5 Best Cameras for Instagram: Step Up Your Photography Game Today! (2018)

The list of the top rated cameras for Instagram photos in 2018, across various budgets and categories. With videos and sample photos.


Look:

While you can take images with your smartphones, a lot of bloggers and Instagrammers actually use DSLRs and mirrorless cameras to get those stunning photos.

And guess what?

You don’t have to break the bank to get one for yourself.

In this post, you’ll learn about the best cameras for Instagram photos on the market…

…and the specific (budget) lenses you’ll need to create awesome #InstaPics.


Choosing the Right Photography Gear for Social Media


Here’s something you probably didn’t know about:

The body of the camera itself has nothing to do with the amount of blur created in a photo.

In fact:

It plays into image quality only to a certain extent.

All that…

  • photo crispiness,
  • sharp foreground, and
  • amazing background blur

… comes down to the lens

And, really you’re looking for lens, not camera, recommendations.

So:

For every camera on this list I’d recommend a 50mm lens with the ability for the aperture to open up really wide, of at least f/1.8, to create amazing photos.

Two more things:

  • Don’t buy point-and-shoot camera if you want awesome pics
  • If you only need cameras for social media​, you can safely skip full-frame cameras

Now…

My personal dream camera for all purposes is Leica Q.

It’s very expensive though.

Instead:

Today we’ll look at the best budget options for your blog and/or social media accounts.

What is the Best Camera for Instagram in 2018?

  • Nikon D3400 – The simplest budget DSLR under $500 (for beginners)
  • Sony a6300 – Packed with features to help you up your photo game in 2018
  • GoPro Hero 5 – Sweet action camera for adrenaline lovers (and waterproof too)
  • Canon Rebel T6i – Best budget friendly SLR camera for Instagram in 2018 
  • Panasonic Lumix G7 – Best budget mirrorless camera with 4K video (under $1000)


The following options aren’t cheap, but they sure are best value cameras (in my personal opinion).

Let’s dive in.


Best Cameras for Instagram and Blog Photos


Nikon D3400

  • Camera type: Compact SLR camera
  • Camera weight: 445 g 
  • Resolution: 24 MP
  • Sensor size: APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)
  • ISO: Auto, 100-25600
  • Articulated LCD: Fixed
  • Touchscreen: None
  • Environmentally sealed: No
  • Best/budget lens for Instagram: Yongnuo 50mm f/1.8 or Yongnuo 35mm f/2

Let’s be honest:

I recommend Nikon D3400 a LOT on this website.

Why?

Because, in my opinion, D3400 is one of the best entry-level DSLRs that you can buy in 2018.

I mean this baby is: 

  • easy to use, 
  • gives great image quality (even in low-light situations),
  • and costs less than $500.

It also has a feature called Snapbridge which will let you wirelessly transfer your photos from your camera to your smartphone (and then quickly upload to Instagram).

One more thing:

If you’re a total beginner in photography, this camera has Guide Mode which will literally teach you how to take photos.

How awesome is that?

In other words:

This DSLR will help you get started from scratch and it is ready to grow with you.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s usually under $500 (with the kit lens)?


Nikon D3400 Video Review: Real Life Field Test


Here’s the video review, mentioning camera features, its pros and cons, as well as real life photos​​ taken with D3400:


Let’s Talk About Image Quality of D3400


Here’s the thing:

This Japanese DSLR with a weight of 445 g has everything it needs.

The APS-C sensor has a resolution of 24 megapixels; the camera shoots photos with a resolution of 6000 x 4000 pixels.

The sharpness of the images is at its finest. 

Even in rather low-light conditions, D3400 gives out a great level of detail with ISO, let’s say, 3200.

To be frank:

The image noise becomes noticeable, starting at ISO 800 when shooting indoors. But good detailization is preserved up to ISO 3200 inclusive.

And, of course, under natural light, the photos are simply fabulous.

A photo of waterfall made with Nikon D3400. Great budget camera for Instagram and blog photos.
18.0mm · ƒ/22.0 · 20/10s · ISO 100

Additional Camera Features to Mention


A few more things to add:

Nikon D3400 records video in Full HD at 60 frames per second. 

Now…

I am not much of a video person, but I know that videographers will love this.

In my experience, when shooting a video, it’s best to use the sharp 3-inch display on the rear panel.

Keep in mind: 

Unfortunately, the LCD is not articulated and isn’t a touchscreen.

Another minor drawback of the display: the autofocus needs about 1.4 seconds, which is too long for snapshots.

Note:

The camera focuses much faster when using an optical viewfinder with 11 phase-focusing sensors.

One thing you’ll like is its battery life:

  • 2860 frames when shooting with the viewfinder, and, 
  • 237 minutes in the video shooting mode. 

(Here, Nikon D3400 proved to be better than its predecessor.)

A great feature for beginners:

This SLR camera has various Scene modes, such as portraits and sports shooting, as well as partially manual P, S, A, and M modes.

What’s convenient: 

The Guide Mode helps the beginners to correctly adjust focus to the subject of shooting.


What you might like about this camera:

  • amazing image quality for an entry-level DSLR
  • compact and lightweight
  • good ergonomics: every button is in its proper place
  • accurate autofocusing system
  • Guide mode available (great for beginners)
  • Full HD video at up to 60 fps
  • best bang for your buck

What you might not like about this camera:

  • pretty slow autofocus in Live View
  • HDR and bracketing aren’t available (for more advanced photographers)
  • no ultrasonic sensor cleaner (here’s how you can clean the camera sensor yourself).

What Lens to Use with Nikon D3400 for Instagram?


If you pair up D3400 with a nice prime lens, you can get really great #InstaPhotos.

Generally speaking:

You can get D3400 with a 18-55mm kit lens.

But…

As I mentioned in the introduction, for Instagram photos ideally you’d want to have 50mm lenses with a wide aperture. 

So, one option to consider is Yongnuo 50mm f/1.8 lens.

Another lens that you might like is Yongnuo 35mm f/2.

I’s a bit wider but still can give you that shallow depth-of-field (DOF). 


The Simplest Budget Camera for Instagram 2018


Whether you want:

  • to take family vacation pictures,
  • capture your kids playing around,
  • or shoot portrait photos for social media,

Nikon D3400 is a great entry-level camera for you.

I mean if you’re a total beginner, this DSLR will help you smooth your photography journey.

What about lenses?

If it’s your first DSLR, you might want to get it with kit lens. 

But…

For actual Instagram photos that give that awesome background blur, consider getting Yongnuo 35mm f/2 (a good cheap alternative).

Either way, you’ll have awesome photos. Give it a go and see for yourself!



Best Cameras for Instagram and Blog Photos


Sony a6300

  • Type: Rangefinder-style mirrorless
  • Weight: 404 g
  • Resolution: 24 MP
  • Sensor: APS-C CMOS
  • LCD screen: Tilting
  • Touchscreen: None
  • Weather resistant: Yes
  • ISO: Auto, 100-25600, boost to 51200
  • Best lens for Instagram: Sony 50mm f/1.8

Here’s the thing:

While Sony a6500 is already out on the market, it’s a bit more expensive.

So…

The best camera recommendation under $1000 in this case would be the a6300 model.

I mean it’s already packed with lots of features that will help you up your photo game.

Specifically:

  • built-in stabilization
  • 24MP sensor
  • 4K recording, and,
  • Full HD at 120 fps slow motion

These features alone will make you love it.


Sony a6300: Frustratingly Awesome (Video Review)


Check out the video review of the camera to give you a perspective of what to expect.


What Will You Love About Sony a6300?


Autofocus system:

Sony’s 4D autofocus system has the ability to fix on an object in just 0.05 seconds, setting a new record among APS-C sensor cameras with interchangeable lenses.

Specifically:

It has 425 phase detection points, which cover almost the whole field of the frame (as seen on the image below).

Fact is:

In the tracking autofocus mode the camera can work with a new high-density tracking AF algorithm, when at the most important point of the frame smaller focus points are used.

What does that mean?

Basically, the camera is able to focus quickly and accurately even at a burst rate of 11 frames per second.

(Which really helps in reportage shooting if you’re into this photography genre).

Besides that, an advanced tracking and autofocus are compatible with the Sony A-mount lenses, installed through the adapter.

Now…

Just because a6300 is a small and compact mirrorless camera, don’t consider it an amateur one.

Believe me, this camera is capable of a lot of things.

For example: 

When handheld shooting during night time, you will still manage to get high quality images.

(And your Instagram or blog followers will appreciate it.)


Sony a6300 Camera for Instagram Videos


There are good news for videographers too.

A6300 also has ultra-high-resolution 4K video and professional video functions:

  • 4K-record
  • Full Pixel Readout
  • S-Gamut/S-Log
  • Shooting at a speed of up to 120 frames per second.

You can shoot 4K directly on a memory card.

There is more detail than in older, more expensive models, a possibility of super-high-speed shooting of Full HD (120 frames per second) without changing the framing.

Keep in mind:

The camera has an input for a microphone, but there is no headphone jack that allows you to control the sound level.

At first I found this very unfortunate.

Well, because the Sony Alpha 6300 is a very good video camera: the Ultra HD mode at 30 fps guarantees a clear and detailed video image.

But then, I realized that Ryan Grams provided a solution for it. Here it is.

Either way:

With this baby you can easily create a quality clip and post it on Instagram to increase your popularity.


What you might like about this camera:

  • a sensor that produces a 14-bit RAW with an excellent dynamic range
  • confident work at high ISO
  • perfectly assembled metal body
  • a large viewfinder with high resolution
  • high burst rate (11 frames per second)
  • best among semi-professional autofocus cameras
  • recording video in 4K resolution; Full HD at a rate of 120 fps
  • advanced video recording capabilities (XAVC S, Log-S)
  • USB charging

What you might not like about this camera:

  • no headphone jack
  • the maximum exposure is only 1/4000 seconds
  • no built-in stabilizer

The Best Lens with a6300 for Instagram Pics


Here is the thing:

If you want that sharp foreground and amazing background blur (also known as bokeh), you really are looking for lens, not camera, recommendations.

And in intro, I mentioned to look for 50mm lens with wide aperture (of at least f/1.8).

So:

I suggest you pair up your Sony a6300 with the prime 50mm f/1.8 lens, which will allow you to create the beautiful bokeh effect.

Your Instagram photos will be STUNNING!


Sony a6300: Best Budget Mirrorless Camera for Instagram (Under $1000)


In short:

The Sony a6300 performs well in all aspects.

Even at high ISO units, the 24 MP sensor provides a great quality image. 

It gets better:

Its Ultra HD video mode and high speed of work make this camera irresistible for Instagram bloggers and influencers. 

Perhaps the perfectionists would prefer to have the built-in image stabilizer and touch screen as well…

… But despite the absence of these features, Sony a6300 remains to be one of the best (budget) mirrorless cameras with an APS-C sensor.

No camera is perfect but this one comes close to it.



Best Cameras for Instagrammers in 2018


GoPro Hero5

  • Camera type: VR/Action camera
  • Camera weight: 117 g 
  • Resolution: 12 MP
  • Sensor size: 1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
  • Articulated LCD: Fixed
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Environmentally sealed: Yes
  • Durability: Waterproof

Before I talk about the camera, I wanted to mention one of my favourite Instagram bloggers/influencers: JC Pieri.

And his photos are simply amazing, so do check out his IG page!

The reason why I am mentioning JC here is because he’s in a GoPro family member. 

And it was him who inspired me to include GoPro camera in this list of cameras for Instagram.

I realized that for adventure lovers (who need a good waterproof camera), GoPro is a great choice.

So…

What’s so special about it?

In a nutshell:

GoPro Hero5 is an awesome action camera for everyone and for everyday use. 

I mean it has the easiest, intuitive control. 

The good thing is that Hero5 is pretty durable and waterproof, and so it’s a very convenient camera for travel/vacation purposes.

Don’t you agree?

Now…

You might ask why I included Hero5 version instead of GoPro Hero6.

There are 2 main reasons:

  • Most users seem to lean more towards Hero5
  • Cheaper in price

Alright, let’s get into the details.


GoPro Hero5 Black & Session (Video Review)


Let’s start with Kyle’s video review.


GoPro for Instagram: What is This Baby Capable Of?


Without doubt, Hero5 is amazing: 

  • it’s waterproof,
  • it gives you high quality images, and, 
  • records great video with one push of a button.

Moreover, “regular” (non-extreme) people find it easy to use for everyday purposes.

Let’s cover a few features.


1) Resolution

When it comes to resolutions and angles of shooting, you can choose: from standard to ultra-wide, to the mode that removes that “fish eye” effect.

Here is a complete list of supported video resolutions:

  • 4K @ 30 fps;
  • 2.7K @ 60 fps;
  • 2.7K 4:3 @ 30 fps;
  • 1440p @ 80 fps;
  • 1080p @ 120 fps;
  • 960p @ 120 fps;
  • 720p @ 240 fps;
  • 480p @ 240 fps.

2) Video Stabilization

It’s a very useful addition. Though, it’s far from ideal.

Why do I say this?

Because:

  • there’s an inevitable cut-off of the shooting area by 10%,
  • the stabilization doesn’t work at frame rates above 60 per second,
  • and for 4K video is not provided at all.

And still…

It’s a worthy feature because it allows you to get much better video without professional photography accessories.


3) RAW Images and WDR

HERO5 Black can take 12-megapixel photos in RAW.

In my opinion, this is just another proof that GoPro wants to create its cameras as universal as possible and suitable for everyone. 

That includes photographers, for whom it’s critically important to have the ability of high-quality image post-processing.

It gets better:

A WDR mode is provided which allows you to capture more detail under adverse lighting conditions.


4) Waterproof Body

Indeed: 

The new generation of GoPro cameras can work when submerged to a depth of 10 meters without any additional accessories. 

(Compartments with battery and memory card, micro-HDMI and USB-C ports are securely protected with sealed plugs.)


5) GPS

HERO5 Black has a built-in GPS module. 

It’s a big advantage for landscape photographers and those who like using geo-tags overall.

What else can you ask for?


GoPro Hero5 Camera for Active Instagrammers


Truth is:

This camera turned out to be controversial in some ways, but the positive aspects clearly outweigh.

My opinion:

GoPro Hero5 is a great (advanced) alternative to smartphones for shooting photos and videos. 

It seems that the manufacturer wanted to make it convenient and understandable for an “ordinary” photographer, and he succeeded.

Now:

If you’re into adrenaline-full (underwater) activities who wants to share awesome pics on Instagram…

… Then I encourage to give it a go and see for yourself!



Best Cameras for Social Media and Blog Photos


Canon EOS Rebel T6i

  • Type: Compact SLR camera
  • Weight: 555 g
  • Resolution: 24 MP
  • Sensor: APS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm)
  • LCD screen: Fully articulated
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Weather sealed: No
  • ISO: Auto, 100-12800 (can expand to 25600)
  • Best lens for Instagram/blog: Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens

Here’s the thing:

For Canon fans, I often recommend Rebel T6i.

Why?

Because I sincerely think that this DSLR is a great investment for enthusiast photographers.

The 5 reasons why I think T6i is a great choice:

  • it has 24 MP sensor,
  • its autofocus is fast,
  • awesome articulated touch screen,
  • great work in Auto mode,
  • and, its (rather) attractive price tag.

Thanks to the presence of NFC and Wi-Fi, you’ll be able to shoot and upload your photos to your social media page straight away.

(Another reason why I recommend T6i as one of the best budget cameras for Instagram and blog photos.)


Video Review of Canon EOS T6i (750D)


Jim created a video review for the average consumer, so it won’t sound too “tech-y” and will be easy to understand.


Rebel T6i Camera Features Worth Mentioning


Let’s be honest:

Classic DSLRs don’t necessarily stand out with some interesting or “unusual” features.

But unlike previous Canon models, Rebel T6i (750D outside the Americas) did have certain innovations.

There are 2 important things I’d like to talk about:

  • image quality
  • Wi-Fi
  • video capabilities

Let’s start with the image quality.


1) Image Quality:

Even though the number of pixels was raised from 18MP to 24MP, I don’t think this change reflected on the image quality.

What you’ll love though is its improvement in color rendition (with artificial lighting).

In my experience, you can safely shoot photos up to ISO 12800 and not worry about losing the image quality.

I mean, T6i works great at high ISO (example below).

Now…

Combine it with convenient control with the touch screen and we see how close budget-friendly cameras get to their FX DSLR counterparts.

A photo made with Rebel T6i at high ISO
50.0mm · ƒ/5.0 · 1/60s · ISO 3200

2) Wi-Fi:

As an Instagram blogger/influencer, it’s important for you to get a camera that has a Wi-Fi feature.

I mean with the current trends, having no Wi-Fi in a camera is a serious drawback.

For what it’s worth:

It was the Nikon that started the era of budget SLR cameras with a built-in Wi-Fi, with their release of Nikon D5300 in late 2013.

(Later, this initiative was intercepted by the updated D5500 camera model.)

T6i’s predecessor didn’t have the Wi-Fi feature, so it sure is a correct step on Canon’s part.

Keep in mind:

Don’t expect this functionality to be of the same level as in, let’s say, Panasonic mirrorless cameras but it’s still quite decent.


3) Video Recording:

There are both advantages and disadvantages to T6i video capabilities.

First of all:

Full HD video shooting is possible with a frequency of up to 30 fps when using autofocus, as well as with auto or manual settings.

Also, you have the ability to control the parameters of the exposure and ISO using a touch screen.

However:

Unlike its competitor from the previous generation, Nikon D5300 DSLR, T6i still can’t master the 1080/60p mode. And only the MP4 (H.264) format is supported.

I mean for videographers that’s simply unacceptable.

And while the autofocus is correct, it’s still might be considered to be slow.

So, do keep this in mind if you like shooting videos on a regular basis.


What you might like about this camera:

  • burst rate up to 5 fps
  • Auto mode works great
  • fully articulated and responsive touch screen
  • 19-point phase autofocus (better than before)
  • large buffer for JPG photos
  • amazing image quality at high ISO
  • Scene modes and creative filters
  • accurate autofocus when recording videos
  • ability to control remotely

What you might not like about this camera:

  • small buffer when shooting in RAW
  • no HDR and interval timer shooting
  • not very well optimized Wi-Fi power consumption

Best Lens for Instagram to Get with T6i


I’ll repeat myself:

If you want to get crispy photos and great background blur, you need to go for lenses with the ability to open up really wide (have an aperture of at least f/1.8).

This being said:

My recommendation with T6i is Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens.


Canon Rebel T6i – A Great Budget DSLR for Instagram and Blog Photos


Here’s the thing:

While Canon wasn’t as “revolutionary” compared to their mirrorless competitors, T6i still is a great budget-friendly option in 2018.

Especially for those those who are:

  • Canon fans,
  • beginner photographers,
  • bloggers and/or Instagram influencers,
  • looking for a DSLR camera under $1000.

One more thing:

Scene modes and creative filters will definitely appeal to Instagram bloggers.

Check Rebel T6i out and see it for yourself!



Best Cameras for Instagram Under $1000


Panasonic G7

  • Type: SLR-style mirrorless camera
  • Weight: 410 g
  • Resolution: 16 MP
  • Sensor size: Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm)
  • LCD screen: Fully articulated
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Weather resistant: No
  • ISO: Auto, 160, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 25600
  • Best lens for Instagram/blog: Panasonic 25mm f/1.7

Look:

Panasonic Lumix G7 is another budget-friendly camera option in this list (under $1000 with the lens).

The G7 takes great photos and also can shoot in 4K, which is pretty amazing, considering the price point.

Important features to mention:

  • full-frame continuous shooting at a speed of 8 fps,
  • face and eye detection autofocus,
  • panoramic and time-lapse (interval) shooting;
  • built-in Wi-Fi.

My preference:

I personally would go for Sony a6300 as my mirrorless camera for Instagram…

… but if you’re looking for a great budget 4K camera under $1000 with the lens, then Panasonic G7 might be your best bet.


Hands-on Field Test with Panasonic G7 (Video)


Let’s start with a video review as usual.

Note: Chris refers to G7 as the “brand new camera” but the video was shot a couple years ago, so G7 is definitely not brand new in 2018 (but still worth checking out).


Lumix G7 for Instagram: Let’s Get Down to Details


​Guess what:

At first glance, you won’t be able to tell if Lumix G7 is a mirrorless camera, because it has all of the features present in DSLR cameras:

But once you pick it up, you’ll know the difference.

What is it made of?

If we get into the technical characteristics, Lumix G7 is built on the basis of CMOS-sensor in the format of micro 4/3 for 16 megapixels.

It’s actual sensor size is 17.3 x 13 mm (which is about half the size of the FX sensor).

What’s the big deal about micro four-thirds lenses?

The micro 4/3 system is very good in that there is a huge amount of lenses for it.

And if that’s not enough…

You can always buy an adapter and put on any lens for the Canon or Nikon lens mount.

Features to mention:

The maximum ISO value is 25 600, but the operating value for the camera is 3200 for JPG and 6400 for RAW.

The shutter speed range is 1/16000 to 60 seconds.

The electronic shutter operates in a noiseless mode. And it really is noiseless.

​Autofocus:

​That’s yet another advantage of Lumix G7 camera. It’s a contrast type AF and has 49 points.

This means that:

  • it’s fast,
  • it’s accurate,
  • and works in low-light situations.

That’s pretty much all you need to know.

Dog portrait with Panasonic Lumix G7 (great camera for Instagram photos too).
Sweet portrait photo of a dog (taken with Lumix G7)

Lumix G7 Offers 4K Video and Photo Modes


Truth is:

If you love 4K, you’ll likely love Lumix G7.

This 4K burst rate novelty is dictated the its brand new processor.

The end result sure is very detailed.

(This means that besides quality photos, it’s a great camera for Instagram videos too.)

Now:

Video resolution can be selected between the following values:

  • 3840 x 2160 (30, 25, 24, 20fps),
  • 1920 x 1080 (60, 50, 30, 25fps),
  • 1280 x 720 (60, 50, 30, 25fps), and,
  • 640 x 480 (30, 25 fps).

Its burst rate is 8 fps but Lumix G7 also has a 4K-photo function, which allows you to take a series of pictures at a burst rate of 30 fps with a resolution lowered to 8 megapixels.

It gets better:

Now, there are a few new 4K Photo modes​:

  • 4K Burst Shooting – this is a normal continuous shooting.
  • 4K Burst Start/Stop (S/S) – you record 4K video, and then cut a frame out from it.
  • 4K Pre-burst – records 4K one second before and after pressing the recording button.

Basically, it allows to “never miss that moment”.


What you might like about this camera:

  • high burst rate and image buffer
  • best video capabilities in its category
  • pretty easy to manage
  • Picture-in-picture and focus peaking mode
  • 4K video and photo modes
  • fully articulated LCD screen

What you might not like about this camera:

  • no headphone jack
  • autofocus isn’t crazy fast (compared to other cameras on this list)
  • plastic camera body

Choosing a Lens with Lumix G7 for Instagram


Gotcha! This time you’re not looking for a 50 mm f/1.8 lens to create awesome Instagram pictures.

Instead:

You will want a Panasonic 25 mm f/1.7 lens to pair up with Lumix G7 camera.


Panasonic Lumix G7 – Best Budget 4K Camera for Social Media (Under $1000)


Here’s the deal:

In the face of Lumix G7, Panasonic managed to make a very convenient, highly functional and high-quality camera.

I mean, it has:

  • quality camera body,
  • bright electronic viewfinder,
  • fast autofocus,
  • top 4K video quality,
  • and high burst rate,
  • best value for price

Without a doubt:

Right now, it is probably one of the cheapest 4K camera options.

Panasonic Lumix G7 alternative:

Another camera you can look at is Nikon D5500 (my review).

It is also:

  • a great camera for beginners
  • creates Instagram-worthy photos
  • under $1000

What else can you ask for?



What is the Best Camera for Instagram in 2018?


So:

Here is my top rated 5 best cameras for blogging on Instagram, across various budgets and from different brands.

I’ve done my part…

…and now, I’d like to hear from YOU:

  • Do you prefer mirrorless or DSLRs?
  • What is the best camera for Instagram pictures as of 2018, in your opinion?

Any questions and/or thoughts about my list of the 5 best cameras for Instagram photos are welcome!

Click here to jump straight to the comment section.


5 Best Cameras for Instagram: Step Up Your Photography Game Today! (2018)
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