Let us tell you a story. Once upon a time, in a not-so-distant past—a simpler past—there used to be a time when you could simply wake up, and with a measly phone in bad light, take a photo, slap a few filters on it, and upload to Instagram with little to no thought at all about detail.
And guess what? Back in this simple time, with this simple photo, you could get so many likes and build a brand in no time at all. With zero sweat.
But, sadly, the good old days are gone.
In fact, they're so out of memory, that one would imagine they had happened hundreds of years ago. Nowadays, to get your photos or videos viral on Instagram, and get that viral exposure that we all dream about, you have to ensure you get everything right, from lighting to framing and composition, and of course the gear itself.
This is why below you'll find our curated list of some of the best cameras out there for achieving your Instagram fame. Here, you'll find DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, point-and-shoot cameras, and yes, even smartphones that can get the job done on a more than satisfactory level.
Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, we welcome you to our list of the ten best cameras for Instagram.
Table of Contents
TL;DR – Top 3 Cameras for Instagram
DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras
Sony Alpha a7 III
First on our list of best cameras for instagrammers is the Sony Alpha a7 III, and for good reason, too. One thing you want to ensure you're always on the lookout for when you're getting a camera is, quite simply, image quality. And this device right here is capable of giving some of the best quality at a very reasonable price range.
Yes, there may be cameras with better quality or features, but honestly, most of them are overkill for Instagram. Simply put, there is nothing your Instagram audience demands of you that the A7 III cannot provide.
It also holds the honor being one of the smallest and least expensive full frame cameras right now on the market, meaning you get something resembling the compactness of a smartphone while at the same time getting way higher quality.
Its technical specifications are also highly impressive. Among these are a 24 megapixel full-frame sensor (which is just the perfect range), image stabilization feature, 10.0 frames-per-second continuous shooting, and a stunning 4K video resolution with 120 frames-per-second high-speed video capability—particularly handy if you're going to be dishing out some video content, too.
Other highlights include its strong grip, lens stability, and extensive menu and customization (not that you'd be needing the complicated setups for your Instagram photos), its high-quality image and video capability, and of course its strong AF performance.
Its lowlight performance is also highly impressive and is capable of giving your Instagram page that much-needed boost, because, as we all know, lowlight photos, when done well, are as enchanting as can be.
Sony Alpha A6600
Mirrorless cameras, especially those manufactured by Sony, have fast become one of the most respected class of cameras out there on the market today. And after taking one of these devices for a spin, it really isn't hard to see why.
The Sony Alpha A6600 takes the power of mirrorless cameras up a notch by being an advanced mirrorless camera, with an APS-C CMOS sensor and 24 megapixel native resolution.
These, alongside its 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization and 11.0 frames-per-second continuous shooting, give it the ability to produce ridiculously high-quality images that have become something of a certainty for Sony mirrorless cameras.
And for video content creators, well, the A6600 is just a pure joy in that area. It is capable of shooting 4K videos with a mind-blowing 120 frames-per-second high-speed capability.
And as if all these aren't enough to make it one of the best cameras for Instagrammers, this device also has incredible low light powers and strong autofocus. It is also relatively lightweight, enough to carry around and stuff easily into a backpack or even a purse.
And, of course, it goes without saying that you'd want to be careful with the handling, which shouldn't be hard because at 503g and 699mm of thickness, its physical specifications aren't too far from average.
Other impressive features of the A6600 include its wireless, Bluetooth, and NFC connectivity, its articulating touch screen, electronic built-in viewfinder, face detection focusing, panorama shooting, and wide AE bracketing range.
Another feature worth noting, that makes it great for taking Instagram shots, is its long battery life. You can easily take this device into the field without having to worry about recharging, at least until you take about 800 shots!
Canon EOS 90D
The Canon EOS 90D is, without a doubt, one of the better devices to take your Instagram pictures with, and one of the overall best entries on this list. It is indisputably the entry with the highest native resolution at 33 megapixels.
Now some might argue, rightly, that pixels aren't the only factor that influence how good a camera is. They might not even be the most important. But for an Instagrammer, and when it comes to taking photos for Instagram-use only, what you're mainly concerned with is the sharpness and clarity of your images. And here is where megapixels come a long way.
So yes, when making an argument for Canon EOS 90D, the megapixels do make for a compelling point. But it isn't the only one, anyway. And for those skeptical about megapixel counts, well, the EOS 90D possesses enough impressive qualities under its 701g frame to convince even the most hardened of critics.
It features an ISO range of 100-25600, expandable to 51200, a 3-inch fully-articulated screen, 11.0 frames-per-second continuous shooting, and 4K video resolution for vloggers and video content makers.
It also sports built-in wireless and Bluetooth connectivity and a high shutter speed of 1/8000s.
Physically, it is as compact as DSLR cameras come, maybe even more, weighing about 774g, with a thickness of 77mm, all of which are below the average dimensions of cameras in this range.
It also has a really impressive battery life, capable of taking an estimated 1300 shots! Impressive by any estimation.
All in all, we'd say the EOS 90D is a superb piece of gear and just perfect for your Instagram page.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH5
The Panasonic Lumix is another solid series in the camera world that has managed to garner enough respect. They are generally well-reviewed and revered for their quality and ruggedness. The Lumix DMC-GH5 is no different.
It is a pro mirrorless camera with a CMOS Sensor of 20.2 megapixels, and a host of other incredible highlights.
It got quite the hype from Panasonic and a lot of camera enthusiasts prior to its release, and, speaking from experience, we can say the GH5 is a camera that very much lived up to these great expectations.
For Instagram use, it is capable of delivering and surpassing your wildest imaginations. It is great as both a photo and video camera, and delivers unwavering quality in both aspects.
Physically, the GH5 sports a sleek, compact exterior. It appears on first sight as a sort of a mirrorless, DSLR, and camcorder hybrid, 725g in weight and 87mm in thickness, just above average in its class.
Other incredible features that puts this camera in an elevated class among the best are its sensor-shift image stabilization, 3680k dot electronic viewfinder, 12.0 frames-per-second continuous shooting and a fully articulated screen.
All these are great, of course, but perhaps its greatest highlight is to be found in its superb video capability.
As mentioned earlier, by merely looking at the camera, it is easy to confuse it for a video camera. And it lives up to this physical expectation with its 4K video resolution and a mind-blowing 180 frames-per-second high-speed video.
It also sports advanced DFD, the latest series of the Panasonic Depth From Defocus, an autofocus system for interpreting scene and increasing autofocus.
A common misconception about getting cameras for your Instagram page is the belief that, since you're upgrading from a smartphone, what you need is really expensive high-end gear, preferably a mirrorless or a DSLR camera.
Well, this isn't necessarily true.
For one, there's no law that says you have to get a DSLR to get that perfect photo. Point-and-shoot cameras can be just perfect, especially given the fact that they're originally meant to serve this purpose—that is, to act as a portable upgrade to smartphones without the overkill burden of expensive, high-tier cameras.
The Fujifilm X100V, for example, plays this role perfectly. Rolled out in 2020, the X100V is a large sensor compact camera with a 26.0 megapixel APS-C sensor. Now to put into perspective how epic the X100V is, one need only consider the fact that it replaced the X100F, which is a hell of a camera itself!
To get into the technical details of why the X100V is one of the best point-and-shoot cameras for Instagrammers out there, all we have to do is point out its other exciting specs and features, which include a built-in wireless and Bluetooth connectivity, articulating screen, ability to shoot in RAW (thereby increasing your range of flexibility), 12.800 maximum ISO, 1/400s high shutter speed, and 11.0 frames-per-second continuous shooting.
Physically, the device is as traditionally designed as compact cameras come. It is also quite light, at 478g weight and 53mm thickness. Its battery life is very impressive at 420 guaranteed shots.
Now all these are remarkable by a lot of standards, and just like the two entries above it on our list, the X100V also has the additional advantage of being an awesome video camera that is, at the same time, great at low light conditions.
Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III
When it comes to taking Instagram photos, any established instagrammer will tell you one thing: simple is better. And that is exactly what you get with the Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III.
When building an Instagram page, what you need is a simple style that gets the message across as clearly as possible. No mess. No fuss. No complicated settings and super professional tweaks. I mean, it doesn't hurt to have those in a camera, but it also tends to be overkill most times when you wouldn't even need them.
What you need, however, is a camera that manages to strike a balance between these extremes of its number of features.
The Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III is one such device. Without a doubt one of the best Canon point-and-shoot cameras out there, the G7X Mark III holds the distinction of being equipped with a super-fast f1.8-2.8 aperture lens and a 20 megapixel CMOS sensor.
And to keep up with the video standard set by numerous entries on the list, the G7 X MIII is also no slouch when it comes to taking 4K quality video recordings. It is also capable of shooting 1080p slow motion videos, and can pull off a solid vertical video capture.
Physically, the device is remarkably light, even for a point-and-shoot camera. It weighs a measly 304g, and is only 41mm thick!
Other features of this device worth highlighting can be found in its built-in ND filter, AE bracketing, selfie-friendly screen (what's Instagram without a few selfies here and there?) 30.0 frames-per-second continuous shooting, RAW capability, and image stabilization.
Sony RX100 VII
The last point-and-shoot camera to make it on our list of best cameras for Instagram, the Sony RX 100 VII carves out a place for itself thanks to its solid overall image quality, and amazing video capabilities.
It features a 1 inch sensor and a similar 24-200 mm equivalent f/2.4-f/4.5 lens that many of its predecessors and competitors have, its only difference being that it also has an easier autofocus system and a mic socket for better audio.
The device can shoot up to 20.0 frames per second, along with an enhanced autofocus which the company is proud enough of to make one of the marketing focuses of the device.
Physically, it is actually quite simple, and by that we mean there isn't any flashy design or emphasis on aesthetics. It focuses on getting the job done by giving you high-quality images, that is all. It does have a few functional design elements, though, like its touchscreen LCD screen capable of being flipped 180 degrees upward or 90 degrees downward.
It weighs a super comfortable 302g, with 43mm thickness, making it portable enough for a point-and-shoot camera class, and highly portable relative to the DSLRs and mirrorless classes.
Other features of the X100 VII include a large range of connectivity options in wireless, Bluetooth, and NFC mode; image stabilization; articulating screen; and face detection focusing.
Another highlight worth emphasising when it comes to the Sony RX100 VII is its impressive low light ISO and its video capability. It shoots at 4K resolution, with 960 frames per second high-speed capability.
Google Pixel 4 XL
Now that we've taken a close look at the best high-end cameras for Instagram, as well as the best point-and-shoot, it's time to go back to the root—smartphones. There's no denying they still remain the simplest way for those who wouldn't want to go through the extra troubles of getting an extra device just for Instagram alone.
Thankfully there exists a good number of smartphones that are more than capable of delivering only high-quality images and videos, some even as good as the ones you'll get with some hefty camera gear. That's how far smartphones have come.
Among the very top of this high class of smartphones is the Google Pixel 4 XL, an android smartphone with all-around intense capabilities. It features solid hardware including a very strong battery and unlimited free online storage. But of course, what we're most particular about here is its camera, and boy does it have an impressive record in this area.
The Pixel 4 XL takes some of the most impressive shots for a smartphone, with some end results highly similar to those you'd get with a DSLR.
You have an array of modes and customization to choose from, quite comprehensive for a smartphone, which includes the night sight mode, portrait mode, and HDR+.
In the end, the Google Pixel 4 XL offers quite the appeal thanks majorly to its extraordinary camera, and the reliable performance of its other supporting features.
Apple iPhone 12 Pro
The iPhone needs no introduction. Right from the start, they've always managed to remain at the top when it comes to smartphones that transcends what conventional smartphones can, or should, do. There's no denying, though, that lately iPhones have started to become, shall we say, vapid?
Every model seems to be just like the previous, and thanks to the tedious segmentation of even phones in the same series. It is hard to tell which iPhone is really worth the money and which isn't.
Well, we're here to tell you that the iPhone 12 Pro is definitely one of the few worth getting, especially when it comes to making content for your Instagram pages.
Even all through the years, iPhone cameras have always been among the best, without a doubt. The question has always been which could be relied upon among the different variations. And that's where the 11 pro hits the sweet spot.
It is just perfect enough to get your Instagram page popping, being at that spot where it is better than an iPhone 12 regular, yet you don't need an iPhone 12 pro max.
You have a triple-camera system with 12 megapixels capable of shooting ultra wide, wide, and telephoto, and a TrueDepth front camera, also of 12 megapixels, capable of shooting 4K video and slow-motion!
All these, you'd agree, are more than enough for any photographer to get really high-quality shots for an Instagram page.
It doesn't just end there, though. The iPhone 12 has enough complimentary features that make it more than just a smartphone for taking pictures alone. Among its other exciting features are its wireless charging, durable battery, high security, and its low light focus.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
The Samsung S20 came highly touted, and it is safe to say it did not disappoint. You can even say that we saved the best for last with this one, as it has, arguably, one of the best camera capabilities of any smartphone out there today.
To jump straight into it, the S20 offers not just a wicked camera capability in itself, but enough customization and flexibility that makes it a legitimate rival to a host of higher class cameras even on this very list.
For instance, the device offers a high-resolution camera zoom feature where you have the ability to take high-resolution images all the way from 300 feet away. There is no denying that the potential for this is endless.
It also features a particular favorite of ours, the ultra bright night mode. Being a sucker for cameras that perform incredibly in low light, this feature was a very welcome one here. Thanks to it you can take blur-free, noise-free images in low light, even without a flash. Something very few DSLRs can give you.
Then there's the Single Take AI feature, a feature that lets you take multiple types of images in just one go, so that you practically have the best of both worlds.
And all these features are not limited to images alone. You also get extremely high-quality videos that are just as sharp in low light and just as compatible with the Single Take AI technology.
And if all these aren't good enough, all one has to do is add the all-day battery capability courtesy of the device's intelligent 5G battery algorithm, the superfast charging, and 512 GB of storage, and it becomes clear to see why the S20 is as well-reviewed as it is.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Camera for Instagram
DSLR or Smartphone for Social Media Photography?
A simple answer to this would be that you don't NEED a DSLR for your social media photography. It is not a must that you have one. But, at the same time, it is also something that does not hurt to have at all.
Think of it like this—if you want the absolute best gear available, and you're not inhibited by capital, then sure! There's no reason you should not get a DSLR for your social media photography.
Another reason DSLRs may be better is thanks to the range of options you have, both with choosing lenses, and with shutter speed, aperture, and other customizations.
Some would like to point out that getting a DSLR for your social media pages is like getting a Lamborghini for a picnic trip, which is wrong. It's wrong because in that case, it is plain overkill. But a DSLR for your social pages isn't necessarily overkill. Why? Because not all DSLRs are made the same.
Getting $50,000 worth of gear for social media photography? Now that's overkill. But that isn't what we're talking about here. Getting a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH5 or a Sony Alpha A6600 ensures that you stay in a range that isn't ridiculously high, while at the same time a major upgrade from smartphones and point-and-shoot cameras.
Now does this mean you can't get the job done with a smartphone? Of course not. Certain smartphones can give you the needed quality, and that's why we provide these options on the list, too.
But as we said earlier, it all simply comes down to this: if you want the absolute best gear available, and you're not inhibited by capital, then by all means, go for a DSLR.
Choosing a Lens
If you’ve finally decided to go with a DSLR or mirrorless camera, there's another question that you will need to answer, and that is the question of lens. Exactly which lens would be perfect just for taking photos for Instagram?
Well, thankfully the answer to this is quite simple: kit lenses.
For those starting out, the kit lenses built with the cameras are enough quality to start with without having to break even more bank on high-tier lenses that may cost just as much as you paid for the camera itself.
The kit lenses usually offer just the right features and great enough focal range for your type of photography.
Now for those who are already familiar with DSLRs and mirrorless gear, an upgrade may be a viable option. Again, it is nothing compulsory—just a voluntary decision to get an extra touch of professionalism to your shot.
For those considering upgrades, a 50mm prime upgrade may be a solid choice. This isn't too expensive, and you'll get better control over the depth of field and great portraits taken all around.
Getting a compact camera or your smartphone alone is good enough to get great shots. But if you want to stand out and take your professionalism to the next level, it doesn't hurt to get yourself some extra set of equipment. We list the most essential of these below.
There's nothing like stability when taking a shot or a video for your Instagram page, or virtually for any purpose at all. And apart from stability, you will also need a tripod when taking long exposure shots to avoid blurs and inconsistencies.
Always ensure you put your camera weight into consideration before getting a suitable tripod.
Another item worth getting is a backpack, especially when you're working with a DSLR or mirrorless camera with a number of lenses and other parts that need to be kept as safe and secure as possible. There's a wide range of options available for this so getting a suitable one for your taste should not be a problem at all.
So there you have it, your very best cameras for Instagram. As you can see, we have divided the entries into simple categories to make the decision easier. If you have a clear intention in mind, then you could easily go for your desired entry in your select category.
First, we have the best mirrorless and DSLRs, all of which we have ensured are significant upgrades from smartphones and point-and-shoots. Whether it's in depth of field, low light capability, autofocus, or simple megapixel count, they all have something they possess over their point-and-shoot and smartphone counterparts.
For the point-and-shoot categories, we have a comprehensive array of compact cameras that are absolute value for their class. They offer just enough guarantee and upgrade over smartphones to make them not just worthwhile, but even a necessity.
For entries in this category, the Fujifilm X100V leads the pack for its exciting specs and features, while the Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III is not too far behind with its toughness and overall performance.
In smartphone class, we have the three current best options in the market right now: the Google pixel 4XL, known for its overall high camera performance, the Apple iPhone 12 Pro, a three-camera beast in low light, and the Samsung S20 Ultra, with a camera system that rivals even your popular high tech offerings.
To make your decision easier, we have also highlighted some commonly asked questions and provided a handful of suggestions regarding lens type, additional accessories, and so on.
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