Top 10 DSLR Camera Brands In The World

Thanks to cameras that can autofocus and hold thousands of photos on their internal memory card — perfect for both pros and entry-level photographers alike — digital photography is now more accessible than ever. But understanding your camera options before making a big purchase is still important. 

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Top 10 DSLR Camera Brands In The World

The basics of the DSLR camera.

Explore the pros and cons of shooting and editing photos with this popular type of digital camera.

What is a DSLR camera?

DSLR is a term that’s become synonymous with digital cameras, but a digital single-lens reflex camera (notable for allowing interchangeable lenses on the same camera body) is just one type of digital camera. Explore more about what makes DSLR cameras so popular and find out if they’re the right choice for you.

How a DSLR camera works.

When light enters the camera lens of a digital SLR camera, a photographer sees their subject in the optical viewfinder via a reflection of that light from a mirror inside the camera body. When the photo is taken, the mirror swings out of the way and the light goes through to the digital image sensor, where the photo is captured on an SD card. This is different from mirrorless cameras, where the light goes directly to the image sensor, and the photographer sees what they’re shooting via a rear LCD screen or an electronic viewfinder.

Types of DSLR image sensors.

While different DSLR cameras have different sensor sizes, these sensors are still large enough to capture enough megapixels to blow your smartphone camera image quality out of the water. The two primary sensor types are full-frame and APS-C. Full-frame camera sensors, which match the size of 35mm film, are the standard. APS-C sensors are slightly smaller, resulting in a lower focal length called “crop factor.” This smaller field of view can be compensated for with specific lens attachments, but it’s definitely a difference to keep in mind when researching your ideal APS-C or full-frame DSLR.

The advantage of interchangeable lenses.

DSLR cameras allow you to combine the camera body with lens attachments of your choice, whether that’s a fisheye or a zoom lens. “You’re able to get different types of lenses that serve different purposes and give you different looks,” photographer Ivy Chen explains. “DSLRs are way more versatile in that respect.”

Whether your goal is intimate portrait photography or shooting stunning landscapes, understanding the ideal focal length for each situation will help you select the best lens for going the DSLR route.

A few other DSLR advantages.

Low light: DSLR cameras are very effective for shooting in dim lighting, as the larger sensor can capture more light.

Autofocus: DSLRs have better autofocus features compared to point-and-shoot cameras, allowing you to focus and shoot faster to capture more high-quality images.

Battery life: DSLRs don’t require the digital screen to be on all the time, so they use very little power, extending battery life.

The disadvantage of DSLRs.

While digital cameras allow you to see your shot immediately after it’s taken, unlike film that you have to develop, what you see in the viewfinder still may not be exactly what’s exposed to the image sensor in a DSLR camera. That’s because DSLRs rely on the mirror for some of their focusing, something which photographer Derek Boyd points out can be problematic. You might not get a good look at exactly what your camera captured until you’re editing your shots.

With a mirrorless camera, you get what you see — the image you see is exactly what is exposed to the sensor. That allows you to fine-tune camera adjustments better in the moment. While you can still adjust in the moment with DSLR, there may end up being more issues to clean up in editing, due to the discrepancy between the viewfinder and what is exposed to the sensor. 

When it comes to editing, becoming accustomed to what your DSLR does can come with a learning curve. “Preparing a raw file before retouching or color editing took some adjustment when I moved to digital,” says DSLR photographer Stephen Klise. “All the light and color reacted differently from what I learned — you get a lot of pronounced reds and that was very new for me.”

With Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, there are many ways to edit and enhance your photos, as well as photo filters to help with your camera’s unique color correction issues.

Adjust light and color: See how to fine-tune white balance, color saturation, and make other tweaks to your photos using Lightroom’s Light panel.

Remove photo tints: You can remove a color cast on a photo, made by the lighting conditions of your shot, in a few quick steps with Lightroom.

Make colors pop: Use the Vibrance and Saturation sliders to increase color intensity in your photos.

Mirrorless or DSLR?

DSLRs are durable, versatile in their ability to pair with numerous lenses and attachments, have great battery life, and give you a higher shooting speed with better autofocusing — these are the reasons photographers love this type of camera. But there is a difference between what you see in the viewfinder and what is in the exposure, an issue you won’t get with mirrorless cameras.

Both styles typically offer continuous shooting (or burst mode) as well as image stabilization settings, but mirrorless cameras really shine over DSLR when it comes to video recording. To simplify, the mirror in a DSLR makes focusing video more difficult than with a mirrorless camera, which can better capture full HD video. Mirrorless cameras are also lighter and more compact, as the camera body needs space for only a sensor, instead of a whole mirror system. Gain some insight on mirrorless cameras from music photographer Chad Wadsworth, an early adopter of the camera type.

The best DSLR or camera for you will depend on the subject you intend to shoot and the situation you intend to shoot in. Different DSLR models and lenses offer different benefits, but armed with this knowledge, the search for the right camera for you should be an easier one.

Best Camera Brands Today – Top 10 Camera Manufacturers

Are you struggling to determine the best camera brands that exist today? Do you find yourself overwhelmed by the number of camera brands on the market, and you’re just not sure where to turn?

You’ve come to the right place.

Because this article is going to give you an overview of all the best camera manufacturers out there. You’ll discover who they are and what they offer.

First, I’ll talk about the biggest and most relevant players in today’s camera market: Canon, Nikon, and Sony. For many years, Canon and Nikon have dominated the digital photography space–but in recent years, Sony has become the main competitor (particularly in the mirrorless market).

Next, I’ll discuss smaller brands, such as Fujifilm (which creates APS-C cameras and recently entered the medium-format market), Panasonic (which uses its own Micro Four Thirds system to create quality cameras), and Olympus (which designed the original Four Thirds system, and working on an impressive mirrorless lineup).

By the time you’ve finished this article, you’ll know all about the major camera brands–and you’ll come away knowing the best camera brand for your photography.

Best Camera Brands Today

As I explained above, this article reviews the biggest camera brands out there – and explains their place in today’s digital camera world.

The first brands on this list are the most relevant to photography today

And while the remaining brands are still important, they don’t come close to competing with the big players in the camera space.

Now let’s take a look at the biggest camera company out there:

1. Canon

The Canon brand is the current leader in the camera space, though Canon is most known for its high-quality DSLRs and DSLR lens lineup.

The Canon company was founded in 1937, and is responsible for a number of milestones across the 20th century: Canon was the first company to include a micro-computer in a camera, it was the first company to produce a camera with eye-controlled AF, and it was the first company to produce an image-stabilized lens available to the masses.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV – Canon’s flagship full frame camera

Even as the market has shrunk, Canon has maintained the largest product line in the camera industry. The company still produces its own (full-frame and APS-C) sensors, as well as cameras, lenses, and accessories.

Today, Canon offers several lines of hobbyist and professional DSLRs, including the vaunted 1D X series, the 5D series, and the Rebel series. New iterations of Canon cameras include Canon’s Dual-Pixel autofocus, which allows for ultra-fast focusing in Live View (something that other camera brands still struggle with). Canon also offers high-quality point-and-shoot cameras, such as the Canon Power shot series.


Canon 90D – Canon’s top crop sensor camera

For many years, Nikon has been Canon’s main competitor – but the rise of Sony has added another contender for the top spot in the imaging business. While Canon has dominated Sony in the DSLR space, Sony has been a mirrorless powerhouse; this is an area where Canon is currently lagging, but making great strides in an effort to become competitive.

Over the next few years, expect to see Canon shift its focus more heavily to its full-frame mirrorless lineup.

2. Nikon

For many years, Nikon has been Canon’s main competitor, with the two imaging companies battling it out in the consumer and professional camera field. While Canon has consistently claimed the top spot, the Nikon Corporation is actually older–it was founded in 1917 by three big manufacturers of optics, and quickly rose to become a leading optics business.


Nikon D850 – Nikon’s flagship full frame camera

Nikon’s current product lineup includes some of the best DSLRs available, such as the Nikon D850 and the Nikon D5 (soon to be followed by the D6), as well as three powerful mirrorless options (the Z6 and Z7 for full-frame users, and the Z50 as an APS-C snapper). Nikon also owns the Coolpix lineup of point-and-shoot cameras.

In some areas, Nikon is the most vaunted imagining company out there, frequently chosen by professionals due to its incredible image quality and dynamic range capabilities. But Nikon has recently fallen behind Sony in several key areas, including overall camera sales, and is scrambling to catch up in the mirrorless market. Plus, Nikon struggles to compete with Canon and Sony’s phase-detection focusing technology – which holds back Nikon DSLRs when working in Live View.


Nikon D500 – Nikon’s top-rated APS-C camera

Like Canon, Nikon has lagged in terms of mirrorless adoption, and is currently feeling the effects of this shift; while the Nikon Z6 and Z7 were hailed as an impressive entry into the full-frame mirrorless kingdom, the company has a long way to go before it can go toe-to-toe with the likes of the Sony A7 series.

3. Sony

While Sony was founded back in 1946, the company only produced its first digital camera in 1988. And it wasn’t until Sony acquired Konica Minolta’s camera division in 2006 that Sony’s camera business really took off, putting Sony in a position to compete with the other leading camera makersnd allowing the corporate giant to dominate the mirrorless industry.


Sony a7 III – Sony’s top selling full frame camera

Today, Sony is the largest manufacturer of digital sensors in the world – and even supplies some of its main competitors with camera sensors, including Nikon, Fujifilm, and Panasonic. Not to mention that Sony dominates the smartphone camera sensor market, producing around 70% of the world’s smartphone sensors.

Related: Sony a6100 vs a6400: Key Differences and Similarities

This dominance in sensor technology gives Sony a key advantage when it comes to producing their own APS-C and full-frame cameras: Sony leverages this expertise to build cameras with incredible image quality and the most accurate focusing system available. Plus, Sony’s huge market cap allows the company to innovate with incredible speed, to produce cameras such as the Sony a7R IV, the a6600, and the a9 Mark II.  


Sony a6600 – Sony’s top rated APS-C camera

Sony’s only weakness, if you could call it that, is its ergonomics – the small camera bodies, combined with small grips just don’t offer the ease of use that, say, Canon’s DSLR cameras offer.

4. Fujifilm

Fujifilm is a company known for its APS-C mirrorless cameras, and most recently, its medium-format cameras. At the time of writing, Fujifilm ranks as the fourth-largest player in the digital camera industry.

Fujifilm has a long history in the camera market, going all the way back to 1934 – and it spent a number of years competing with dominant force in the camera industry at the time, Eastman Kodak.


Fujifilm XT3 – arguably the best APS-C camera today

While Canon, Nikon, and Sony focus heavily on technical prowess and cutthroat profitability, Fujifilm is known for its unusual products and unique method of doing business. Fujifilm cares deeply about camera aesthetics, creating carefully-designed retro-style cameras that feature mechanical dials and an old-timey film look (though the cameras themselves pack high-quality digital sensors).

Related: Switching from Sony to Fujifilm

Fujifilm also invests heavily in color science in order to mimic the look of Fuji classic films, and the company regularly releases firmware updates years after a camera has been released, something unusual in today’s innovation-focused world.


Fujifilm XT30 – best entry-level APS-C camera today

These days, Fujifilm is most known for its APS-C mirrorless cameras, including the X-T3, a very affordable but high-quality crop-sensor body, as well as its medium format cameras, including the 100 megapixel GFX 100.

5. Olympus

The Olympus camera business goes all the way back to 1936 and has successfully navigated the waves of digital and mirrorless explosions to offer high-quality mirrorless and DSLRs to today’s consumers.

Olympus designed (with Kodak) its own camera system, designed specifically for DSLRs: the Four Thirds System. This was then developed by Olympus and Panasonic into the Micro Four Thirds system, which is used by a number of companies (Olympus and Panasonic among them).


Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

The Four Thirds System utilizes crop-sensor technology to create high-quality digital images, and with Olympus’s camera bodies has come effective in-body image stabilization and impressive weather-sealing. While Olympus is hardly at the top of the digital camera pack, it has remained a solid contender in the industry thus far.

6. Panasonic

Panasonic began as an electrics company back in 1918 but went on to become the producer of Lumix digital cameras, including the lauded Panasonic Lumix S1R and Panasonic Lumix S1 full-frame mirrorless cameras. Panasonic teamed up with Leica to create full-frame mirrorless lenses, resulting in Lumix Leica lenses.

Despite its recent forays into full-frame mirrorless territory, Panasonic invests much of its business in Micro Four Thirds cameras, having developed the Micro Four Thirds System with Olympus. This is reflected in lens compatibility, as you can use Olympus lenses on Panasonic cameras.


Panasonic LUMIX GH5 – top choice for video recording

Note that Panasonic also specializes in video recording, and is a leading brand among videographers.

7. Pentax

These days, it’s tough to find a camera brand that isn’t investing heavily in mirrorless tech–unless you look at Pentax, that is.

While Canon and Nikon struggle to catch up to Sony’s mirrorless lineups, Pentax stubbornly remains a producer of full-frame and medium-format DSLRs, including the Pentax K-1 and the Pentax 645 series.

Pentax was created in November 1919, though the company has experienced some turbulent changes in recent years. In 2006, Pentax merged with Hoya. Then in 2011, the Pentax imaging business was purchased by Ricoh, which is now pushing its current focus on DSLRs.


Pentax K-1 Mark II – Pentax top rated camera

While Pentax is famous for its impressively durable DSLRs, it remains to be seen whether the company’s DSLR-focused approach will survive the mirrorless onslaught.

8. Leica

Leica was founded in 1869 and was a big player in the film game–though the digital turn has left Leica treading water in recent years.

These days, Leica focuses on its L-mount mirrorless cameras, including APS-C and full-frame camera bodies. And in 2018, Leica, Sigma, and Panasonic created a series of L-mount lenses that can be used on both Leica and Panasonic camera bodies.

While Leica offers beautiful aesthetics and amazing design, cameras and lenses are overpriced and underdeveloped; in other words, the company has struggled to stay fresh in an increasingly tech-focused world.


Leica Q – $5K APS-C camera

9. Hasselblad

Hasselblad is an imagining company with a rich history, going all the way back to 1841. Hasselblad produces high-end imagining equipment, focuses almost entirely on medium-format cameras (which were used to capture images by Apollo program astronauts).

In 2020, Hasselblad offers a number of medium-format cameras, including the X1D-50c, which was hailed as the first mirrorless medium-format digital camera ever made. Cameras like these consistently cost over $6000, making Hasselblad cameras a tool of professionals alone.

10. Kodak

Mention film photography and people immediately think ‘Kodak,’ – for good reason. Eastman Kodak is the company that invented color film photography and dominated the film photography business for much of the 20th century.

Though Kodak was the company to invent digital photography, it failed to account for the digital explosion. This led to financial insolvency in the 2000s, at which point the company declared bankruptcy and sold off a slew of its patents. While Kodak still exists as a company, it no longer produces camera equipment.

So while you can find used Kodak equipment at camera shops and on eBay, any new camera gear bearing the Kodak label is produced by none-Kodak manufacturers who license the Kodak name.

Best Camera Manufacturers: Conclusion

Now that you’ve finished this article, you should be familiar with the top ten camera brands out there today–and you should have a sense of the perfect camera brand for your needs.

Remember that Nikon, Canon, and Sony are the ‘big three’ among the digital camera companies, while Fujifilm, Olympus, and Panasonic are more specialized brands. Pentax, Leica, Hasselblad, are struggling to remain relevant unless you’re in the market for a medium-format camera (Hasselblad), and Kodak is now completely obsolete.

So pick a camera brand and get shooting!

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By Viktor Elizarov

I am a travel photographer and educator from Montreal, Canada, and a founder of Photo Traces. I travel around the world and share my experiences here. Feel free to check my Travel Portfolio and download Free Lightroom Presets. Load Comments

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