Cell phone cameras are far and away the most popular way to shoot pictures and post them on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
One of the big announcements when the latest iPhone 7 (street price: $649 for 32GB) was announced had to do with the camera enhancements – especially the dual lenses on the iPhone 7 Plus and portrait mode. Highlights include: optical image stabilization, an f/1.28 aperture, and a six-elements lens. There’s also advanced features like wide color capture and Quad-LED True Tone flash.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ 32GB Smartphone (street price: $599.95) is equally impressive, providing a hi-res 5.7-inch Super AMOLED screen, a f/1.9 5MP front camera and f/1.9 16MP rear cameras, built-in Bluetooth 4.2, dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi for high-speed Internet connectivity, and integrated Wi-Fi Direct and NFC (Near Field Communication) for connecting to compatible wireless devices for sharing content or uploading to social media. It also has Video Collage Mode and Series Shooting for seamlessly combining long or short video clips respectively, and Slo-Mo mode.
Snapchat (now Snap, Inc.) recently announced its first hardware product named Spectacles, which are sunglasses that will record 10-second snippets of video and the cameras employ a 115-degree lens.
Why do you need a real camera?
With such incredible specs plus the smartphone advantage of always having a high-performance, multifunctional device with you, why should anyone bother to use a “real” camera to upload images to social media? Because Wi-Fi enabled cameras make it nearly as easy to post images as the latest smartphones, while delivering superior image quality and control due to their much larger, higher-res sensors, along with the enhanced creative flexibility of interchangeable or true zoom lenses, including ultra-wide-angles and super telephotos. In short, even if you opt for one of the state-of-the-art smartphones above to capture some of your social media images using a real camera will let you create images that really stand out, showcase your presence, and enhance the effectiveness of your messages.
If your specialty is sports, action, landscapes, wildlife, portraiture, or product shots and you want your social media images to stand apart from the crowd, do yourself a favor and shoot and post them with a good Wi-Fi-enabled camera like one of the 10 top models described and detailed below.
A pair of high-performance point-and-shoots
Canon PowerShot G7 X: With a 1-inch 20.2MP High Sensitivity CMOS sensor coupled to a cutting-edge DIGIC 6 image processor, and a wide aperture 24-100mm equivalent 4.2X f/1.8-2.8 optical zoom lens, this handsome camera delivers enhanced image control options, excellent image quality and low light performance, ISOs to 12800, Full HD 1080p video at 60 fps, and a maximum burst rate of 6.5 fps. Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity allows instant sharing directly to social networking sites, NFC streamlines sharing, and linked mobile devices can be used to control the camera and release the shutter. Street price: $599.00.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III: This sleek, stylish camera has a hi-res 1-inch Exmor R 20.1MP BSI CMOS sensor, an advanced BIONZ-X image processor and a 24-70mm-equivalent Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens that delivers outstanding image quality and bokeh. Its maximum sensitivity can be extended to ISO 25600 in Multi-Frame NR for shooting in very low light, and the compact design includes a 0.39-inch 1440k-dot SVGA OLED Tru-Finder EVF as well as a tilting 3.0-inch Xtra Fine LCD. It can shoot Full HD 1080p movies in XAVC S format at 60, 30 and 24fps. Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity facilitates sharing, social networking, and uploading to the Cloud, and NFC allows one-touch connection to mobile devices, which can display live view images and control the camera remotely. Street price: $798.00.
A quartet of well-connected mirrorless cameras
Sony Alpha a6300: This impressive new 24.2MP APS-C-format camera with CMOS sensor and advanced BIONZ X image processor provides enhanced UHD 4K video capture, a full-res RAW burst rate of up to 11 fps for 21 frames, 4D focus that combines wide-area 425-point phase detection with a 169 zone contrast-detect zones to deliver precise, decisive AF, superior object identification, faster tracking, and a blazing 8 fps burst rate in live view. The a6300 provides 14-bit RAW file output for capturing a wider tonal range and color gamut, ISO settings up to 51200, a 2.36m-dot OLED EVF Tru-Finder, and a 3.0-inch 921.6-dot tilting LCD monitor. Its connectivity credentials include built-in Wi-Fi for uploading images directly to social media, and NFC, allowing one-touch connection to mobile devices, displaying live view images, remote control and firing, and personalizing the camera features via the PlayMemories Camera Apps. Street price: $1,148.00 with 16-50mm lens.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8: This elegant, compact camera incorporates a new 20.3 MP Digital Live MOS sensor coupled to an advanced Venus Engine image processor, can capture 4K UHD video at 30 and 24 fps, and record full-res stills at 10 fps with autofocus (AF-S) or 8 MP stills at 30 fps. It also features a unique Dual Image Stabilization system combining both in-lens, and in-body I.S., a 2.36m-dot Live View OLED EVF, a swiveling 3.0-inch 1.04m-dot OLED Touchscreen Monitor, a High-Speed 49-point AF system, sensitivity settings to ISO 25600, and built-in Wi-Fi and NFC for seamless connection to social media. Street price in black or silver: $997.99, body only.
Olympus Pen-F: Blending cool retro styling with today’s tech, this elegant Micro Four Thirds-format camera has a 20.3MP Live MOS sensor with no low-pass filter, coupled with an advanced TruPic VII image processor that captures low-noise images and delivers Full HD 1080p video at 30 and 60 fps, a 10 fps full-res burst rate using a mechanical shutter, and a sensitivity range extended to ISO 25600. Other features: in-camera 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization, 81-zone contrast-detection AF, a Creative Control dial, a hi-res 2.36m-dot OLED EVF, an articulated 3.0-inch 1,037k-dot touchscreen LCD, and a Hi-Res Shot mode that combines 8 frames into a single 50MP-equivalent image. Social media creds include Wi-Fi for pairing it to smartphones and other devices, and a QR mode to speed up wireless connections or control the camera remotely. Street price: $1,199.00 in black or silver, body only.
Samsung NX500: Attractively contoured, it has an ultra-hi-res 28.2MP APS-C-format BSI CMOS sensor coupled to an advanced DRIMe V Signal Processor and can record 4K HEVC video at 24 fps, and incorporates a 3.0-inch 1036k-dot AMOLED screen that tilts up to 180 degrees for shooting selfies. Its NX Autofocus System III has 205 phase-detect points (153 of which are cross-type) and 209 contrast-detection points for fast, precise AF, and provides a maximum full-res burst rate of up to 9 fps, and sensitivity settings up to ISO 51200. Files can be downloaded via the USB 2.0 connection, NFC capability allows individual images to be transferred to a smartphone or tablet with one tap, large image files can be transferred to social media via 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth can be used to activate Wi-Fi, allowing GPS tagging of images in real time. Street price: $799.00 with 16-50mm Power Zoom lens.
A brace of enthusiast-aimed DSLRs with Wi-Fi…and more
Canon EOS Rebel T6s: This stylish new Rebel has been upgraded with a new 24.2 MP APS-C CMPS sensor coupled to a state-of-the-art DIGIC 6 Image Processor. It incorporates a new Hybrid CMOS III AF system with 19 cross-type AF sensors for faster, more accurate autofocus, and it provides Wi-Fi with NFC, enabling fast connections to mobile devices as well as the CS100 Connect Station. Other features: ISO settings expandable to ISO 25600, a 3.0-inch Vari-Angle 1.04M-dot ClearView II touchscreen LCD, a maximum full-res burst rate of 5 fps, Full HD 1080p video capture at 30fps, built-in HDR movie capability, and Servo AF in Live View for continuous tracking of moving subjects. Street price, with Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 STM lens with built in optical image stabilization: $1,049.00.
Nikon D5500: This first Nikon with a touchscreen LCD, this attractive enthusiast-aimed DSLR incorporates a 24.2MP APS-C-size DX-format sensor with no low-pass filter coupled to an advanced EXPEED 4 image processor that delivers hi-res images, Full HD 1080p video at 60, 50, 30, 25, and 24 fps, enhanced low-light performance at sensitivity settings up to ISO 25600, and a a full-res burst rate up to 5 fps. Other key features: a 39-point AF system with 9 cross-type sensors, a 2,016-pixel RGB metering system, selectable audio frequency ranges including Wide and Voice, a built-in intervalometer, a 3.2-inch 1,037-dot vari-angle LCD with a 180-degree swivel, and built-in Wi-Fi that provides remote viewing and shutter release when the camera is paired with Android or iOS devices. Street price: $746.95, body only.
In conclusion, cameras with wireless connectivity and NFC deliver enhanced creativity and superior picture quality, taking your social media posts to a higher level and elevating your image.