Find the perfect photographic equipment: Overview of the most popular camera brands

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Photographing is much more than just a push of a button and a crazy smartphone self-sufficiency.

Behind it lies a true art that requires both creativity and technical understanding.

Before you can go on a motive hunt, you should at least familiarize yourself with the basics of photography. Although you can acquire some knowledge by experimenting, sooner or later it may be advisable to learn tips and tricks from an experienced photography teacher in a photo course.

So that you do not produce failed pictures despite diligent participation in courses, you should not start with any arbitrary camera, which falls straight into your hands, but – against the current trend – acquire a high-quality camera.

According to a study by CIPA (Camera & Imaging Products Association), five times fewer cameras are purchased today than in 2010, while sales of smartphones have quintupled at the same time!

Maybe you’re wondering if it makes sense to invest in an expensive camera at all, even though everyone has a photo-compatible mobile phone in their pocket? What is really important when buying a camera?

There are dozens of camera manufacturers – and they all praise their products! No wonder it can be a headache to find the right camera for beginners.

To make it easier for you to make the right choice, we have compiled the most important camera manufacturers in this article.

Which criteria should be considered when buying a camera?

Before you go bargain hunting and get lost in the jungle of product descriptions, you should at least be aware of what kind of camera is most suitable for your photo project.

Basically, the first question every photo novice asks is: Analog or digital?

Due to the preference of most photographers for modern technology, we have mainly dealt with digital cameras in this article, but for the sake of completeness we have dealt with their analogue predecessors with photo film in the last section.

Depending on the structure, a distinction is made between these types of digital cameras, which we will explain in more detail in the following:

Compact cameras:

digital compact cameras
digital bridge cameras

System cameras:

SLR cameras: with optical viewfinder
Hybrid cameras: a mirrorless system with electronic viewfinder

The digital compact camera

As the name suggests, these cameras are small, handy and ideal as constant companions on the road.

The compact camera makes photography child’s play. The lens is an integral part of the camera, so no tedious changing is necessary. Only a few settings have to be made, because many things are fully automatic.

This makes the compact camera particularly popular as a holiday camera, for beginners and for occasional snapshots – even though it is increasingly being replaced by the smartphone camera.

The price range extends from for the cheapest models to over for high-quality professional compact cameras from brands such as Sony. The Panasonic Lumix – an absolute bestseller among digital cameras – is right in the middle of it all.

These cameras are particularly suitable for outdoor photos such as landscapes. The best image quality is achieved with natural light.

However, you should keep in mind that compact cameras quickly reach their limits in low light due to their small sensor. You can counteract this problem by exposing and stabilizing the camera for longer periods of time – but this can result in unattractive image noise.

This is even more noticeable with smartphone cameras, which amaze with their performance during the day, but literally leave you in the dark even in twilight.

The digital bridge camera

Similar to the compact camera, the lens is fixed and cannot be replaced.

The difference between these two camera types lies in the size: in contrast to the tiny compact camera, the bridge camera may seem quite bulky, but offers a much stronger zoom. Most models are equipped with an optical viewfinder.

Bridge cameras are perfect for beginners. Its an excellent compromise between compact and SLR camera.

However, since some bridge models require you to dig quite deep into your pocket, it makes sense to switch to an inexpensive SLR camera, which allows more precise adjustment of white balance and aperture and thus better image quality.

Bridge cameras are already available

The digital SLR camera

As a so-called system camera, this type of camera consists of a housing and a compatible, removable lens.

In order to allow easy replacement of the individual components, all well-known camera brands have created so-called camera systems such as Nikon F or Canon EOS M with fully compatible components. When buying your equipment, be sure to only select accessories such as lenses within the same camera system.

The appeal of a SLR camera lies in its ability to use the right lens for every occasion.

These cameras also feature a large APS sensor, which is essential for high image quality.

If you buy such a jewel, you will be able to enjoy razor-sharp shots, provided you take a photo course to master the basics. For example, you should make sure that the tilting of the mirror can easily shake your photo. This can be remedied by a so-called mirror lock up.

While the cheaper SLR housings cost around 400, some professional models cost four figures.

To avoid bitter disappointments, don’t put all your money into the case but use only the cheapest lens. On the contrary, a good quality lens is even more important than the camera itself.

But don’t panic: A look at the classified ads can be worthwhile to get a camera for beginners at a much lower price!

The Hybrid Camera

To clear up all misunderstandings: this camera does not work with gasoline or electric drive.

The term “hybrid” refers to a compact camera with an interchangeable lens. This is also a system camera described above. It combines the advantages of the SLR camera with those of the compact camera:

The Hybrid Camera

To clear up all misunderstandings: this camera does not work with gasoline or electric drive.

The term “hybrid” refers to a compact camera with an interchangeable lens. This is also a system camera described above. It combines the advantages of the SLR camera with those of the compact camera:

Digital cameras: Which brand is right for you?

Photo cameras are as different as the people who use them. The question of which camera is the best cannot therefore be answered in general terms.

The best camera for what?

The search for the perfect camera for your photo workshop raises a thousand questions:

Do you dream of the perfect holiday photo as a souvenir? Would you like to make Selfies or rather immortalize your fellow human beings? Do you pose your model for a professional portrait or do you dare to take sports photography, where you want to catch the movement exactly to the tenth of a second? Or isn’t your smart subject a human being you can ask to start all over again if the snapshot isn’t successful, but a shy wild animal? Possibly in twilight or far away?

There are innumerable photo motives, which wait only to be set by you in scene. Under ideal lighting conditions this may be relatively easy.

But if you’re not in the mood for “boringly beautiful” postcard photos, you can venture into new challenges that demand even more technical understanding.

The choice of lens is decisive for the purchase of your camera. Depending on whether you are photographing from close up or from a distance, you will need a different camera lens. With a special macro lens, you can not only create frighteningly large images of ladybirds, but also create instable food photography. For landscapes, on the other hand, wide-angle lenses are more suitable. And for perfect night shots, you need not only a lens that captures a particularly large amount of light, but also a sensor in the appropriate format.

If you’re looking for a versatile camera for simple purposes, a compact camera like Panasonic’s Lumix is a good choice. Many settings can be made, making the camera suitable for both landscape and macro photography. It’s also possible to take longer exposures in low light conditions – provided you’re using a tripod.

However, as soon as you want to specialize in one or more areas and achieve a particularly high image quality, we advise you to use a system camera and the appropriate lenses.

In order to get an exact idea of what the individual cameras and brands are capable of, it is worth taking a look at the Internet. For example, in the online photo community Flickr you can not only get ideas for great motifs but also browse through countless snapshots sorted by camera model.

Why no-name models can’t compete with brand cameras

Granted: Photography is not the cheapest hobby. While the high prices of the cameras discourage many a beginner, others can be tempted to buy a cheap camera, according to the motto “It doesn’t have to be Nikon on it to be good for snapshots”.

But be careful! Saving at the wrong end is not worth it!

Especially those who are interested in photography will be disappointed by the limited abilities of a no-name camera.

As you know, taking pictures is only really fun when you can try out the settings to your heart’s content in order to achieve the desired effect in every situation. An “intelligent” fully automatic mode can’t keep up with a high-quality camera that uses a stronger zoom, can manually adjust the aperture and the ISO value depending on the amount of light and can play with the depth of field.

The number of megapixels with which even manufacturers of cameras in the lower price range advertise should not be the only purchase criterion. In most cases, this is where the sensor size is saved, while the image quality suffers from the excessive density of the pixels. A camera with a large, high-quality sensor, on the other hand, has its price.

Also the reliability of cheap cameras often leaves something to be desired! Manufacturer warranty? No way! Compatible accessories you will search in vain…

Therefore our conclusion: In order to learn to photograph correctly, you should trust rather you on a well-known mark. Because if you buy too cheap, you buy twice!

What distinguishes a good camera brand?

Maybe you’ve heard of professional photographers who only swear by Canon or Nikon.

Both manufacturers have equipped generations of photographers with high-quality cameras and lenses. A look at their sales shows the confidence of the buyers. But there are many other major camera brands that also promise breathtakingly beautiful photos.

What distinguishes all these manufacturers? A long tradition, technical innovations and continuous improvement. Thanks to their many years of experience, they are able to offer cameras that are precisely tailored to the needs of professionals and amateur photographers.

They guarantee that all articles of a camera system are compatible with each other and can be combined as desired.

In addition, a good camera manufacturer is distinguished by its wide range of accessories (e.g. lenses, camera bags and backpacks, external flash units, tripods, spare batteries, remote controls).

We recommend that you seek expert advice from a salesperson. And if you have a problem, you can rely on our customer service and manufacturer’s warranty. So you are always on the safe side.

Sony: the giant among camera manufacturers

As we all know, this multinational electronics manufacturer from Tokyo has made a name for itself in the consumer electronics sector. Its most important products include game consoles, televisions, mobile phones, laptops and music players as well as digital cameras.

The most popular camera series from Sony are:

the Mavica photo camera from the 80s, which magnetically stored the images on a floppy disc
Compact camera: Cyber-shot and RX
Alpha reflex and hybrid cameras

The company has made a name for itself particularly with its sensors, the quality of which is also trusted by other leading manufacturers. For example, numerous camera models from Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, Olympus and Konica Minolta also feature the coveted Sony sensors.

Fujifilm: the specialist for photography

Founded in 1934 and named after its location at the foot of Japan’s highest mountain, the company is much more versatile than Sony because it also manufactures X-ray equipment and other medical devices.

In order to maintain its position at the forefront of technology and guarantee a high level of quality, Fujifilm invests 7% of its world sales in research and development each year.

The Japanese technology group, which was the leading supplier of photographic films in the days of analogue photography, saved and reborn the instant camera, which had completely disappeared from the scene in the 2000s but celebrated its comeback with Fujifilm’s instant films and printers.

Since then, the manufacturer has proven how important the fun factor is. The “FinePix” camera series Thanks to Fujifilm, photography becomes a real pleasure.

With the Finepix REAL 3D W1, which has been sold since 2009, the company has created the first digital 3D camera that can produce photos with a special depth effect through its double lens and display them on a special display.

Also part of this series is the colourful XP130 outdoor camera, which can take pictures even under water and has been sold more than 5 million times worldwide.

The Fujifilm product range extends from compact cameras with fixed lenses to cameras with interchangeable lenses:

-X 100 F: extended hybrid viewfinder, fast selection of focus areas (manual focus)
– XF 10: 280 gram lightweight compact housing with 24M APS-C viewfinder and touch screen display
-FinePix XP 120: 5x optical zoom with 28 mm wide-angle, BSI CMOS sensor with 16.4 megapixel resolution, 3-inch LCD display with 920,000 pixels
-GFX 50 S: CMOS sensor in medium format, removable external viewfinder with 3.69 million pixels, LCD touchscreen display with 2.36 megapixel resolution
-X T 100: electronic viewfinder, LCD display, 24M APS-C sensor, continuous shooting function in 4K mode

For high-quality travel and souvenir photos, the compact cameras for photography beginners are undoubtedly one of the best solutions.

Canon: Photography in all its versatility

As you can see, almost all well-known camera manufacturers come from Japan. Canon is no exception.

But the brand didn’t always sound so international: the first prototypes, which saw the light of day in the 1930s and were very similar to the Leica 35 mm camera described below, were marketed under the name Kwanon.

The renaming to Canon was undoubtedly a success. Nowadays Canon is not only the favourite brand of numerous photo artists and professionals, but also convinces more and more hobby photographers. Canon’s SLR, hybrid and novice cameras are some of the best on the market.

Like all other brands, Canon faces the constant challenge of adapting to new technologies as well as to the needs and wishes of its customers. That’s why the manufacturer is constantly striving to expand its range.

Canon also likes to be one step ahead of other brands in terms of innovation. For example, the company launched the Canon ION, the first digital camera, in 1984. Instead of using a memory card, the images were then stored on a floppy disk.

At the beginning of the nineties Canon worked on the so-called ferroelectric liquid crystal (FLC) display to increase the user-friendliness of the cameras.

In short, Canon is a brand you can count on and one that spares neither cost nor effort to make its products even more advanced, powerful and reliable.

Nikon: high-quality photographic equipment for professionals

Nikon is not only THE Japanese photo giant par excellence but has also made a name for itself as a manufacturer of precision optical instruments (microscopes, binoculars and semiconductor components).

The Tokyo-based company, which celebrated its centenary in 2017, sees itself as “At the heart of the image”.

The company, which was created by the merger of three optical system manufacturers and is now part of the Mitsubishi Group, initially produced for the Japanese army and gradually specialized in state-of-the-art optical technology.

The production of cameras, which began in the early 1930s, developed quite slowly in the beginning, but experienced a rapid upswing after the Second World War. Unfortunately, this is not due to very happy circumstances, because especially through photojournalists who documented the Korean War and the Vietnam War, the Nikon rangefinder cameras went around the world. In no time at all, the brand became a guarantee for outstanding image quality and a must for all professional photographers and reporters.

As a historical partner of NASA, Nikon, like Hasselblad, sent his cameras into space in the second half of the 20th century. Gradually, the company succeeded in establishing itself as one of the leading suppliers in this field. In addition to cameras and lenses, Nikon also produces accessories such as memory cards. Today, Nikon generates as much as 78% of its sales with photography equipment.

So if you are afraid of making a mistake and are not sure whether this camera brand is the right one for you, you can trust the remarkable quality of these cameras with a clear conscience. Because what comes from Nikon simply can’t be wrong!

Olympus: the brand that surprises with constant innovations

Needless to say, this brand also comes from Japan!

Photo cameras and lenses are only a part of the company with which Olympus generates about 15% of its sales. The company has also made a name for itself as a manufacturer of camera systems for medical and industrial applications such as microscopes and endoscopes.

In order to position itself on the photography market despite growing competition, Olympus has always excelled with creativity and inventiveness.

For example, Olympus has been offering the Micro-Four-Thirds Sensor Format (MFT) since 2008, which has helped make photography accessible to the general public. This sensor type, which has become the new standard, has been specially developed for mirrorless system cameras. Since an enormous amount of space can be saved due to the lack of an oscillating mirror, the MFT makes it possible to use even smaller camera housings – with consistently high image quality.

This is the birth of bridge and hybrid cameras. So if you want to enjoy the advantages of a reflex camera without carrying a bulky device around, this is the right place for you

Pentax: one of the leading camera manufacturers

Once again a Japanese brand (not surprising, right?) dedicated to the production of cameras and lenses. The company, which merged in 2007 with Hoya, one of the leading manufacturers of lenses, spectacle lenses and polarisation filters, is now part of the Ricoh Group.

Like all other historic camera manufacturers, Pentax initially produced analogue cameras before making the transition to modern didital technology.

Pentax focuses particularly on innovation and high-quality equipment. Although there may be more affordable digital cameras for beginners, those who invest in one of the high-quality Pentax SLR cameras will love the high image quality and will never want to capture the most beautiful moments of life with another camera again.

Only the best of the best has packed Pentax into its modern cameras: image stabilizers, full format sensors, WLAN, GPS, as well as the so-called pixel shift system, an in-house invention. The movable sensor takes several shots at once and superimposes them. The result: perfect, razor-sharp and low-noise photos that are worth seeing!

Panasonic: High-tech devices for everyone

This Japanese company is anxious to appeal to as wide an audience as possible with its equipment. Founded in 1918 by Konosuke Matushita and based in Osaka, the company manufactures television sets, camcorders, cameras, mobile phones, television cameras, laptops, fax machines, copiers and much more.

One hundred years after its creation, Panasonic is one of the high-tech giants par excellence: the versatile and inexpensive devices have long since conquered our households, including the popular Lumix camera.

The wide range extends from compact cameras in pocket format to digital SLR cameras. Here is a small overview:

DMC-G: the standard series of hybrid cameras
DMC-GF: corresponds to the DMC-G product series, only without the electronic viewfinder
DMC-GH: high-quality system cameras
DMC-GM: the smallest photo camera with interchangeable lens
DMC-GX: with 16 megapixel sensor
The FZ Series: with up to 60x zoom
Inexpensive compact cameras

What are the advantages of buying a Panasonic camera?

The excellent price/performance ratio and the handy format make the Lumix compact camera the ideal entry-level model for all those who want to learn to take pictures properly without incurring high costs.

Samsung: the all-rounder among high-tech brands

The Korean technology giant, which has made a name for itself with its mobile phones, televisions, monitors and memory cards, has also decided to get involved in the world of photography.

Who would have thought that the number one smartphone started in 1938 as a small grocery store with 40 employees?! Instead of technical delicacies, Samsung only had Korean noodles!

Through numerous goal changes and restructuring, Samsung gradually developed into the leading Hich-Tech manufacturer. In the meantime, the company, which employs more than 400,000 people worldwide, can hold its own against major camera brands such as Sony and Nikon. The cameras from Samsung stand out due to their sophisticated integrated image processing.

Among the most popular Samsung photo cameras are:

Samsung Galaxy Camera (Compact): an Android photo camera with backlit CMOS sensor with 16 megapixel image resolution, 21x optical zoom, optical image stabilisation, 8 gigabyte internal memory, micro SD memory card, 1.4 GHz Exynos quad-core processor and 1280×720 pixel high resolution touch screen.
Samsung EX2F (Compact): CMOS sensor, 3.3x optical zoom, HDMI and USB port, WLAN, 24mm ultra wide angle lens
Samsung WB 750 (compact): CCD sensor, 18x optical zoom, high ISO sensitivity (up to 3200), USB port
Samsung WB 1100 F (Bridge): CCD sensor, high ISO sensitivity (up to 3200), HDMI connection, WLAN, 35x optical zoom, image stabilisation, 16.5 megapixel image resolution

Leica: the camera that revolutionized the world of photography

Behind the brand name Leica lies the Wetzlar-based “Leitz Camera AG”. As the successor to the Optical Institute founded by Carl Kellner in 1849, the company under the management of precision mechanic Ernst Leitz specialized for several decades in the manufacture of microscopes and binoculars.

The invention of the easily transportable 35 mm camera that we have today is thanks to the company’s head of development, Oskar Barnack. Since he enjoyed taking nature photos in his spare time, but was unable to carry the heavy photo plates and large-format cameras he had used until then for health reasons, he worked on a handier camera model. His basic idea of exposing small sections of cinema film and enlarging the shots later during development has remained to this day.

On the basis of the aspect ratio of 2:3, which he found to be harmonious and which resulted in an image format of 24 x 36 mm, Barnack invented an exposure apparatus with film reel and shutter release, which became known as “Ur-Leica”. Due to the First World War, the development of the 35 mm camera was initially slow. It was not until 1924 that the company decided, despite the poor economic situation, to produce the camera in series and to present it one year later at the Spring Fair in Leipzig – with unforeseen success.

The effect of the invention was groundbreaking: At last the camera could be spontaneously conjured out of the bag for a snapshot without having to worry about the logistics of the bulky equipment. The camera became the constant companion of the journalists and created a true photographic art movement. The holiday photo was born. In general, photography was no longer done in the same way. While in the past almost without exception people posed for photos, the shots of the 35mm camera suddenly seemed much more lively as they showed people in everyday situations. As a viewer one had the feeling of being right in the middle of the action.

Today, the legendary Leica has long enjoyed world fame. As early as 1932, around 90,000 Leica cameras were sold over the counter, and the value of the camera has risen sharply over the decades. Today, the old Leica cameras are regarded as absolute collector’s items. You also have to dig deep into your pockets for new models: For example, the Leica M 10 costs an incredible

The best camera brands for analog photography

For all those who like vintage, we must not forget analog photography in this article.

Between analog and digital photography lie not only a few decades of history but worlds!

Contrary to a widespread opinion, fascinatingly good pictures can be achieved with an analogue camera. Image editing, tricks and artistic effects are also possible for those who understand their craft.

You take things a little slower, maybe think a little more before you press the trigger. Instead of memory cards you fill boxes. And if you want to go one step further, you can dare to develop the films yourself and set up a photo lab with a darkroom at home in the basement!
Kodak: the brand for cameras and photo films

This is by far the best known brand for analogue photography. Who doesn’t know the famous Kodak film rolls?

This American company, which appeared on the scene in 1888, made its first bestseller in 1900 with the Brownie model. Thanks to the coveted box, which was originally made of cardboard and later of bakelite, photography became inexpensive and child’s play.

The construction of the camera with practical transport handle could not have been easier. As there was no viewfinder yet, the camera was aimed roughly in the direction one wanted to take the picture. After pressing the trigger, the roll of film was rolled up with a hand crank. However, waiting for the final result proved to be a real test of patience, as the complete camera had to be sent to the manufacturer, who changed the film reel and developed the pictures. The very first Brownie photos, by the way, were round like the lens, since the total amount of light captured exposed the film instead of being limited by smaller rectangular films or sensors, as is common today.

For more than half a century, the Brownie camera was a faithful companion in everyday life until, despite its cult status, it was replaced by more practical, functional models.

In 1975, Kodak succeeded in producing the world’s first fully functional digital camera. However, the company decided against marketing this rather bulky invention, which Foros recorded on an audio cassette. This was based on the fear that the market for films and analog cameras could collapse as a result.

It was only when other brands made the transition to digital photography that Kodak, now heavily indebted, stopped producing its cameras.

Those who still want to hold a Kodak camera in their hands will find it at a flea market or used goods store with a little luck. The advantage is that Kodak films can still be bought today.

Polaroid: The “Camera with Built-in Lab”

Although this brand name is widely used today for all instant cameras, this technique was invented in 1942 by the American company Polaroid, more precisely by Edwin Land. When his impatient daughter couldn’t wait to finally see the fully developed holiday snapshots, he finally came up with a brilliant idea to make photos immediately visible.

While the camera did not differ significantly from conventional cameras, the actual innovation was in the films.

After the astonishing Polaroid model came onto the market in 1947, more than a million copies went over the counter. At the latest from the much cheaper successor model, everyone was convinced of the practical instant cameras.

After the Polaroid camera disappeared from the scene at the end of the 2000s, it is celebrating its return today. To keep up with the times, Polaroid now offers a digital camera with a mini printer.

Fujufilm now also manufactures instant cameras and films.

Hasselblad: the astronauts’ camera

When you want to shoot someone on the moon, you are not very impressed by him. But with the decades of partnership between Nasa and Hasselblad, the saying takes on a whole new meaning.

Behind the well-known Swedish company lies an import-export company founded by Arvid Viktor Hasselblad in 1841, which only specialised in photo cameras with the work of his photo enthusiastic successor.

The world fame that the medium format cameras from Gothenburg achieved within a very short time is not only due to the high image quality. At that time they were also considered to be the most reliable and robust cameras.

So it’s no wonder that Nasa used the practical Hasselblad for the Apollo 11 in July 1969 and many other missions. With its handy housing and typical light well viewfinder, it was perfectly suited to capture the moon landing in the picture. In order to save weight, however, a camera was rarely brought back to Earth. Most Hasselblad cameras stayed somewhere on the lunar surface to make room for rock samples.

Of all the brand’s cameras, the Hasselblad 500 is by far the model most collectors are looking for. The prices are in the low range.

But also other of the above mentioned manufacturers like Pentax, Olympus, Nikon and Leica have produced analog cameras before the age of digital cameras, which enjoyed great popularity. Just think of models like Nikon FM2, Pentax K1000, Olympus Pen, Olympus OM10 or Leica M7.

Such cameras are sometimes quite inexpensive to have by small advertisement, on-line auction or on the flea market. Before you buy a used analog or digital camera, you should put the good stuff to the acid test. Especially a camera that has been on your back for many years can spoil your enjoyment of photography by scratches on the lens or dust on the sensor.

With this in mind, we wish you lots of fun experimenting and “Good light!

 

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