Finding the right camera for your needs can be completely overwhelming. With camera companies unveiling the latest and greatest devices every time you turn around, it can be hard to wade through the endless sea of photographic technology.
Don't get sucked into the notion that the only good camera manufacturers are Canon and Nikon. Although the big two make excellent cameras, you would be doing yourself a major disservice if you only look at these two brands. Each camera manufacturer has their strengths and their weaknesses. Below is a list of camera manufacturers with what I feel is their greatest strength and biggest weakness. Note: These are broad generalizations about the brand as a whole, not based on one specific camera from their lineup. Check out our extensive database of digital camera reviews in order to get a better understanding of specific cameras.
- Strength-Canon does a fantastic job at making superior professional grade equipment including cameras, lenses and flashes. They have spent countless man hours perfecting the professional experience. Services like CPS (Canon Professional Services) make servicing your professional Canon equipment faster and easier.
- Weakness-Canon is falling behind in regards to wireless technology and the connected camera experience. Although they are making strides in the right direction, they have yet to fully embrace this inevitable reality.
- Strength-Fuji is proving, especially with their X-series cameras, that they are a fierce competitor when it comes to great image quality and classic camera design. It's hard to beat the style and feel of these timeless looking cameras. They are also proving to be superior image quality devices.
- Weakness-Fuji cameras, despite recent improvements, still lack fast autofocusing capabilities. This is an important feature and one that needs further improvements.
- Strength-Nikon also does a phenomenal job at making superior professional grade equipment including cameras, lenses and flashes. Like Canon, they also have a professional service called NPS (Nikon Professional Services) which gives working professional photographers a multitude of benefits. It's easy to understand why professionals can rely on this company to produce a great product.
- Weakness-Nikon is also falling behind with the connected camera experience when compared to a company like Samsung.
- Strength-Olympus cameras are well-known for their super speedy autofocusing. Even in very poorly lit conditions, Olympus' AF works like a charm and totally blows me away. This is a feature that should not be overlooked as getting the perfect shot can disappear in a heartbeat. Also, their new super macro mode is astounding. As a macro fanatic, I haven't found another camera company that offers a built-in macro function that can compare to Olympus.
- Weakness-Olympus' menu system in not very intuitive and is a web of functionality. The Olympus cameras have a lot of options, but they are well-hidden in their user interface and can be challenging to access.
- Strength-Panasonic does a great job with their mirrorless lineup. Their top models have great video. Even the lower level models have very good video quality.
- Weakness-Panasonic has a tendency to be easily overlooked. They haven't found a great market share in the US.
- Strength-Pentax did a fantastic job of creating a weather proof DSLR camera system. From their cameras to their lenses to their brand new flashes, Pentax can outfit the most adventurous of DSLR shooters.
- Weakness-Pentax's kit lenses, when used at a wide open aperture (in most cases f3.5), are just not sharp enough to make me happy. Pentax does have some great lenses. I would love to see them provide better kit lens options.
- Strength-Samsung is leading the industry in the connected camera revolution. They are producing one product after another that allows users to easily and quickly unite their images with friends and family via a plethora of social media sites.
- Weakness-Samsung needs to put additional resources into creating higher quality camera bodies for their entire lineup similar to what they did for the NX300. It's worth the additional cost and I think the public would respond positively.
- Strength-Sigma's cameras are not the strongest feature of this company. Their lenses, however, are a different story. They have recently reinvented themselves and their lenses. It has been a great transformation and one that will lead their lenses to the top of the charts. With the addition of the USB docking station and the Optimization Pro Software, Sigma's aligning themselves to be the lens company of choice.
- Weakness-Sigma's cameras can produce amazing imagery at low ISOs, but high ISOs degrade the image quality quickly.
- Strength-Sony cameras can give you video quality that will knock your socks off. And the sensors in their cameras are simply amazing. They have been perfecting both of these for years and it shows.
- Weakness-Sony has a tendency to hide the camera's functionality in a maze of menu options. It's generally not easy to find the setting you desire in a timely manner unless you save it to a quick recall function button.
Purchasing the right camera is all about finding the right tool for your individual needs. A camera that's perfect for one person may not be a good fit for another. It's about figuring out your needs. Once you decide what your needs are, you have a better chance at finding the perfect camera for you. Try to ignore the marketing, the fan boys and the naysayers. Decide which camera strengths you must have and with cons you can live with. There is no such thing as a perfect camera for everyone. Focus on a finding a camera that's just for you. Have a great weekend and go grab that shot!