- Camera > Smartphone
- Best Beginner Instagram Cameras
- Best Mid-Range Instagram Cameras
- Best High-End Instagram Cameras
- Choose Based on Your Needs and Budget
- Important Features to Focus On for Camera for Social Media Photos/Videos
- Here’s the Final Word
Did you know that the quality standards at Instagram have been steadily going up?
Perhaps the fact that pictures and videos taken using a smartphone are getting little to no traction on social media has what brought you here.
We covered best cameras for IG in 3 categories:
But before that, let’s see why digital cameras are better than smartphone cameras for social media:
Camera > Smartphone
Some of you may be wondering why you need a dedicated camera for video and photography. Well, simply put, a smartphone would likely never be able to get you the same results as a dedicated camera.
Smartphones are designed to do a lot of stuff, with taking pictures and videos just being one of them. Due to this, they are no match for a DSLR that has been specifically designed to take great quality images and videos.
A good camera would capture a lot more detail than a smartphone, the videos taken on a smartphone would look extremely amateurish when compared to the full HD 1080P or 4K ones taken using a dedicated camera, and the low light performance of a smartphone is laughable as against some cameras that shoot just as well in low light conditions.
And although smartphones are improving with respect to their photography capabilities, the sensor technology is improving massively too, meaning that even if smartphones become in 10 years what dedicated cameras are today, then the latter would be something much more advanced at that point.
With that being out of the way, let’s see check out cameras that Instagrammers use:
Best Beginner Instagram Cameras
Best Entry Level DSLR: Nikon D3400
The Nikon D3400 is an entry level DSLR that would work great for people that are new to professional Instagramming and wouldn’t like to spend a lot of money when starting out. However, that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t let you create professional quality content for your Instagram account.
In fact, the D3400 is one of the few DSLRs at this price point that can take pictures and videos that are easily comparable to what a high-end DSLR would produce.
The D3400 boasts a great ISO management despite its cheap price; you would be able to take decent pictures even if you go as high as 25600.
Similarly, the 24.2MP CMOS sensor doesn’t leave anything to be desired either. It takes amazingly sharp pictures and captures great detail. There’s absolutely no distortion, noise or blurriness in the pictures, even in the ones taken at night or in low light conditions.
It shoots RAW as well, which is again great to have at this price point. This is also one of the features that would go a long way in helping you create professional quality content.
The D3400 outperforms even some of the most high-end DSLRs in one department, and that’s the battery life. If you’re looking to do a lot of outdoor shooting for building your IG account, then the D3400 would make a great choice unless you can afford to spend well over a grand on a much more expensive DSLR.
The video quality is surprisingly good, too. The D3400 also has vibration reduction, which is basically just another term for video stabilization, meaning you would be able to capture great videos even if there’s a lot of action or you have to move when recording the video. This further adds to its capability as an “outdoor” camera.
Finally, the build quality is excellent as well, and there’s no doubt that the Nikon D3400 is a great all-round camera, especially for beginners and the users that are on a budget.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Best Entry Level Mirrorless: Sony a6000
Some highly experienced photography experts say that it’s a perfect camera for beginners, especially for taking professional quality pictures of landscapes and wildlife.
Just like the D3400, the photos taken using the a6000 come out amazingly detailed, and there’s no noise or any other issues whatsoever with the pictures.
The basic lens it comes with can be a bit limited though – especially if you’re looking to take professional quality pictures without limiting yourself to landscape or outdoor photography – but you can later replace it with an additional lens to transform its photography capabilities.
Even customers that are professional photographers are all praise for the a6000. One of the customers mentioned in their review that they have been in the photography business since about 16 years, and used tons of mirrorless cameras over time. However, they say almost nothing comes close to offering what the a6000 does.
Indeed, a6000 is such a versatile camera that it has many uses besides photography (it’s also included in our article about cameras for music videos)
It’s a very fast camera, and would take great pictures even when you only have a second or two to take a shot, without letting blurriness or distortion creep in. It also handles all types of lighting conditions extremely well, which is more than what you can ask for at this price.
The focus is great and very fast as well, and customers using the camera for shooting weddings and taking pictures of the bride, too, have said that they are extremely impressed with it. The grain structure is as good as it can get at this price, and the ISO management is just as good too; you wouldn’t have any problem taking excellent pictures at ISO 6400.
It records full HD 1080/60p videos, and the AF when recording videos is very accurate and fast as well. The a6000 supports WiFi as well, and you would be able to quickly transfer all the pictures seamlessly to your smartphone.
One last thing though. The battery life may not seem as good as the other features; in fact, for some users, it would be disappointingly bad.
However, that’s because of a flaw. The camera keeps searching for WiFi networks even when it’s turned off, which is what causes the battery drain. To fix this, simply set the Airplane mode on before turning off the camera, and you would be surprised how good the battery life gets after doing this.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Best Mid-Range Instagram Cameras
Best Mid-Range DSLR: Canon 80D
If you don’t want to settle for something that’s more suitable for beginners and rather go for a more professional camera, then the Canon EOS 80D wouldn’t fail to impress you.
While a beginner can totally get used to it, it has some features that professionals wouldn’t find in the first two cameras we reviewed above.
First of all, unlike the first two cameras above, it comes with a touchscreen. The touchscreen is very responsive, and allows users to quickly change the autofocus. And this is perfectly complemented by an extremely accurate and fast autofocus, which means taking the right shots at the right moments would no longer be challenging.
As we all know, those “special moments” shots are much more likely to go viral on Instagram, getting you the fame you’re after.
The great touchscreen and autofocus combo works not only for pictures, but also for videos. After all, being able to do focus pulls at the right time when taking a video with a lot of action or many subjects and elements can greatly improve the overall quality of your videos. And did we mention that the 80D boasts a dual pixel autofocus system?
But that’s not all. The 80D’s touchscreen is also articulating, meaning that using the camera from any angle you want would be a breeze, and it would really give you a lot of flexibility with respect to the type of shots you can take, which is why it’s a best camera for makeup artists.
Finally, while you don’t get 4K recording with the 80D, its full HD 1080/60P is probably just as good. And the video quality is further enhanced by a great audio quality, while you also get a headphone jack that allows you to monitor your audio.
Overall, it’s a great semi-professional DSLR that outshines most of its competition for both taking pictures and videos.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Best Mid-Range Mirrorless: Fujifilm X-T20
If you prefer a mirrorless camera over a DSLR, then the Fujifilm X-T20 would appeal to you better than the Canon EOS 80D. This is not only because of the lower weight, however, as the X-T20 also comes with some great feature upgrades over the 80D.
The biggest difference is that you can shoot 4K videos, which is obviously great to have when you plan to do professional quality videos for your IG account. The 4K recording is complemented beautifully by some unique film simulation effects and a great audio quality.
Another feature of the X-T20 that we are very impressed with is its ability to allow even beginners to take perfectly professional quality pictures. If you’re a beginner, you won’t need to do any messing around with the settings or have to work on your photography skills. This camera seems to do pretty much everything on its own – you just have to take the right kind of pictures and hit the capture button!
The processor is fairly quick, and the raw shooting works great. Sure, you won’t be able to shoot a nascar race with it, but for the usual stuff, you would wouldn’t find anything to complain about.
The low light performance is so good it would blow you away. This is especially for this price, where you only find mid-range semi-professional cameras at best.
The pictures come out extremely clean and sharp, no matter what lighting conditions you’re shooting in.
Then there’s also the articulating touchscreen, which is easily comparable to the EOS 80D. The autofocus and video stabilization are great as well, and the autofocus in particular is very snappy.
The X-T20 is an interchangeable lens camera – and the battery life is decent as well – which makes it a very “complete” product at this price.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Best Small Instagram Camera: Sony DSC-RX100 V
Let us tell you right off the bat that the Sony DSC-RX100 V is the best compact camera, and it’s not something we would recommend for all Instagrammers in general.
But if you need a camera that allows you to take great pictures and videos while still being very compact, lightweight and travel-friendly.
And if that’s what you’re looking for, then look no further. The DSC-RX100 V is everything you would want it to be.
It comes with a great electronic viewfinder, a fairly fast and accurate hybrid autofocus system, has a very fast shooting speed – including continuous shooting at 24fps, 20.1 MP and more.
However, some of the most surprising features are the 4K recording performance and the super slow motion shooting, which would be completely unexpected at this price point.
RX100 V is a camera with a flip screen, which makes it a great camera for vlogging and selfies.
There’s also 3.6x optical zoom, which would make it easier to take detailed images when traveling and shooting things that are at a long distance to where you’re shooting from.
Being a travel camera, the battery life is fantastic. And despite being a much cheaper camera when compared to most other cameras that come with 4K recording, it records 4K videos with great clarity and details.
You would also have full manual controls, which would really please professional photographers.
Finally, it weighs just about 30% of what the D850 does, meaning it’s extremely lightweight and would be a breeze to carry during your travel and take great pictures and videos.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Best High-End Instagram Cameras
Best Pro DSLR Camera: Nikon D850
Here’s our first high-end camera – a sophisticated Nikon DSLR. And it’s one of the few cameras on the market to have received almost universally positive reviews, so you can certainly be sure of getting pretty much the best money can buy.
Its technical specifications are spectacular to say the least:
- Best-in-class 45.7MP full frame image sensor to help you take the kind of images you would only see on some of the most successful Instagrammers’ accounts
- Great dynamic range to take perfectly clear images even when you’re at a long distance
- Up to 9fps continuous shooting without any restrictions or limitations
- Ultra HD 4K recording performance
- Supports recording slow motion videos in 1080p, at up to 120fps
- Very large autofocus coverage, with the focus itself being unbelievably accurate
- Many other useful features such as a tilting touchscreen, huge pixel coverage, a unique shooting mode, and a great battery life
Even the most experienced of photographers that have used many different high-end cameras before were left amazed the second they took their first shot with this beast. The detail is so incredible it makes the pictures as realistic as they probably can be, even when shooting in low light conditions.
The sharpness, however, is hard to define. We don’t think words can do justice to how sharp the pictures taken using the D850 turn out to be, so we would instead recommend you to visit Amazon and check the pictures the customers have posted. You will then understand exactly what we mean here.
The touchscreen is so smooth and responsive it gives a run to your iPhone’s touchscreen, which is saying something given you would never expect that kind of touchscreen responsiveness from a camera.
The touchscreen also tilts and is very flexible, besides being large and completely lag-free, with the “refresh rate” being almost completely real-time as well.
The autofocus is not only extremely accurate, but also very fast, and with the highly responsive touchscreen, the focus would change as soon as your finger touches a particular area of the screen.
The video quality, however, isn’t as good as the image quality, but that’s definitely not saying it isn’t impressive too. It’s just that there’s only focus peaking when shooting in 1080p, and not in 4K, but if you don’t mind that, you would be able to shoot professional quality videos too without much of a problem at all.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Best Pro Mirrorless Camera: Sony Alpha A7 III
The Sony Alpha A7 III is our pick when it comes to high-end mirrorless cameras. It’s packed with lots of great features in a relatively lightweight body, which also makes it a much better choice as a high-end travel camera, especially when compared to high-end DSLRs like the Nikon D850 that we reviewed above.
First, some technical details:
- A 42.4 MP CMOS sensor that’s specifically designed to offer a stunning low light performance, which it certainly does
- Amazingly fast processor, so if you tend to shoot lots of images together when shooting a high action event, then the A7 III would live up to your expectations
- One of the most advanced hybrid autofocus systems, with about 400 AF points covering pretty much every single point of the screen to offer you the best AF system you may have ever had the pleasure of using
- Continuous shooting at 10fps, with the AF working extremely well too
- Two different modes when doing continuous shooting
- The ISO range being expandable to an impressive 50 – 102400 for still images
- Advanced in-body image stabilization – the only feature lacking in the D850 – forget having to carry around a bulky tripod even if you’re a professional
- Two card slots
- 4K recording performance with full frame sensor produces exceptionally detailed video footage
- Slow motion shooting at 120fps
Honestly, the list can go on and on. The A7 III’s EVF, too, is fantastic and would blow away the traditional OVF of most high-end DSLRs any day of the week. However, the only downside to it is that the A7 III can’t start as instantly as the D850, and takes a moment to start up.
The image quality is just as good as you get with the D850, although some people might prefer one over the other based on their personal preferences. However, the image quality is mind-blowing with the A7 III too – that’s something you can be sure of.
The video quality is excellent, the body ergonomics are very well-designed, and the battery life is pretty good, too. Our final word: Good luck finding a better camera for your Instagram endeavors even if you’re willing to spend more.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Choose Based on Your Needs and Budget
The best digital camera for Instagram would depend on your needs and the type of content you plan to post on IG. For instance, if you’re someone that want to showcase your skateboarding skills, then an action camera would likely be your best bet.
Similarly, if you plan to post about your travels and build a following that way, then a compact travel camera is what you would want to get.
However, if you’re not looking for something highly specific like the above two types of users, then a high-end DSLR or mirrorless camera would be as good as it can get for you.
But if you’re on a budget and are only starting your Instagramming journey, then a budget-friendly, entry level DSLR or mirrorless camera would offer you the best of both words: great functionality and the ease of use you need to get started quickly and without any hiccups.
You should also consider additional equipment, like a tripod (check our picks for under $100) and a camera bag.
Important Features to Focus On for Camera for Social Media Photos/Videos
One of the most important features any Instagrammer would want to look for is an all-round performance. Many cameras on the market are great at either photos or videos, but not both. Unless you only plan to do one type of content (which may limit your account’s reach), you should avoid those cameras and instead consider the ones that offer an all-round performance.
Similarly, 1080P HD recording is a must these days, and you should ideally not settle for anything less. For videos, another important feature would be video stabilization and there being no noise issues.
Coming to images – which would probably be the majority of content for most social media – the camera’s sensor would be crucial. However, it’s not just the megapixels that matter, but also the overall quality.
The camera must be able to take images that are sharp and detailed, as such images do a lot better on Instagram than the others that are not as sharp or detailed.
The low light performance can be an extremely important feature as well. There are also some other features, which we will discuss as we review our best picks below.
Here’s the Final Word
Honestly speaking, while these are all good cameras for Instagram, there really isn’t something that we can term as THE best camera for social media.
This is because they differ quite a bit from one another, with the price being the biggest factor. Similarly, some of them try to serve to a particular type of users, such as the HERO5 for action and travel users, and the Sony DSC-RX100 V for an all-round functional camera for travel Instagrammers.
Of course, if the price is not an important factor for you, then both the D85 and the A7 III would be the very best you can get.
However, if you’re on a budget and new to social media, the beginner-friendly cameras we reviewed before everything else should be right up your alley.