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The best cameras for Instagram in 2021: take your gram game to the next level!

Included in this guide:

Best cameras for Instagram
(Image credit: Olympus)

If you're looking for the best camera for Instagram, you need one that's going to be lightweight so you can carry it at all times. It also needs to be able to produce high-quality images and videos. These days, Instagram is more about video content than it is photos (which is not so great for people who are strictly photographers). The new algorithm heavily prioritizes content in the form of Reels and IGTV (Instagram TV) so creating videos has never been more important. 

It's worth thinking about how much you want to spend on an Instagram camera. if you make a lot of money from your account you might not mind spending big bucks but if you're just starting out, it's best to get a budget-friendly option. 

You could opt for one of the best mirrorless cameras which will enable you to take high-quality image, change lenses to suit a variety of scenarios and they're still pretty lightweight. Some mirrorless cameras are overkill for Instagram such as the Canon EOS R5 - despite its high-resolution sensor Instagram kills photo quality so you won't even get the most out of it. 

That being said, you wouldn't necessarily want to buy a point and shoot camera either as they can often be a little too basic. Some of the best compact cameras would suit shooting for Instagram as they have larger 1-inch sensors and more advanced features which often include improved video capabilities. 

Lots of Instagrammers will want to shoot all their content using their smartphone. The cameras on the best phones are so good these days you can absolutely get away with doing that. Some of the latest models even have the ability to shoot Raw images and 4K 60P video. The front cameras are also getting much better so if you need to record selfie-style videos it's really easy to see what the end result will look like. 

If you're picking the best cameras for Instagram, we’ve identified four major criteria for our choices:

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 traveling “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 that 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

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It's the Instagram camera we keep coming back to, a simple design classic

Specifications
Sensor: 16.1MP Four Thirds Live MOS
Lens Mount: Micro Four Thirds
Video: 4K
Connectivity: Bluetooth & Wi-Fi
Screen: 180° tilting three-inch 1040k-dot touchscreen
USB charging: No
Reasons to buy
+Retro design+Budget friendly price 
Reasons to avoid
-Small upgrade over predecessor-No USB charging 

Providing a superb, enviable balance between price and performance, the Olympus Pen E-PL10 is any fashion-conscious photographer's dream. It's a smart, capable mirrorless camera, as capable at shooting stills as it is 4K video thanks to its 16MP MOS sensor, so you can swap between types of content with ease. The Micro Four Thirds lens mount gives you a huge variety of options to choose from when it comes to glance, meaning you're free to get creative with fisheyes, telephotos and more. It also has brought manual mode to silent shooting, so you can fine-tune your exposure while also staying stealthy – perfect for street shooting. It's everything an Instagrammer could want, all wrapped up in a stylish veneer that will also look good for your behind-the-scenes Stories.

Read more: Olympus PEN E-PL10 review

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2. Fujifilm X-T200

Packing a surprising amount of power, this is a great upgrade choice

Specifications
Sensor: 24.2MP APS-C CMOS
Lens Mount: Fujifilm X
Connectivity: Bluetooth & Wi-Fi
Screen: 180° tilting 3.5-inch touchscreen, 2,760k dots
USB charging: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Solid 4K video+Generously large touchscreen
Reasons to avoid
-Simplified external controls-Could be cheaper

The classic design of Fujifilm's mirrorless cameras is present and correct on the X-T200, a relatively new model that's pitched towards users who are perhaps looking to upgrade from a smartphone or point-and-shoot camera. Users can take advantage of the excellent stable of X-mount lenses, and the vastly improved 4K video features mean it's a great choice for hybrid shooters producing stills and video content. Its controls aren't as complex as those of comparable cameras like the X-T30, which makes it ideal for those who are used to taking pictures by tapping their phone's screen. It's also nice to see an OLED electronic viewfinder on the camera as well as the large LCD screen, giving the user a wealth of composition options.

Read more: Hands on: Fujifilm X-T200 review

Best camera for Instagram: Nikon Z 50

(Image credit: Nikon)

3. Nikon Z 50

Nikon's first APS-C mirrorless camera is designed for content creators

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Good value from the start+Compact body and kit lens+4K video and 11fps shooting
Reasons to avoid
-No in-body stabilization

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

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4. Canon EOS M50

It's simple, portable and easy to use. It's also rather cute

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Vari-angle touchscreen+Built-in electronic viewfinder
Reasons to avoid
-Limited EF-M lens range-4K video limitations

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

Best cameras for Instagram

(Image credit: Panasonic)

5. Panasonic Lumix G100

Panasonic guns for the vlogging market with this video-oriented mirrorless number

Specifications
Type: CSC
Sensor: Four Thirds
Megapixels: 20.3MP
Screen: 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,840k dots
Viewfinder: OLED EVF, 3,680k dots
Lens: Micro Four Thirds
Continuous shooting speed: 10fps (30fps with 4K Photo)
Max video resolution: 4K
User level: Beginner to intermediate
Reasons to buy
+Intelligent on-board audio+Great monitor/EVF
Reasons to avoid
-No headphone jack-No in-body stabilisation

With plenty of fierce competition in the vlogging market, Panasonic came out swinging with the Lumix G100. It's a camera pitched at beginners and relatively new users, designed to offer everything you need in one package without needing to buy loads of extra accessories. One of the big draws is the on-board OZO audio, designed by Nokia, which uses three microphones to assure far greater quality than any basically other camera's on-board mic. Happily, Panasonic didn't neglect stills capability, and the G100 can shoot great-looking images and make use of 4K Photo modes to extract them from video footage, which effectively gives you a burst rate of 30fps. With Instagram becoming more and more about stills and video, getting a hybrid camera like this is a sensible move. 

Read more: Panasonic Lumix G100

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6. Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III

A pocket-friendly premium compact with excellent vlogging features too

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Pocketable +Great video features 
Reasons to avoid
-No viewfinder -Fairly high price 

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

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7. Panasonic Lumix LX100 II

A flexible premium compact with large sensor and ideal travel lens

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Fast, versatile lens+Small and light 
Reasons to avoid
-Fixed rear screen-Modest upgrade from predecessor 

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.

Sony ZV-1

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony has adapted its RX100 design to make a brilliant vlogging camera

Specifications
Type: Compact
Sensor: 1in
Megapixels: 20.1MP
Lens: 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8
Screen: 3in vari-angle touchscreen, 921k dots
Max video resolution: 4K
Mic port: Yes
User level: Enthusiast
Reasons to buy
+Supplied mic windshield+Super-fast AF+Vari-angle screen
Reasons to avoid
-Small-ish rear screen and not 16:9

While the new Sony ZV-E10 spiritually supersedes it, the ZV-1 remains a great option that doesn't require you to faff with lens changing. Some might dismiss the ZV-1 as yet another Sony RX100 variant, but it’s much more than that. The sensor and lens might be familiar, but the body, the controls, the audio and the rear screen are all new and different and optimized brilliantly for vlogging. There are a couple of niggles. The huge change in the minimum focus distance when you zoom in is annoying and the SteadyShot Active stabilization didn’t work too well for us, but the autofocus is exceptional and the ZV-1 is a joy to use, not least because here at last is a vlogging camera that really is designed specifically for vlogging, right down to that fully vari-angle rear screen and the supplied mic windshield, which really does work brilliantly. It's also a LOT cheaper than the flagship Sony RX100 VII camera, despite offering a better proposition for vloggers.

Best phones for Instagram

iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

9. Apple iPhone 13 Pro

More evolution than revolution, but still the best iPhone ever

Specifications
Release date: September 2021
Rear cameras: 12MP f/1.5, 12MP f/1.8 ultrawide, 12MP f/2.8 telephoto
Front camera: 12MP
OIS: Yes
Weight: 204g
Dimensions: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.7mm
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB
Reasons to buy
+Extensively upgraded cameras+120Hz screen refresh rate
Reasons to avoid
-Still 'only' 3x optical zoom-Expensive

The Apple iPhone 13 Pro doesn't quite benefit from the same level of upgrades compared to the iPhone 12 Pro but it still has some welcome additions. There's a useful macro mode and its low light capabilities have been improved. There is also a Cinematic video mode which is a great feature if you want to start shooting more professional-looking Instagram videos. 

As expected, it has a triple-lens set up on the iPhone 13 Pro which gives us a standard (26mm), ultra-wide (13mm) and telephoto lens (78mm). Like in previous models you can shoot in 4K 60p and in Cinematic mode you can shoot in HD 30p which allows for a shallow depth of field.

Overall, the iPhone 13 Pro is without question the best iPhone for photographers to date (exactly what we’d expect) and it produces fantastic image and video quality, but it’s not for those who are particularly budget-conscious, especially if you’re already in possession of a 12 Pro which is very nearly as good.

Best camera for Instagram: Samsung Galaxy S10+

(Image credit: Samsung)

A well-featured camera app and three different lenses to choose from

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Flexible triple-lens setup+Well featured camera app+microSD cards can expand inbuilt memory
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey 

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

Best camera for Instagram: Huawei P30 Pro

(Image credit: Huawei)

A great camera phone, but with that cloud over Huawei's status

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Flexible triple-lens camera+Very well featured native app
Reasons to avoid
-No lens between 27mm and 125mm-Quite pricey 

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

Read more:

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• What are the best cameras right now?
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