Recently we made a video detailing the worst things that each of the major camera manufacturers was guilty of. It could have been a lack of foresight or a technological setback. It could have been a failure to update cameras, or a decision to cut off third-party manufacturers.
The Best Thing About Every Camera Brand: Nikon
Nikon has had a great year with the release of the extremely popular Nikon Z8. Nikon has also stepped up its technology game in a big way. Its cameras have become powerful hybrid photo and video tools, with much-improved autofocus and excellent ergonomics. However, where Nikon really excels is in the development of some powerful and versatile telephoto lenses.
With the release of professional telephoto lenses such as the 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S, or the 600mm f/4 TC VR S Nikon shows how serious it is to make expensive and bright optics. But it also makes some versatile and more affordable lenses like the 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 VR S and 180-600 f/5.6-6.3 VR S that open up the world of wildlife photography to a wider audience.
Nikon has not only created some amazing telephoto lenses but also cameras like the Z8 and Z9 to go with them, which is why we think Nikon should be applauded for its efforts.
The Best Thing About Every Camera Brand: OM SYSTEM
We’ve praised OM System for how rugged and portable the gear is many times over. OM cameras are ideal for travel and adventure pursuits, and not only do they have an extensive line of lenses and accessories but they also allow the user to leave the tripods and filters at home.
That is all thanks to what OM System does best. Computational photographic techniques. Features like Live ND mean that long exposure shots of flowing waterfalls don’t require ND filters. Nor do they even require a tripod thanks to class-leading IBIS systems and the magic of compiling multiple frames together into one. Similarly, Hand-Held High-Res mode can boost the effective megapixel count of some of its cameras up to 50. At the same time, a tripod is not necessary and objects moving in the frame can be corrected for during the compiling process.
Add on top of that Starry Sky AF and Live Bulb mode and you have a camera system that does so much for you without needing to drag around extra tools to do it.
The Best Thing About Every Camera Brand: Sony
When people think of Sony mirrorless cameras, they think about world-class autofocusing performance and state-of-the-art sensors. But the biggest advantage Sony has is its extensive line of lenses.
Not only has Sony updated its professional line of G-Master lenses, which across the board are optically stunning. But Sony also has the foresight to allow everyone to create lenses for the Sony E-Mount. This means that a Sony user has lens options for every kind of photography from macro to astro, and everything in between. Whatever your budget or need, there is a lens that works and regardless of your choice, the body behind the lens is a Sony. For this reason, the best thing Sony has going for it is a full ecosystem of lenses onto itself.
The Best Thing About Every Camera Brand: Panasonic
You might be thinking that I’m gonna say video performance is the best thing Panasonic has going for it. A wise choice, because Panasonic is dominating the video mirrorless market with powerful cameras that provide advanced exposure tools, and tons of options when it comes to resolution and frame rates.
However, where Panasonic really shines lately is its commitment to its customers. With extensive and useful firmware updates released in some cases years after the camera was sold, Panasonic shows that it will empower its users with powerful tools, without having to constantly upgrade cameras. Whenever Panasonic updates technology in its latest cameras it’s a safe bet that the benefits will trickle down to the older products too. Good on you Panasonic.
The Best Thing About Every Camera Brand: Leica
Leica knows how to market and leverage its brand. There is no apologizing for how expensive its cameras are or how niche they have become. Leica knows that its users want a particular experience and it provides that perfectly. Leica is also a huge proponent of photography in general, regardless of which camera brand was used. Leica celebrates its extensive heritage at the same time as it elevates the photographic community as a whole.
But the best thing about Leica cameras is that they are simply and unabashedly fun to use. The shooting experience of having as little as possible between you and the image frees up the mind to be more creative. Photography becomes instinctual and there develops a stronger and more direct connection between what the photographer envisions and what is captured by the camera. In many cases, it is a feeling that is worth every penny.
The Best Thing About Every Camera Brand: Fujifilm
Fujifilm has a lot to be proud of. The brand is wildly popular for its use of vintage styling but there is a ton of substance too. Fujifilm has high-res APS-C sensors that rival some full-frame cameras. Cameras like the XH-2S are the ultimate hybrid packages with incredibly capable video to go along with fast-stacked CMOS sensors.
All of that technology gets married to an extensive and varied line of cameras. This is where the Fujifilm advantage lies. If you want a slim pocket camera Fujifilm makes it. Whether you favor rangefinders, or DSLR styling, or a retro camera experience Fujifilm has you covered. Want to do commercial photography in the studio or get the best medium format image quality to create stunning landscapes? You can do everything with a Fujifilm camera.
The Best Thing About Every Camera Brand: Hasselblad
We failed to cover Hasselblad in our last video so very quickly let’s talk about what they do poorly. It’s autofocus. Ok but what do they really well? Excellent image quality, beautiful touchscreen interfaces, and most importantly, leaf-shutter lenses.
Very few camera companies still make decent leaf-shutter lenses which allow for the use of conventional flash systems at full power to out-compete bright light sources like the sun. Leaf-shutter lenses give faster shutter speeds than conventional lenses can which helps to cut down the ambient light in the background and make dramatic portraits. Equally at home in the studio or out in the field, Hasselblad cameras are ideal when tethered to a laptop as much as they are for on-location shoots.
The Best Thing About Every Camera Brand: Ricoh/Pentax
Pentax carries on its tradition of rugged bodies that offer innovative features and beautiful image quality. I love the menus and overall ergonomics, and the glass has always been excellent. Pentax offers many modern zoom lenses but also complements those with more classicly inspired primes like the FA-Limited series and the new 50mm f/1.4s.
But the best thing Pentax does is DSLRs. Pentax is committed to being the last maker of DSLRs and to corner the market and create a niche is very smart. While other manufacturers pull away from the SLR game, Pentax has a real opportunity to offer a unique shooting experience not unlike what Leica does. I for one hope they succeed for many years to come.
The Best Thing About Every Camera Brand: Canon
Canon is a company that has really stepped up to the plate recently. While it was once a company plagued with poorly performing sensors, and autofocus that needed improving, Canon has addressed nearly every issue it had. The autofocus performance is now shoulder-to-shoulder with the best out there. Innovative eye-tracking AF and near-perfect animal subject detection make the latest cameras extremely reliable focusers.
The dynamic range of the sensors is on par with its peers now, and Canon colors have always been ideal. But what I love most about Canon cameras is just using them. They have some of the best-designed bodies ever made. Canon has taken everything that makes a camera enjoyable to use over the many decades of its history and carried it through into its modern designs. Whenever there is an occasional misstep -like the much-maligned Mfn bar- Canon is quick to rectify it. More than any other brand by far, Canon is always lauded by reviewers as well-thought-out and logically designed products. Even if one chooses not to use a Canon, they almost always leave with nothing but respect for it.
The Best Thing About Every Camera Brand: Watch Our Video
I encourage you to watch the video above and get all the full details on what each company does best and why we chose what we did. While it’s easy -and entertaining- to criticize what everyone needs to do better, we also have to take a step back once in a while and really celebrate the good that is occurring in the camera industry. No matter which brand you prefer it’s safe to say that every manufacturer makes great products that also take great pictures.