Have you ever tried taking pictures in a low light condition (especially at night) only to end up being frustrated? Well, taking pictures in low lighting conditions has always been a challenge, but you can enhance your chances of success by selecting the right camera for the job from thousands of brands and models available on the market today.
So, here come the questions: What are the best low light cameras on the market today? What sets the best low light cameras apart from the not-so-good ones? And how can you find the right one for the job?
In this edition, we are going to review the best low light cameras available today and show you how to select the right one for the job.
How to Select the Best Low Light Camera
Finding the best low light camera to capture the events around you can be a challenge since there are many different brands and models on the market. Fortunately, you can easily overcome this challenge if you know the factors to consider and the features to look for. Some of the important features to look for to get the best value for your money includes:
1. The quality of the camera’s sensors
Before you buy any camera, the quality of its sensors should always be the primary factor to consider. Fortunately, there are many cameras with incredible sensors on the market today, and all you need to do is to make your choice.
But why is this feature so important? Well, that is because the camera sensors detect light as much as they can. Without these sensors, getting quality images or usable shots in a poor lighting condition will be very difficult.
For this reason, we’d recommend that you go for high-quality sensors – especially those with millions of pixels. With that, your camera can capture any little ray of light that is available.
2. Wide aperture
The width of your camera’s aperture depends on the kind of lens that comes with it. When it comes to taking usable shots in low or poor lighting conditions, it is better to go for a camera that has a wide aperture.
For example, you can deliver amazing quality at f/1.4 with an 85mm aperture, especially when capturing natural-light pictures. Likewise, you can capture some incredible stuff at the 35mm aperture. One advantage of a wide aperture is the flattening effect that brings some attractiveness you’d like.
Another benefit of selecting a camera with a wide aperture is the extra focusing power it provides. Even when light beams that are out of focus are captured, the end result tends to have a pleasing appeal.
The ISO level of a camera is closely related to its sensor sensitivity. The ISO level ranges from as little as 50 to several million. Generally, the higher the ISO level of a camera, the higher its light sensitivity. So, it is a good idea to select the camera with the highest ISO level.
However, there are some limitations. If you want to select a camera with high ISO, go for a camera with excellent noise cancellation features. With that, you can capture incredible shots that are not too noisy and with a good light balance.
4. Adjustable white balance
Having the right white balance is extremely important when taking pictures in low light condition. Most cameras feature automatic white balance, but they can end up affecting the quality of some of your shots by making them look less warm.
Unless you want this kind of effect, you’re better off settling for a camera whose white balance is adjustable. Most importantly, you should know how to adjust your camera’s white balance so that you can always shoot and capture great stuff.
Other factors that you can consider include:
There are many brands of low light cameras today, but we’d suggest you go for the known ones or the top brands. Apart from the assurance of quality you’d get, some top brands come with a warranty so, you are assured of guaranteed customer protection against manufacturer’s defect.
How much do you think is reasonable enough to spend to get yourself the best low light camera? Well, low light cameras are offered at different prices, so you’ll have to start by setting your budget and find a low light camera that fit your budget. Finding the best does not mean you have to hemorrhage your bank since you can always find a model that can meet your needs at a cost-effective price.
However, you should be prepared to go a little above your budget if the situation warrants it, most especially when the camera is really worth the price.
7. Users feedback
Apart from checking a camera’s specification, another way to recognize a really good camera with excellent low light performance is by checking its user’s review and customers feedback. This way, you’ll also get to know its downsides and how to fix some issues that arise when using the camera.
Top 8 Best Low Light Camera reviews
|1. Canon EOS 6D||Best affordable low light camera for still photography||4.7|
|2. Sony a7R III||Best professional grade mirrorless camera optimized for low light shots||4.5|
|3. Nikon D850||Best professional grade DSLRs camera for low light shots||4.8|
|4. Sony a7R II||Best low light camera with image stability||4.6|
|5. PANASONIC LUMIX GH5||Best portable professional grade camera||4.6|
|6. Canon EOS 5D||Best low light camera for both professional and beginners||4.3|
|7. Nikon D3400||Best affordable low light camera||4.6|
|8. Fujifilm X-T2||Best low light camera for newbies||4.3|
1. Canon EOS 6D – Best affordable low light camera for still photography
If you’re looking for an affordable camera with excellent performance in low light conditions, the Canon EOS 6D might be all you need. This compact camera features a 20.2MP full-frame CMOS sensor that delivers exceptional image quality even in low lighting condition with noise reduction circuitry for clear and clean image even at high ISO level settings.
The camera features a versatile ISO speed setting that ranges from 100 to 25600 and expandable to 102400; this makes it perfect for shooting in any lighting condition. It also includes a 3-inch LCD screen that provides excellent viewing experience from different angles. It’s center cross-type sensors with 11-point Auto-Focus system ensures high-precision autofocusing to give you added convenience in low light conditions.
The camera spots a GPS function that is useful for tagging images or recalling your shooting locations and routes you traveled. It also includes a Wi-Fi transmitter that allows the transfer of data from the camera to other devices. It can make 1080p video recording and feature 4.5 fps video shooting capacity.
- Excellent low-light performance
- Compact and lightweight
- Incredible sensitivity with a precise AF system
- High-quality DIGIC 5+ processor
- Reasonably priced
- Only perfect for still photography
2. Sony a7R III – Best professional grade mirrorless camera optimized for low light shots
The A7R III mirrorless camera from Sony is another outstanding professional grade digital camera that you can rely on in any lighting condition. The camera has a large back-illuminated image sensor with 42.4 MP resolution, something you won’t find in other mirrorless cameras at its price point.
Apart from its excellent shooting performance, the camera’s video quality is impressive too as it can record in 4K, shoot objects up to 10 fps, and auto-track focus smoothly while recording. Its autofocus system is extremely fast and even come with 3-inch LCD screen and a very clear viewfinder, so you are sure you’re going for a camera with a high level of performance.
The A7R III is well built and has an improved battery life when compared to its previous model. It has a wide ISO range (from 50 – 102400), features dual SD cards, hybrid image stabilization and high-quality processor for a fast image processing.
- Amazing picture quality
- Excellent viewfinder quality
- High-quality AF system
- Brilliant resolution
- Low noise with excellent low-light performance
- Fast CPU performance
- High price point
3. Nikon D850 – Best professional grade DSLRs camera for low light shots
This camera is relatively expensive, so it might not be the right one for you if you’re on a budget. However, it delivers amazing performance even in poor lit condition. Its ultra-wide lenses and large illuminated sensor ensure a clean and clear output even at high ISO level and makes shooting elusive objects feel like second nature.
Its 99 cross-type sensors and 153 focus points capture incredible shots in poor lit conditions with amazing sensitivity (up to 4 EV) so, capturing crisp photos is easy as a breeze even in the darkest environments. The camera has an ISO base of 6400 which can be adjusted to 3200 to shoot images with less noise and exquisite detail.
Moreover, it comes with a touchscreen LCD that is easy to use and can be tilted to shoot images from different angles. The camera can shoot fast action with a speed of 9fps in an outstanding resolution of 45.7MP and can also record video in 4K Ultra-HD quality. So, if you’re planning to shoot images and videos with great levels of sharpness and detail, Nikon D850 is one of the best available choices.
- Large and unique sensor with enhanced light-gathering efficiency
- A fast and ultra-accurate autofocus system
- Brilliant resolution
- Good battery life
- Fast CPU performance
- No image stabilization
- Quite expensive
4. Sony a7R II – Best low light camera with image stability
The Sony a7R II is another high-quality low-light camera that features a compact body with magnesium alloy construction; this means it can withstand the rigor of shooting on the job site or out in the field. It comes with a full-frame CMOS sensor that can gather more lights and pixels than the standard CMOS system; so, it can take shots with stunning clarity even in low light conditions. Its robust lens mount allows for mounting large and heavy lenses, thus, giving you solid reliability and steady handling.
Moreover, it can handle 4K video recording and spots an image sensor of 42.4MP resolution for improved picture quality. The best part of this camera is the 399-point Auto-Focus system and the 5-axis image stabilization system to ensure your action shots look cleaner and clearer.
The camera comes with a 3-inch LCD screen for low and high angle framing, so taking the pictures or crowds or objects close to the ground is easy as a breeze. It has an ISO range of 100 – 25600 which is expandable to 50 – 102400 and features an electronic viewfinder that you can use to view each scene with higher detail.
- Durable construction
- Active Image stabilization
- Low noise
- Accurate and fast Hybrid AF system
- Onboard Wi-Fi for easy and fast connectivity to smartphones
- Customizable even with PlayMemories apps
- Battery life can be improved
5. PANASONIC LUMIX GH5 – Best portable professional grade camera
The LUMIX GH5 from Panasonic is a professional-grade camera suitable for both novice and seasoned photographers. It boasts 20.3 MP sensor and 5-axis dual image stabilization to shoot ultra-sharp photos and corrects body and lens shake when shooting 4K videos and photos.
The camera has a wide ISO range (200 – 12800) that ensures low-noise performance in any lighting condition. It can record also record 4K videos and shoot 4K photos at 60/30 fps or 6K photos at 30 fps. The camera is light in weight and can withstand the rigors of shooting out in the field – thanks to its magnesium alloy construction and mirrorless design.
- Great for shooting still images
- Versatile and suitable for different situation
- Low noise even in poor lighting condition
- Well built
- Great battery life
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatible
- Its LCD monitor is not so sharp
6. Canon EOS 5D – Best low light camera for both professional and beginners
Finding a camera with good light sensitivity is the real deal, especially if you want a camera that can perform well in low lights situations. Fortunately, the EOS 5D from Canon has the light sensitivity and ISO power required for excellent low-light performance. It has a wide ISO range (100 – 32000) and can be expanded to 50 – 102400, this means that it has over 1,000,000 ISO which makes it a winner as far as the sensitivity to light is concerned.
Moreover, it can record cinematic 4K content and comes with a 30.4 MP CMOS sensor with 41 cross points and 61-point Auto-focus system for clear and crisp picture quality. It spots a touch-screen display that is handy and easy to use at all times. Its superior white balance is the icing on the cake, so you don’t have to be a professional to capture some amazing shots.
- Great white balance and light sensitivity
- Dual-pixel CMOS sensor
- Great auto-focus feature
- Can shoot 4K video
- Low noise even in poor lighting condition
- Absence of tilt screen
7. Nikon D3400 – Best affordable low light camera
If you are on a budget or looking for the best affordable camera with excellent low light performance, then the Nikon D3400 might be your best way to go. This camera has a very good performance in terms of battery life and low light sensitivity. It has a DX-sensor that can do wonders when paired up with great ISO level.
The unit boasts a native ISO of 100 to 25600, 24.2 MP sensor and a shooting power of 5fps. It also spots an EXPEED 4 processor, a pentamirror optical viewfinder, and 11-point Autofocus system for optimum coverage, and speed of capturing images.
- Spots a reliable DX sensor
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatible
- No low-pass filter so, the risk of blurs is eliminated
- High native ISO level
- Not suitable for taking fast action shots
8. Fujifilm X-T2 – Best low light camera for newbies
The X-T2 from Fujifilm tick all the right boxes in terms of light sensitivity, white balance adjustability, and durability. It features spots a 24.3 MP image sensor that is handy in reducing false colors appearances and detecting light; this makes it a force to reckon with when shopping for a camera with excellent low light performance.
With an ISO range of 100 – 51200 and the OLED viewfinder that comes with the device, there is no barrier you cannot conquer. The unit also spots a tilt-able LCD screen and 100 fps live-view and can even record 4K videos with superior quality. The camera is freeze resistant and features a durable aluminum body that is resistant to dust and moisture so; it can withstand the weather elements and the rigor of shooting out on the field.
Moreover, it comes with a reliable X-processor Pro for fast image processing and storing. And with zone area switching and speed tracking sensitivity features, the X-T2 is definitely an outstanding option.
- Excellent tracking sensitivity
- Brilliant light sensitivity
- Well-designed weather-proof body
- Dual SD card slot
- Reliable viewfinder
- May require battery grip for long video shoots
Best Low Light Cameras FAQs
1. Which Type of Photography Requires the Best Low Light Camera?
Sports photography: Shooting fast-moving action with long lenses in poor lighting condition is perhaps the most challenging aspect of photography. This type of photography is one of the main driving force in enhancing low light cameras performances.
Concert photography: Taking pictures in almost completely dark areas makes the performance of low light cameras a predominant factor in achieving quality results.
Event and wedding photography: Shooting during late-night events and inside churches requires high-quality cameras that can perform excellently in low-light conditions.
Photojournalism: Journalists requires a quality camera with a superb performance in any lighting condition to carry out their profession effectively.
Street photography: Shadows from buildings, people passing and moving vehicles requires excellent low light performance for optimum results.
Astrophotography: Shooting images of astronomical objects does not only require a very long shutter speed; it also requires excellent low light performance.
Wildlife photography: Even in ideal lighting conditions, taking the image of fast-moving birds and the natural environment requires a camera with good low light performance.
2. How did we come up with the list of our best low light camera?
In shortlisting the best low light cameras, we checked the market and selected the cameras with features like impressive build quality, wide aperture, great ISO range, white balance, outstanding sensor sensitivity, and fast image processing unit.
Then we selected the camera with the best ratings at different price points and tested their performance in low-light conditions. We then selected 8 cameras with outstanding performance and lots of positive user’s feedbacks.
Capturing shots in poorly lit conditions can be a challenge, but you can overcome the challenges and excel by selecting the right camera, especially one that is optimized for low light shots. Luckily, this article has discussed some of the best low light cameras on the market and the features to look out for to help you make the right choice.
So, consider your budget and grab the one that meets your unique needs – there’s definitely something for everyone.