The best cameras for Instagram are be portable, versatile and great for both stills and video. The obvious choice is a mirrorless camera because you get better image quality from the larger sensor and the versatility of interchangeable lenses. But a good quality compact camera can be just as effective, and the quality of camera phones is now good enough for serious consideration too.
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Instagram pictures are a whole new genre of photography with a different approach to shooting and sharing photos, with an emphasis on compact cameras, touch-screen operation, selfie screens and easy image transfer and uploading.
The best mirrorless cameras do all of these things, but many are big, heavy and expensive models designed for professional and expert users and not designed to carry around in a small bag or a jacket pocket. Our guide concentrates instead on mirrorless cameras which are powerful but portable.
And while we wouldn't necessarily recommend a point and shoot camera for Instagram, the best compact cameras have larger 1-inch sensors and video capabilities that make them ideal for social media photography.
There’s also a fantastic camera phone market at the moment, with many of the best camera phones currently on sale featuring fantastic cameras and that most important feature of all – the front-facing cameras for selfies and vlogging.
In selecting the best cameras for Instagram, we’ve picked out four key qualities:
Portability: It’s safe to say that much of what we see on Instagram falls under the genre of “travel” photography. Gleaming white sands, exotic food and epic landscapes are what fill our feeds anyway. In which case, it stands to reason that you don’t want to be lugging around a great big heavy camera – especially if you’re travelling “hand luggage only”. See our guide to the best cameras for travel.
Connectivity: It’s all well and good taking an amazing picture that will surely go down well with your followers, but if you can’t get it off your camera quickly and easily, it’s all for nothing. You don’t have this problem with smartphones, but cameras need to have decent Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity options – as well as intuitive smartphone apps. If you use a smartphone for your photography you're already a step ahead because you can share your images straight away... though to really stand out from the crowd you also need top-drawer image quality.
Image Quality: This is the biggie, of course. If there’s one sure-fire way to stand out from the crowd on Instagram, it’s by taking something with superior image quality than the average dinner-sharer. Smartphones are good and getting better, but if you want quality to be your calling card, then a mirrorless camera is the best choice.
Unusual camera features: This one applies more to smartphones. We’re keen to suggest smartphones which offer something special – such as wide-angle lenses, telephoto lenses, special modes, or professional level controls.
Let’s see what’s made it on to our list…
Best cameras for Instagram
It's the Instagram camera we keep coming back to, a simple design classic
Sensor: 16.1MP Four Thirds Live MOS | Lens Mount: Micro Four Thirds | Video: 4K | Connectivity: Bluetooth & Wi-Fi | Screen: Tilting three-inch 1040k-dot touchscreen | USB charging: No
If you’re looking to boost your gram game but don’t have a huge amount of cash to spare, the E-PL9 is a good option. Not only that, but with its retro design, it’ll look great should it accidentally end up in one of your selfies, too. The Four Thirds sensor is capable of producing some very nice images, while other useful specifications include a tilting screen and a range of interesting and fun creative filters and effects (another way to make your shots stand out). There’s no viewfinder here, but if you’re used to shooting with a mobile phone, you might not care), and it’s a shame not to have USB charging, but otherwise this is a great camera. It's also backed up by a system of small, portable and affordable lenses that match this camera's portable dimensions. Newer, better, bigger mirrorless cameras keep coming along, but the E-PL9 (or near-identical E-PL10 in some outlets) just does everything an Instagrammer could want, brilliantly.
Read more: Hands on review: Olympus E-PL9
2. Fujifilm X-A7
This camera is not for everyone, but for Instagramers it's perfect
Sensor: 24.2MP APS-C CMOS | Lens Mount: Fujifilm X | Connectivity: Bluetooth & Wi-Fi | Screen: Vari-angle 2-inch touchscreen, 2,760k dots | USB charging: Yes
Would we recommend the Fujifilm X-A7 as an all-round camera for enthusiasts? Probably not. But for Instagramers and social media photographers, it's perfect. Its huge (by camera standards) 3.5-inch touchscreen display is unique amongst mirrorless cameras, and it has a full articulating pivot to allow you to point it in any direction. The 15-45mm power zoom kit lens can be annoying to use (we can never remember which way to turn the zoom ring) but it's commendably compact and offers an unusually wide angle of view – perfect for interiors, narrow streets and travel photography. We were very impressed with the images that we got with this camera shooting in a range of lighting conditions on the streets of Florence. The autofocus is very accurate, even with challenging subjects, and the images have a great control of color and dynamic range.
Read more: Fujifilm X-A7 review
3. Nikon Z 50
Nikon's first APS-C mirrorless camera is designed for content creators
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Megapixels: 20.9MP | Monitor: 3.2-inch tilting, 1.04m dots | Continuous shooting speed: 11fps | Viewfinder: EVF, 2.36m dots | Max video resolution: 4K UHD at 30p | User level: Beginner/enthusiast
Nikon's first mirrorless cameras were full frame models designed for experts and professionals, but the Nikon Z 50 is pitched firmly at amateurs and enthusiasts – and especially the new generation of content creators. The Nikon Z 50 is a much smaller camera than the Z 6 and Z 7, but clearly shares the same design DNA. Despite its small size, it has a good grip and good external controls, and the retracting 16-50mm kit lens is remarkable not just for its pancake lens dimensions but for its overall performance. Nikon may have come to the APS-C mirrorless market comparatively late, but it's come in with a camera that has so many good points it's hard to know where to start – but we will highlight the 4K video, 11fps shooting... and the fact that its Z mount is identical to that on the larger cameras, so you can use dedicated Nikkor Z DX lenses, full frame Nikkor Z lenses and regular Nikon DSLR lenses via the FTZ adaptor. It also has a flip-over screen for selfies and vlogging. Best of all, the Z 50 is terrific value, especially when bought as a twin-lens kit.
Read more: Nikon Z 50 review
4. Canon EOS M50
It's simple, portable and easy to use. It's also rather cute
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C size | Megapixels: 24.1MP | Screen type: 3.2in vari-angle touchscreen LCD, 1.04million dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 2,36million dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 7fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Beginner
We haven't always been impressed by Canon's EOS M mirrorless cameras, but this one is rather good. It's small, portable and rather cute with its mini-DSLR styling. It's also easy to use for non-experts. Best of all, has an electronic viewfinder (so that you're not just reliant on the rear screen for composing pictures) and a full vari-angle screen for rotating in any direction. The EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens has a retracting mechanism to make the camera smaller to carry around when it's not in use, and there is a small but handy selection of other EOS M lenses you can use with this camera. Hobbyists might want a wider lens choice, but if travel is your thing and a couple of lenses is all you need, the EOS M50 is great. Annoyingly, though, the 4K video mode can't be used with Canon's speedy Dual Pixel CMOS AF system (regular full HD video doesn't have this restriction).
Read more: Canon EOS M50 review
5. Panasonic Lumix G90 / G95
It's bigger than the rest, but the Lumix G90 / G95 is a great vlogging camera
Type: CSC | Sensor: Four Thirds | Megapixels: 20.3MP | Screen: 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 2.1m dots | Viewfinder: OLED EVF, 2,360k dots | Lens: Micro Four Thirds | Continuous shooting speed: 9fps (6fps with AF) | Max video resolution: 4k | User level: Enthusiast
The Panasonic Lumix G90 (G95 in the US) is a great stills and video camera for enthusiasts and vloggers. It's true that the Micro Four Thirds sensor is smaller than the APS-C sensors in some rival mirrorless cameras, but this doesn't seem to harm its performance. The handling and control layout are great, and the autofocus feels very snappy indeed. The only issue is the price. It's a good camera for stills photographers, video and vlogging, and Panasonic's underrated 4K Photo modes offer capabilities other cameras don't have. The Lumix G90/G95 isn't cheap, however, though it does have Panasonic's V-Log mode as standard rather than a paid for extra. This camera is larger than the rest in this group and designed more for serious photography/vlogging, but if that's what you need and you don't mind the size, the G90/G95 is a great buy.
Read more: Panasonic Lumix G90/G95 review
6. Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III
A pocket-friendly premium compact with excellent vlogging features too
Sensor: 20.1MP 1.0-inch type CMOS | Lens: 4.2x zoom (24-100mm equivalent), f/1.8-f/2.8 | Video: 4K | Connectivity: Bluetooth & Wi-Fi | Screen: Tilt-up 3.0-inch 1040k-dot touchscreen | USB Charging: Yes
Canon’s dinky G7 X cameras have long proved popular with social-media lovers, thanks to their fantastic video features. The G7X Mark III builds on that heritage, adding a range of specifications which make it even more tempting. Top of the list is 4K video recording, which is uncropped. You can use the tilt-up touchscreen to frame your vlogs, while LiveStreaming to YouTube is also built-in. For fans of Instagram stories, a special vertical record mode has also been added. The icing on the cake is a new external mic input socket. It’s not just video-lovers that should consider the G7X Mark III. With a very flexible 24-100mm (equivalent) lens, and a large one-inch sensor it’s also capable of capturing some striking stills, too.
Read more: Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III review
7. Panasonic Lumix LX100 II
A flexible premium compact with large sensor and ideal travel lens
Sensor: 17MP Four Thirds CMOS | Lens: 24-75mm (equivalent) f/1.7-f/2.8 | Video: 4K | Connectivity: Bluetooth & Wi-Fi | Screen: Fixed, three-inch 1240k-dot touchscreen | USB Charging: Yes
The original LX100 won a lot of fans thanks to its large sensor, great handling and high degree of portability and was designed for keen photographers willing to pay a little more for a pocket-sized camera with the class of a full size mirrorless model. Although the Mark II version represents a relatively small upgrade (you now get a touchscreen, better 4K Photo options and the very handy ability to charge via USB), it still makes it on our list of Insta-friendly cameras. In many ways this is the perfect travel and street camera. It produces great images, with a limited but still flexible zoom lens, and it can just about fit in your jacket pocket. Some neat handling touches, like an aperture ring and shutter speed dial also make it very nice to use, too, but that fixed rear screen could prove a deal-breaker for some – it does limit the angles you can shoot from.
Best phones for Instagram
8. Apple iPhone 11 Pro
It's not just the triple-camera array, it's the image quality and usability
Release date: September 2019 | Rear cameras: 12MP 13mm f/2.4, 12MP 26mm f/1.8, 12MP 52mm f/2 | Front camera: 12MP, f/2.2 TrueDepth camera | OIS: Yes | Weight: 188 g | Dimensions: 144 x 71.4 x 8.1 mm | Storage: 64/256/512GB
The iPhone 11 Pro's triple-camera array is hardly cutting edge by today's standards, but it works brilliantly. The colors, tones and exposures are consistent across all three cameras, but it's Apples restrained approach to image processing that really sets the iPhone 11 Pro apart from the competition. Where flagship phones from the likes of Huawei and Samsung tend to produce shots with aggressive HDR, sharpening, and noise reduction, the iPhone's images look more true-to-life and never show signs of being over-processed. The new ultrawide camera is just brilliant for travel photography, landmarks and spectacular interiors, and while it can't quite match the edge to edge image quality of the other lenses, it still produces sharp, distortion-free ultra-wide images that widen your horizons in every possible way. The slofie mode is wonderful, the video is excellent and the panorama mode is still the best there is. Boringly, Apple has done it again, producing the best phone with the best camera. It's expensive, but what did we expect!
Read more: Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max review
A well-featured camera app and three different lenses to choose from
Sensors: 12MP + 16MP + 12MP | Lenses: 26mm f/1.5-2.4 (equivalent), 16mm f/2.2 (equivalent), 52mm f/2.4 (equivalent) | Video: 4K Connectivity: 3G/4G/Bluetooth/Wi-Fi | Screen: 6.3-inch Quad HD Dynamic AMOLED | Charging: USB-C
You’d be forgiven for being a little worried about buying into the Huawei system with relations a little frosty between the Chinese company and the US administration. If therefore you’re looking for the flexibility of several lenses, along with a very well-featured native camera app, the Samsung S10+ has to be the recommendation of choice. Here you got a super-wide-angle, a “normal” lens, and a 2x optical zoom lens. OK it doesn’t offer you the 5x optical zoom of the Huawei – but we’ll wager that 2x will come in more handy in normal situations, anyway. A range of different shooting modes should mean you can find something to suit every situation, while a Pro mode gives enthusiasts the extra control they desire. On the front, selfie lovers will welcome the dual-front-facing cameras, giving you the opportunity to create impressive portrait effects.
Read more: Samsung Galaxy S10+ review
A great camera phone, but with that cloud over Huawei's status
Sensors: 40MP, 20MP + 8MP | Lenses: 27mm f/1.6 (equivalent), 16mm f/2.2 (equivalent) + 125mm f/3.4 (equivalent) | Video: 4K | Connectivity: 3G/4G/Wi-Fi/Bluetooth | Screen: 6.47-inch 2340 x 1080 OLED Charging: USB-C
Just about the best smartphone for photographers on the market until the arrival of the iPhone 11, the P30 Pro has everything you could ever need for those fine-tuned Instagram snaps. There’s a triple lens setup, giving you the choice of ultra-wide-angle, a “standard” lens, and the real ace up the P30 Pro’s sleeve, a 5x optical zoom lens boasting a 125mm equivalent. On top of all that, the range of shooting modes found on the Huawei P30 Pro is also very impressive. A particular highlight is the fantastic Night mode, which is sure to boost your low-light shots, while those who are a little more advanced can take full control in “Pro” mode. The only real complaint is the lack of choice between the 27mm and 125mm focal lengths – but you can always use the well-performing hybrid digital zoom if necessary.
Read more: Huawei P30 Pro review