evolving times and got into the digital market in the early 2000s.
Since then, it has innovated time and again to come up with offerings that challenge the best camera brands.
Models currently offered include:
- F series: Travel Long Zoom, Compact models with exceptional low-light performance and advanced features.
- J series: Easy to Use, Low cost, slim, compact series. It was introduced in 2008.
- S series & HS series: Bridge digital camera ultra-zoom series. It comes with CCD or CMOS sensor.
- T series: Compact models with powerful zoom.
- XP series: Tough, waterproof, shockproof, dustproof and freeze proof series. These were introduced in 2009.
- Z series: Slim, stylish and ultra-compact.
- Real 3D series: Stereoscopic cameras, these were introduced in 2009.
- X series: This is the interchangeable lens series. Models include: X20, X100S, X-E1, X-E2, X-M1, X-A1 and the X-T1.
In a WORD: The Company doesn’t compromise on quality and comes up with pretty innovative products. It is one of the oldest players in the market and is still going strong.
#5 Olympus – Your Vision Our Future
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Olympus introduced its first camera, the Semi-Olympus I, in 1936. Since then, this Japanese brand has proved to be one of the best producers of cameras. After that, in 1959 the first innovative camera series from Olympus, the Pen, was launched. The Pen system design team, led by Yoshihisa Maitani designed the half-frame format, allowing 72 pictures of 18 × 24mm format on a standard 36 exposure roll of film, this made the Pen cameras compact and significantly less bulkier than their counterparts at the time.
Later the same team created the OM system, a full-frame professional 35mm SLR system and with its introduction the company kick started a new trend of compact cameras and lenses, which are much smaller and easier to carry.
Olympus’s non SLR cameras which come with an interchangeable lens option are their most popular product class, this popularity is due the fact that they make lighter cameras which are way easier to use and simpler to navigate around with when compared to its competitors. Olympus has designed the Four-Thirds system which is now a standard for single lens digital reflex cameras all over the world.
Latest models on offer: Olympus OM-D E-M5 (flagship DSLR), Olympus Air A01, Olympus Tough TG-4, Olympus Stylus 1s, Olympus Stylus SH2 etc.
Pipeline product: Olympus Stylus Tough TG-870
In a WORD: Without compromising on quality the company produces cameras that take such stunning images that they can challenge any of the best and most complex of professional cameras.
#4 Panasonic – A Better Life, A Better World
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Panasonic Corporation which was formerly known as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational electronics corporation. It is headquartered in Kadoma, Osaka, Japan. Lumix is Panasonic’s brand of digital cameras, these include everything ranging from pocket point-and-shoot models to digital SLRs.
Lumix was first released in 2001, with compact digital cameras DMC-LC5 and DMC-F7 which were equipped with Leica lenses.
Available Models include:
- DMC-FX: ultra-compact high-end, relatively typical cameras.
- DMC-FZx (excluding DMC-FZx0 models): compact ultra-zoom higher-end cameras.
- DMC-FZxx: bridge digital cameras, resemble digital SLRs in many ways, but have a non-interchangeable, non-extending zoom lens.
- DMC-G: Micro Four Thirds System line.
- DMC-L: DSLR line. It uses the Four Thirds System lens mount and, along with the Olympus E-330, was one of the first DSLRs capable of displaying live image view on the LCD screen.
- DMC-LS: cheapest line, budget plastic compact cameras powered by two AA batteries.
- DMC-LX: compact high-end camera line, with full manual exposure and focus controls, and RAW recording, unusual in compact cameras.
- DMC-LZ: budget, but more advanced and with more user control than many other digital compact cameras. The most notable feature is a 5x (37–222 mm) optical zoom range.
- DMC-SZ: mid-level compact superzoom cameras. SZ-series stands for “style zoom”.
- DMC-TS / DMC-FT: waterproof, shockproof, and dustproof point and shoot cameras.
- DMC-TZ: compact, point and shoot 20x zoom cameras with image stabilization.
In a WORD: Panasonic has always believed in constant innovation which led it to make cameras which have the best user experience, in addition to that they are stylish, compact and produce superior quality images.
#3 Sony – The One and Only
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Sony Corporation which is commonly referred to just as Sony, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate with its headquarters established in Kōnan Minato, Tokyo, Japan. It is the world’s third largest manufacturer of the cameras.
It released its first Cyber-shot in 1996 when digital cameras were a relative novelty. It entered the digital single-lens reflex camera market in 2006 by acquiring the camera business of Konica Minolta.
It offers a wide range of digital cameras. Point-and-shoot models adopt the Cyber-shot name, while digital single-lens reflex models are branded using Alpha.
Sony cameras also provide features. The current line-up consists of the following camera series:
Cyber-shot series include:
- R and RX series – large-sensor compact cameras
- DSC-RX100/DSC-RX100 II – pocket able camera with the largest 1″ sensor
- DSC-RX10 — zoom lens 1″ 24-200mm equivalent 35mm bridge camera
- DSC-RX1/DSC-RX1R – the world’s smallest full-frame camera
- T Series – rugged, slim line cameras with touchscreens
- H series and HX series – bridge cameras with long super zoom lenses
- W series – entry-level cameras
α -Series include:
- Sony α900 with Sony SAL-135F18Z
- Sony α55 with SAL-1680Z
- Sony α58 with SAL-1855-2
- Sony α77 (flagship APS-C camera)
In a WORD: Cameras are easy to use, and of the highest quality. The company has time and again showed great innovation and has introduced new features like: 3-D stills, tru-black, geo-tagging and sweep panorama in their cameras.
#2 Nikon – If the picture matters, the camera matters
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Nikon Corporation is a Japanese multinational corporation, with its headquarters established in Tokyo, Japan. The company specializes in optics and imaging products. The company was launched in 1917 by Nippon Kogaku Kogyo Kabushikigaisha, and is credited with having manufactured the first SLR cameras in the world. It was also involved in the creation of some of the first DSLRs (Nikon NASA F4) for NASA, which was then used in the Space Shuttle, in 1991.
At first, during the 1990s, Nikon made cameras in collaboration with Kodak to produce DSLR cameras based on existing Nikon film-camera bodies; but then in 1999, it released the Nikon D1 SLR under its own name. It used an APS-C-size light sensor only 2/3 the size of a 35 mm film frame and was later on called a “DX sensor”.
Popular models include: Coolpix series for non-professionals and for the professionals – the Nikon P7100, Nikon D7000, Nikon D5100 and Nikon D4.
Pipeline product: Nikon D500
In a WORD: Professionals first choice, these cameras give you maximum control, so if you know what you are doing, then Nikon offers the classiest cameras in the market.
#1 Canon – Delighting You Always
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Canon Inc. is a Japanese multinational corporation, which was founded in 1937 and has its headquarters in Ōta, Tokyo, Japan.
In 1992, Canon launched the EOS 5, the first-ever camera with eye-controlled Auto-Focus, and its first digital camera, the Power-Shot 600.
Then in 1995, it released the first SLR lens which provided internal image stabilization with EOS-1N RS, which was at the time the world’s fastest AF SLR camera with a continuous shooting speed of up to 10 frame/s. Based on the EOS-1N, the EOS-1N RS was released in 1996, it had a fixed, semi-transparent pellicle mirror with a hard coat.
Then the very next year, it introduced a pocket-sized digital camera with the Advanced Photo System technology, the series was named ELPH in America and IXUS in Europe.
After which canon never saw back and continuously innovated and improved its products to become the most sold digital camera brand in the world.
Most Popular models: The Canon PowerShot G12, and Canon PowerShot S100 in the compact section, and Canon EOS 7D in the DSLR section.
Pipeline products: PowerShot SX540 HS, PowerShot SX420 IS, PowerShot ELPH 360 HS, PowerShot ELPH 190 IS, and PowerShot ELPH 180.
In a WORD: This is the go-to brand for folks looking to start photography and individuals who have been doing this for a while know that canon is the absolute best there is.
So what did you think of the list?
Do you think the professional’s choice Nikon is better than Canon, or maybe GoPro should be in the top half of the list?
Feel free to use the comment section below to tell us what you think the top 10 digital camera brands should be.