Trying to find the best cameras for Instagram can be a real pain. I get it, and I’ve been there. When I first started my journey on Instagram I was using an Iphone 4 that had a 5 megapixel camera on it. It did what I needed it to do, but I didn’t know anything about taking photos. I was just capturing memories for myself while creating a business (that I did not know would actually be one). Once I realized I could make money from my account, I sought out after the best cameras for Instagram.
About 7-8 years ago I had purchased my first Canon camera, and at the time it was top of the line. It shot 10 megapixels! It actually was not that great of a camera looking back, but it worked for the time. Currently I shoot with a variety of cameras and lens with varying megapixels and degrees of advanced use. My two primary cameras are a Canon and an Olympus. Then I also shoot with a GoPro and my phone.
What I would strongly recommend before you purchasing any camera is deciding what you actually want from it. Why I upgraded from my cellphone to a camera literally came down to photo quality and the ability to have photos in a high enough resolution to be published in magazines or online without losing quality. Cell phone cameras have gotten better in the last couple of years and the resolution has gone up a bit. Occasionally I capture a shot with my phone that comes out better than my camera, but I try and shoot only with a camera.
Below I have compiled the best cameras for Instagram. This is my opinion, and really it is based on what YOU are after in your own content. No two people are truly the same, so really think about what it is you need before you make the investment.
Best Cameras For Instagram: For The Newbie
I want to come right out and say, you do NOT have to purchase the best camera on the market to take good photos. Photography comes from learning and a lot of practice. Having a good eye for what looks good is also a big plus. There are incredible photographers who only shoot with their phones. Buying any camera does not fix anything. You still need to learn to use it, have a creative eye and edit in a way that not only speaks to you, but your audience.
First I want to start with the cell phone cameras. A lot of people only use their phones to shoot with, and that is ok. Photos are more than what you shoot with, like I said above. If you know lighting and have a great eye, you could really shoot with anything. The only thing I would mention is, cell phones tend to have low megapixels, which means you can only expand them so far before they lose their quality. If you want to get your photos in magazines and online publications, I would not go this route.
- iPhone – I use the iPhone 8 Plus and I have found that often in certain lighting, the phone takes better pictures than the camera. The camera both front facing and rear is 12 megapixel. which means the quality is really good, especially for Instagram because the photos aren’t that big. A lot of upgrades were made for this camera to include portrait modes and various shooting scenarios.
- Google Pixel 3XL – it has been said that this is the best cell phone camera on the market (currently 2019). Coming in with 122 megapixels and a fantastic portrait mode.
Next I want to move into the best cameras for Instagram for the newbie. I actually use all of these cameras because they have an extremely easy learning curve and I love the quality of the photos that come from it. I purchased my Canon three years ago when I wanted to up my photo game from my iPhone 4 and I got my Olympus from working with the brand. My GoPro was one of the first cameras I purchased (before my Canon).
- Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR – My Canon is one of two primary cameras I shoot with. This was my first purchase when I turned Instagram and blogging into a career. At the time, I dropped some coin for this. Now it is much cheaper. What I love about the kit I linked, is that it comes with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens, Built-in WiFi and 18 megapixels. The 18-55 is my primary lens and what I have shot most photos on over the last three years. It is a great everyday lens and one of the best cameras for Instagram, in my opinion. The built-in WiFi was the ultimate selling point when I first started. I could download right to my phone, edit and upload. It was that easy.
- Olympus OM-D E-M10 MARK III – This Olympus camera is the easiest camera I have ever used before. This camera comes with a 16 megapixels, which I wasn’t thrilled about before receiving it. However, I have since changed my mind because the quality of the images are just amazing. I have had several of my photos taken with this camera shared on various FORBES pages on Instagram. In addition, there is built-in WiFi and one of my favorite features, is the SCENE Mode on the camera. Scenes are already built in for various situations and you pick the one for which you are shooting with and then take photos. Pretty easy! Took me about 25 minutes to learn to use this camera.
- GoPro Hero 7 – the GoPro has been a first camera for many users, especially adrenaline junkies. If you like to be outside doing epic stuff, this is for you. The quality is 12 megapixels BUT the video has upgraded to 4K, which is fantastic. The camera is waterproof itself, so you don’t have to get an additional housing. This kit that I linked comes with memory cards and a spare battery. I have the GoPro 4 and the battery life isn’t that great. I keep 4 batteries on me.
- Underwater dome – this is most popularly used to take the over/under water shots with the split screen.
- DJI Spark Mini Drone – learning to fly a drone can come with some challenges. I wouldn’t recommend putting all your money into the fanciest one on the market until you are comfortable flying one. I live in an area with a no fly zone for an insane amount of miles, which means I can’ just practice when I am home. Giving me limited time to really use it. I would highly suggest buying a cheaper one like this to start with and make sure you can get comfortable with it.
Best Cameras For Instagram: Intermediate User +
I would classify myself as an intermediate user of cameras. There is always something new to learn and a new technology hitting the market. I deliberately have not upgraded my equipment because I am happy with the photos I keep producing. However, I often test cameras to see their capabilities. The below are my picks for best cameras for Instagram for those who are above an intro level.
If you are looking to shoot more complex photos or even getting into videos or vlogging, some of these may be for you.
- Canon EOS R – this is the new (2018) Mirror-less camera from Canon. This camera comes in at a whopping 30.3 megapixel full frame and shoots video in 4K. One thing to note: you need to buy an adapter for your other Canon Lenses to fit (if you have some) OR special lenses were released for this camera. You are going to spend some coin on this camera and the learning curve if you already own a Canon is a bit different.
- DJI Mavic 2 – this is a step up from the Mavic 1, and the biggest improvement is that it gives 20 megapixels on still photos. If you are out photographing epic landscapes, hotels, beaches, etc – this is the aerial view camera for you. I selected this kit because it comes with everything. Spare batteries, memory cards, bags, etc.
- Sony Alpha a7RIII – this is an extremely popular camera among vloggers and video makers. Some would argue it is the best camera on the market with 42 megapixels, 4K video, and shoots continuously at 10 frames per second without losing quality.
- Canon EOS 5D Mark IV – this Canon is simply one of the best cameras for Instagram when you think about the full picture. It is a full frame camera that shoots incredible photos and videos, and is widely used by influencers in all fields on the gram. The camera shoots in 30.4 megapixels in full frame and video in 4K. I would strongly urge you not to buy this camera with no experience. It IS a beast to take on and heavier than most cameras.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to do some research and know what you want from the camera before you buy it. If having a Wi-Fi capability is a priority, don’t buy a camera that doesn’t support it. It will just add extra work for yo at the end of the day downloading them to a computer first. If you want images that can be blown up without losing quality, definitely get something with a high resolution.
Best Cameras For Instagram: The Additional Items To Consider
After you purchase your camera, you should consider the other items you may need for your photos. For a list of photography equipment I recommend, see here.
- Adobe Lightroom – I use this to edit all my photos. This is the most popular photo editing program for Instagram because a lot of influencers sell presets or make their own to use.
- Additional editing programs:
- Acolorstory App: I love this app because you buy filter packs relatively cheap in the app. If you are panning to stick to a theme, this is a very inexpensive way to do it.
- Additional editing programs:
- Camera Bag – I LOVE my Lo & Sons Claremont Camera Bag. It looks like a purse and I have been using it since 2016. It is in fantastic condition and most people don’t realize that I can fit 1-2 cameras, lenses, memory cards, passport, wallet, money, etc inside. It is a very nice, quality bag.
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