Who else has tried low light photography only to end up frustrated? Well, you can always improve your chances of success by getting the right camera. But what sets the right camera apart from the not-so-good ones?
Well, considering those three aspects, we’d now like to zoom-in to some 15 cameras that we believe come close to that. Whichever way you look at them, we hope you’ll land an awesome deal right here.
Table of Contents
- 15 Low Light Cameras - Comparison Chart
- The Best Cameras for Low Light Photography
- 1. Canon EOS 6D SLR Camera
- 2. Nikon D850 SLR FX-Format Camera
- 3. Canon EOS Mark III 5D Digital Camera
- 4. Sony a7R Mirrorless Full-Frame Camera
- 5. PANASONIC LUMIX GH5 Mirrorless Camera
- 6. Olympus OM-D E E-M1 Mirrorless Camera
- 7. Nikon D3400 DSLR
- 8. Sony Alpha a6500 Digital Camera Mirrorless
- 9. Nikon D750 DSLR Camera FX-format
- 10. Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless Camera
- 11. Canon EOS 5D Camera with USM Lens Kit
- 12. Nikon D7200 DSLR Body DX-format Camera
- 13. Nikon D5500
- 14. Nikon D800 FX-Format DSLR Camera
- 15. Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Camera with 18-55mm OIS Lens
- The Buying Guide
- Final Thoughts
15 Low Light Cameras - Comparison Chart
If you prefer taking a few quick notes on-the-go, below is a detailed chart. You simply need to take a quick look at the charts just to get an idea of how different cameras perform.
The Best Cameras for Low Light Photography
1. Canon EOS 6D SLR Camera
Combining great performance and affordability, the Canon EOS 6D is yet excellent performer camera in low light conditions. This mid-range and compact full frame camera is a workhorse that delivers exceptional image quality.
With a 20.2MP CMOS sensor, achieving true-to-life image quality especially in poor lighting conditions is easy as you can imagine. The sensor also boasts noise-reduction circuitry to ensure image data remains clean and clear especially at high ISO settings. Therefore, your photographic vision will never be compromised.
At the heart of the Canon EOS 6D is a 3-inch LCD monitor featuring over a million dots. Basically, the large monitor provides you with enhanced viewing experience from different angles.
Another feature that makes this camera perfect for shooting in poorly lit conditions is its versatile ISO speed settings. It spots ISO range of 100 to 25600 that is expandable to 102400. Therefore, you can choose to shoot at either low or high ISO setting to achieve stunning clear images.
For added convenience in poor lighting, it features an 11-point AF system alongside center cross-type sensors to allow for high-precision autofocusing. In addition, the AF system boasts sensitivity down to EV-3 thereby giving you the option to shoot in demanding low-light conditions.
On board, the Canon EOS 6D spots a Wi-Fi transmitter for ease of transferring data to other devices at high speeds. It also includes a built-in GPS function so you can recall routes traveled, shooting locations, and tag images.
What’s more? It boasts 4.5 fps shooting capacity which is relatively low but decent enough for a mid-range camera. Best of all, it allows for HD 1080p video recording using manual controls.
2. Nikon D850 SLR FX-Format Camera
The Nikon D850 is an all-around winner and it’s also one of the most capable low-light cameras you will find on the market. However, it is relatively expensive than most models in this review. So, if you’re on a budget and just starting out as a photographer, this might not be the best option for you.
Featuring a full-frame Back-side illuminated sensor, the camera achieves outstanding image quality in practically any shooting condition. Its large sensor and ultra-wide lenses also ensure a clean output at high ISO range with zero crop-factor at all. As such, shooting elusive subjects will automatically feel like second nature with this camera.
Thanks to its 153 focus points and 99 cross-type sensors, it captures the most stunning images in low-light situations. And with an incredible sensitivity of up to -4 EV, the camera produces crisp photos even in darkest shooting environments.
Its lower ISO base of 6400, on the other hand, makes it sensitive to nearly every tiny detail. Also, the ISO range can also be adjusted downward to 3200 to capture images with exquisite detail and less noise.
Additionally, it boasts a touchscreen LCD screen with tilt capability to allow you to take shots from different angles. The touch feature also enables you to navigate the controls with ease. As if that’s not enough, the camera allows you to shoot fast action in 45.7MP of outstanding resolution.
With a fast 9fps continuous shooting speed and 4K Ultra-HD video recording, the Nikon D850 is designed to keep up with every action. So, for those planning to shoot movies with great levels of detail and sharpness, it’s one of the best choices available.
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3. Canon EOS Mark III 5D Digital Camera
If you’re looking for a premium digital camera, the Canon EOS Mark III 5D is the brand’s flagship and of their best low-light cameras. With the ability to continuously shoot at 6 frames per seconds, any serious photographer will find it a great investment.
Performance wise, the camera is fitted with a CMOS sensor featuring a 22-megapixel resolution. This feature combined with DIGIC 5+ processor allows you to capture detailed shots regardless of the time of the day.
In addition, it boasts a 61-point AF system designed to help you achieve precise and blur-free shots no matter the conditions. This means that you can easily lock onto a particular subject even in the darkest shooting environments. Consequently, the camera is perfect for shooting weddings out in the field or in the studio and for still photography.
Another major highlight of the Canon EOS Mark III 5D is its extended ISO range of between 100 and 25600. As such, you can capture amazing low-light pictures without the need for a flash and while retaining impressive color fidelity.
Moving, it comes with an intelligent Viewfinder that displays everything you need to quickly and easily frame the best shot. And you know what the best part is? The camera allows you to record 1080 HD videos via the manual controls. Basically, you’ll be able to capture professional-level cinematic movies and high-definition quality.
Similarly, the Canon EOS Mark III 5D includes a new and improved metering system that provides better accuracy. On top of that, it boasts up to 7 exposures coupled with High-Dynamic Range for better performance.
4. Sony a7R Mirrorless Full-Frame Camera
Featuring a magnesium alloy and compact body, the camera is capable of withstanding the rigors of shooting out in the field. Also, it comes with a robust lens mount designed for steady handling and solid reliability. Therefore, you can easily mount one of those heavy and large lenses.
A major highlight of the camera is its full-frame CMOS sensor boasting back-illuminate structure. As such, it is able to gather more pixels and light than any standard CMOS system. This makes it possible for you to take shots in stunning clarity.
Additionally, the image sensor spots 42.4-megapixel resolution for increased image quality. You know what else? Designed to take movie making to a whole new level, the camera provides you with 4K video recording with no pixel binning.
But probably the best feature of the Sony a7R is its 5-axis image stabilization system that compensates for camera shake and blur. Also included is a 399-point AF system with phase detection technology to ensure your shots of action look clearer.
What’s more? The camera is outfitted with a 3-inch LCD monitor designed to tilt up or down for ease of high and low-angle framing. Consequently, photographing over objects or crowds close to the ground becomes easy.
Last but not least, the Sony a7R comes equipped with an electronic viewfinder to help you view each scene in rich detail. Thanks to its high sensitivity ISO range of up to 102,400, taking shots in high resolution and low light conditions is possible.
5. PANASONIC LUMIX GH5 Mirrorless Camera
Coming from the Panasonic brand this time around, the LUMIX GH5 is a professional-grade camera ideal for both seasoned and novice photographers. It boasts 5-axis dual I.S. designed to correct lens and body shake while shooting photos or 4K videos.
With a high-performance 20.3 megapixel live MOS sensor, you can confidently shoot ultra-sharp images coupled with a high-dynamic range. And for exceptional image quality, the sensor is not fitted with a low pass filter (LPF) to maximize light retention while ensuring true-to-life colors.
As if that’s not enough, it features an impressive ISO range of 200-12800 that allows for low-noise performance in various lighting environments.In addition to that, it has the ability to record cinematic-quality 4K videos at either 60p or 50p. This makes it an excellent choice for any video buff out there.
More importantly, the LUMIX GH5 spots Lumix 4K camera photo mode at 30/60 fps and 6K photo mode at 30fps. As such, it is able to deliver exceptional image quality so you never miss out on any moment.
Worth mentioning also is that the camera is not only compact but also light in weight thanks to its mirrorless design. And with its magnesium alloy body, it can withstand anything thrown at it especially while shooting out in the field.
In other words, the GH5 is the kind of camera you go for when you want great quality shots. Its ISO range is perfect enough for allowing just enough light for fantastic shots even at nightfall.
6. Olympus OM-D E E-M1 Mirrorless Camera
There are very few cameras that can rival the kind of balance the OM-D is capable of offering. First off, it brings a 20.4 megapixel MOS sensor on the table.
This is one of the most powerful and dependable, low light sensors on the market. On top of that, the device provides a great variety of autofocus points.
121 are cross-type AF points. That makes this one of the best options when one wants to achieve a great level of contrast.
Moving on, the camera provides you with a 60FPS burst mode. That’s the kind of stuff you need to capture great shots even when the subject is moving fast.
So, whether you’re venturing into the wild or simply photographing in a nightclub, this camera stuns.
Moving on, within this cute piece of equipment has a relatively wide aperture. That’s all you need to improve light sensitivity.
Along with that is a wide ISO range. This once again attests to the fact that this camera is meant to make the most of dimly lit conditions.
Last but not least, the Olympus boasts a great combination of white balance settings. These give you the freedom to attain a great, sharp and awesome contrast.
Looking to capture vivid images? We’d heavily recommend the OM-D to you.
7. Nikon D3400 DSLR
This is the newest kid on the block as far as low light sensitivity and battery performance are concerned.
One thing we’d particularly like to note about it is that it comes with a DX-sensor. This sensor is renowned for its wide sensitivity range and when paired up with a great ISO can do wonders.
Most importantly, we like the fact that this unit comes with an EXPEED 4 image processor. The processor does a good job of capturing and storing images.
This, therefore, means you can enjoy a great timing potential with it. As such, the D3400 is highly recommended for concert photography. Likewise, it can be used to capture shots of well-choreographed dance sessions e.g. ballet dancing sessions.
Its 11-point AF system and a pentamirror optical viewfinder provide a superior coverage. Best of all, you can count on this unit to capture awesome shots indoors even without a flash.
In that case, you’d need to close the flash and use either the P, S, A or M modes effectively preventing the flash from popping up. At the same time, you can always apply the flicker reduction when taking shots under fluorescent lighting.
In a nutshell, with a 24.2MP DX-format sensor, native ISO of 100-25600 and 5FPS shooting power, this is a great priced unit.
8. Sony Alpha a6500 Digital Camera Mirrorless
Armed with a 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor and an ISO processing power of 100-25600 (auto 100-6400), a6500 is perfectly built to operate in low light. As you know, you need to work with a camera that’s ultra-sensitive to light.
An ultra-sensitive sensor is one that’s able to gather as much light as possible. And, therefore, even if you’re taking photos in a candlelit environment, you’d comfortably get good shots.
Clearly, the Alpha 6500 from Sony has the power needed to excel in all such situations.
But most importantly, it boasts a wide aperture. For instance, it offers a wide 425 phase detection, complete with AF points.
As you know, the role of the aperture is to let in as much light as possible. Therefore, a wide aperture goes a long way in making sure a lot of light finds its way into the camera.
That way, you’d be able to capture great shots even when working in dimly lit conditions. And thanks to the Alpha’s built-in noise reduction features; you can get a great photo-taking experience with it.
Moving on, this unit from Sony boasts an award-winning level of image stabilization. This is the level of steadiness you need to be a versatile photographer.
Above all, you end up with an 11FPS continuous shooting power. That’s made even better by the presence of 269 frames which conveniently operate to capture great shots even outdoors.
So, if you’re heading out for an early morning safari, you’d really benefit from this camera. Likewise, if interested in taking some awesome shots by relying entirely on wood firelight, the a6500 stun.
In fact, in some cases, you can use it to capture some awesome 4K content. With no need for pixel binning, the a6500 is easily the sweetest deal a quality-conscious buyer can find.
9. Nikon D750 DSLR Camera FX-format
For those who don’t mind coughing out 2 grands on a good camera, the D750 is worth looking at. The full-frame camera provides you with a CMOS sensor of 24.2 megapixels.
The sensor is highly responsive even in low light situations. That means you can still get great shots even without using the flash.
Not only is the D750 awesome at such conditions. A closer look at its list of specs reveals that it comes with an EXPEED 4 image processor. This powerful processor makes sure you’re able to get started pretty fast.
In other words, the time taken between capturing and processing a photo is very minimal. That means you get busy capturing some great shots in almost non-stop fashion.
Most importantly, this cute gadget provides the power needed to capture high-quality video content. That’s all thanks to its 60p muscle power.
Its aperture is also relatively wide. And although it’s certainly not the widest encountered so far, it does a great job.
You can confidently use it to capture some jaw-dropping sunset shots
Perhaps the only weakness one can notice the D750 is that it works at 6.5FPS at full resolution. That’s a bit too slow for fast action shots.
Therefore, we’d single-handedly recommend this as an ideal equipment for wedding shots. So, if your client insists on getting some silhouette shots in the backdrop of the evening sun, go for the D750.
However, if your client is a wildlife company that wants a great camera for shooting a hunt, this may not ace it.
10. Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless Camera
Bringing onboard the 11FPS that dominates the alpha-series from Sony, this mirrorless camera is a rare jewel.
Why so? Well, it’s made with a relatively wide aperture. As a photographer, chances are that you know what such an aperture can do.
Yup, it lets in more light. So, you get more light being detected and, therefore, your shots become brighter. This is especially important when working in low light conditions.
But it’s one thing to have a high penetration of light and another for it to be detected. Fortunately, this piece of equipment provides you with a 24.2MP sensor.
The CMOS sensor clearly punches above its weight in ensuring you get the maximum quality possible. And thanks to its built-in features, the a6300 does an incredible job of minimizing noise.
As you know, it’s rare to come across a camera that minimizes noise while still expanding on sensitivity. So, we really are proud to have the a6300 featured in this list of reviews.
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11. Canon EOS 5D Camera with USM Lens Kit
Flexibility is the name of the game as far as low lights are concerned. If you can find a camera that has a good ISO sensitivity, then your job would be much easier.
Fortunately, this piece of equipment from Canon has all the ISO power needed, plus some. Picture this – it provides you with a native range of 100-32000. Plus you can always expand that to as much as 50-102400!
Yup, you read that right. That’s an ISO of over 1,000,000. So, as far as light sensitivity is concerned, this camera is no doubt a winner.
Best of all, the unit provides up to 12 stops of dynamic range. So, even if you’re working in extremely low lit conditions, you can trust the 5D to deliver.
Further to that, the 5D has the power to record superior 4K video content. So, you can rely on it even when working with clients with extra demands.
Its still photos are captured at 8.8MP. That’s quite remarkable, though not stellar. But most importantly, despite the high ISO, this camera is able to reduce the level of noise on all images.
That way, you’re able to get stuff that’s of great quality. You really don’t need to be a pro to capture some award-winning evening shots with this.
Moving on, the unit provides you with a Touch-screen LCD monitor. This is highly user-friendly and handy to use at all times.
The icing on the cake is that the Canon 5D provides a superior white balance. That’s pretty much all you need to land some awe-inspiring shots in conditions that demand versatility.
Back to sensitivity, this piece of equipment is as powerful as they come. It boasts an intelligent dual pixel CMOS feature. Each pixel is perfectly capable of delivering superior AF.
This enables you to capture awesome shots. In particular, you get the freedom to select different AF points. That way, you can confidently capture sharp stills with a smooth focus transition.
So, let’s just say that the 5D is a great choice. It doesn’t matter the kind of conditions you’re likely to face, this one can comfortably see you through.
The only issue we have with it is that it’s a bit too pricey. So, unless you’re planning for a full-fledged career in photography, we’d recommend going for a cheaper unit.
12. Nikon D7200 DSLR Body DX-format Camera
The low pass filter is one of the terrible features you can ever find in a low light camera. Fortunately, the D7200 doesn’t have an OLPF.
Best of all, it’s equipped with a reliable 24.2MP CMOS image sensors. So far, we can confirm that this sensor does a stellar job. It particularly shines in low lit conditions.
Most importantly, the camera is capable of capturing printable quality stuff. And with a 51 point autofocus system, the D7200 is hard to beat.
As you know, a built-in AF system comes in handy in improving the quality of shots. And you don’t really need to be a pro, as long as you know how to adjust the AF; you can get professional quality stuff.
Moving on, this piece of equipment is built with an EXPEED 4 image processor. The processor does a good job and is quite responsive as well.
The camera’s light sensitivity is well above board as well. That’s because it offers you an ISO 100-25,600 range. Unfortunately, there’s no word from Nikon on how to expand that range.
That notwithstanding, we believe the range is pretty good. It’s way above average. Most importantly, this camera does a good job of canceling noise at that level.
So, you get above average light sensitivity without compromising on quality. Also, the D7200 boasts the ability to provide instant sharing. This is achieved through the power of NFC and WiFi.
The Achilles heel of this camera is the fact that it provides a 6FPS shooting capacity. It may not be ideal for fast action scenes. Otherwise, it’d be great for capturing portraits, family shots, and even wedding photos.
13. Nikon D5500
One thing that stands out about the Nikon D6500 model is its high ISO power. With an ISO range of 1600-6400, it’s meant to attain a pretty high shutter speed.
Its ability to detect light even in dimly lit conditions alongside the DX crop factor makes it a solid choice. You can go for it as a great choice for anything to do with wildlife photography.
Considering its competitive price tag, we, therefore, think it’s quite a steal.
In particular, we like the fact that it comes with a 24.3-megapixel sensor. The sensor punches well above its weight especially when paired up with a great ISO setting.
One thing that’s likely to make you fall in love with the D5600 is its AF. Indeed, the equipment uses a Multi-CAM 4800 DX phase-detect AF system. The entire system brings on board 39 AF points.
9 of these AF points are of the cross-type. That’s a healthy amount. However, we still think that the AF system of this unit doesn’t cover a huge portion of the image area.
Its 18-55mm AF-P kit lens provides a wide aperture. As you know, a wide aperture comes in handy in letting in as much light as possible.
Provided you use this alongside its well-made viewfinder, there’s no reason not to capture awesome snaps. And best of all, the camera provides you with different shooting modes.
That way, you can always use the Effects mode to introduce special filters. These include stuff like super vivid, selective color, high key, low key, silhouette and night visions.
There’s, however, no special movie recording mode provided. Fortunately, you can always trigger movie recording in different shooting modes by simply using the live view and pressing the movie button. This button is located next to the shutter release feature.
14. Nikon D800 FX-Format DSLR Camera
What better camera can money buy at an under 1000 budget than the D800 from Nikon? For a long time, this unit has claimed its position as the leading medium-format camera.
One thing we particularly like about it is its extremely low noise levels. You see, there are so many with expansive ISO ranges but are so poor at noise filtering.
Our experts would, however, advice against rushing for all that glamor. It’s better to have a humble camera that does a great job of noise filtering and that’s the D800 is great.
Another thing, this piece of equipment boasts an incredible dynamic range. Add that to a wide aperture and you have a deal you cannot afford to ignore.
After taking a closer look at the D800’s sensor, we were amazed to discover that it provides a 36.3MP capacity. Wait, this is an under 1000 camera and as you can see it beats some over 1K options reviewed so far.
So, for the quality-conscious shopper, we’d certainly recommend going for it. However, we’re a bit appalled that this unit comes with a low pass filter.
This is a problem observed across all Nikon cameras. We seriously think it’s high time Nikon considered doing away with the OLPF.
Some of the downsides of having an OLPF is that it may blur your images in the attempt to reduce the occurrence of false colors. While that may sound like a good thing on paper, it tends to disappoint most of the time when put to use.
Moving on, the D800 is made with the intention of providing a full cinematic experience. Its microphone sensitivity is simply out of this world.
Most importantly, you get the freedom to remotely start and stop videos. So, really, this is one of the best deals that money can buy on such a limited budget range.
15. Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Camera with 18-55mm OIS Lens
What are your top priorities when shopping for a low light camera? Experts recommend high light sensitivity and the ability to let more light in. Of course, you also need a great whitespace adjustability.
Fortunately, the X-T2 seems to tick all the right boxes. First off, it comes with a 24.3 MP CMOS sensor. This comes in handy in detecting light and reducing the appearance of false colors.
In fact, with an enhanced ISO range, there’s no barrier that this unit can’t conquer. In fact, we like the fact that it comes with an OLED viewfinder. This one gives you all the power of magnification you need to get superior results.
Further, the unit boasts an LCD tilting monitor. The tiltable viewfinder packs 1.04 dots for high precision. And with over 100FPS in live view, there’s no doubt that this is a wonderful piece of equipment.
For the rugged users in the house, this machine comes with a well-built aluminum body. The body is not only moisture- and dust-resistant but also fully weather-sealed.
Heading out to the Swiss Alps? You can comfortably take the X-T2 with you because it’s also freeze resistant for up to 14 degrees Fahrenheit.
One thing we particularly can’t overlook with the X-T2 is its reliability. His is a feat that we’d particularly attribute to it coming with a strong X-Processor Pro.
This processor is, no doubt, a workhorse. In fact, it works at speeds of up to 4X than what you’d get on previous camera models.
And with features like speed tracking sensitivity and zone area switching provided, there’s no doubt this is a superb pick.
So, if you’re not sure what you can get up to this end, we’d recommend you take a closer look at the X-T2 as it offers a pretty good deal.
The Buying Guide
Shooting an engagement taking place on the backdrop of a candle-lit environment? Or maybe you’re enjoying a barbeque with friends and would like to capture some superb, firelight shots. Well, low light shooting can be a major headache especially if you don’t have the right kind of camera.
Fortunately, if you know for the kinds of features to go for, you can easily overcome that challenge. So, in the next few lines, we’re going to talk about the kind of factors to pay attention to. Ultimately, the goal is to help you get the best value for your money possible.
The Quality of Sensors
This should always be the foremost factor to consider before buying any camera. Fortunately, the market is full of incredible sensors. A long time ago, it used to be extremely difficult to find good sensors.
But why do sensors matter? Well, because they detect as much light as possible. Without them, it would be pretty difficult to get usable shots when it’s too dark.
To this end, we’d recommend for high-quality sensors - preferably, ones with millions of pixels. This way, each, you’d have each pixel within a 1000-th of a millimeter.
Having such pixels ensures your camera is able to capture every tiny ray of light available.
Closely related to sensor sensitivity is the ISO level. The ISO level is represented as a range. This can range from as little as ISO 50 to as much as several million. Basically, the higher the ISO, the higher the level of light sensitivity offered.
Therefore, if possible, it’d be a good idea to go for a camera with a high ISO. But there are limits as well. If you’re going to invest in a high ISO, it’s important to settle for a camera with superb noise cancellation features.
That way, you’d be able to capture awesome shots that have a good balance of light and aren’t too noisy.
The size of the aperture is determined by the kind of lens your camera comes with. In low light conditions, you’re better off going for a camera with a wide aperture.
For instance, you can capture awesome stuff at f/1.4 with a 35mm aperture. Likewise, you can deliver some incredible quality at 85mm especially when looking to capture natural-light portraits.
The good thing with a wide aperture is that it tends to have a flattening effect. That also brings on board some attractiveness that you’d crave for.
Another advantage of going for a wide-aperture is that it gives you extra focusing power. For instance, when out-of-focus light beams are captured, they tend to bring a pleasing appeal.
That can go a long way in making a huge mark on the background of your shots. This creates more interest and wealth than ordinary portraits shot against blank walls.
White Balance Adjustability
When operating in dimly lit conditions, it’s extremely important to have the right white balance. Most cameras come with an automatic white balance. Unfortunately, this can end up making some of your shots look less warm than they should be.
Unless you’re looking for that kind of effect, it’d be a good idea to settle for a camera with an adjustable white balance. Most importantly, it’s always a good idea to learn how to adjust the white balance beforehand so you’re able to capture great stuff at all times.
Which One Is The Best?
Our topmost preferred camera for capturing shots in low light conditions is the Canon EOS Mark III 5D. With a 22MP CMOS sensor and a reliable DIGIC5+ processor, it gives you the freedom to capture great shots no matter the time of day. Most importantly it provides with a flexible ISO range which gives you the power to make critical adjustments when it’s critical. Lastly, this cute camera boasts a high dynamic range. That’s pretty much all you need for a great performance at all times.
Even though capturing shots in low light presents many challenges, it offers a great opportunity to excel as well. That’s because you can always tap into one of the well-made machines on the market for a superior experience. Luckily, the low light camera reviews above are meant to help you make that exact choice. So, go ahead and grab what meets your unique requirements – there’s certainly something for everyone