For camera gear it's the Japanese. They are th e leaders without doubt. Dun matter what Leica or Rollei come out with but they are years behind in pure innovation. Of coz quality might be better but we're discussing innovation.
The yanks sux at innovation. Their best camera is an Argus. Kodak's most decent camera was the brownie ;p
I love the french photogs styles. Some Americans were good (AA, Steiglitz etc) but I prefer others.