If you're picking the best cameras for Instagram, you need to weigh up a few key factors in your mind. A good Instagram camera needs to be light enough to carry everywhere, while still being capable of producing excellent images – and videos too! Instagram is all about moving images as well as stills, with new TikTok-style 'Reels' being heavily prioritised by the algorithm, so if you are serious about building a following, it helps to be able to do it all.
Price is a factor too, as you really don't need to spend a huge amount on a great Instagram camera. So which is the best type to choose? Well, you could plump for one of the best mirrorless cameras, as these will do everything you need them to and allow you to swap between different lenses while still being affordable and portable. This isn't the case for all mirrorless cameras of course, and we've biased our list towards smaller and cheaper models when making our selections.
You don't want to go too far in this direction though. For instance, we wouldn't recommend point and shoot camera for Instagram, as they tend to be a little too simplistic for users who want their images to look good enough for sharing. If you like the sound of a self-contained package, choose one of the best compact cameras, as they will likely have larger 1-inch sensors and offer sophisticated video capabilities, making them a great choice for Instagram users.
It's also important not to count out smartphones! The cameras on the best phones currently on sale are getting better and better, and will uniformly possess that most important feature of all – the front-facing cameras for selfies and vlogging. We've included a few of these in the guide as well.
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
So we'll get this out of the way: yes, of course the iPhone 12 Pro Max is expensive. Pretty ludicrously expensive, with a four-figure price tag as new. But the thing is, yes, Apple has once again made one of the best smartphone cameras on the market, and it really is one of the best choices you can make for Instagram shooting. The powerful three-camera array, with a standard-wide, ultra-wide and telephoto lens working in tandem, is a truly spectacular affair. Now featuring a new Night Mode for the ultra-wide and standard cameras, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is one of the most versatile smartphone shooting experiences yet, with significant improvements under its bonnet, like Apple's 'Deep Fusion' technology, which analyses images down to the pixel to give them the best possible post-capture processing. This is basically phone photography on Easy Mode.
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
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
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