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The 6 Best Low Light Cameras To Buy in 2024: Reviews & Buying Guide

“Mastering the Art of Photography in the Dark with Low Light Cameras”

Cameras designed for low-light conditions have become essential for photographers and content creators, especially in today’s ever-changing photography landscape. Capturing impressive images and videos in dimly lit settings requires the right tools. Consequently, the search for the best low-light cameras has intensified among both enthusiasts and professionals.

In this article, we explore low-light photography, offering a carefully selected list of top-performing cameras that excel in challenging lighting scenarios. Whether you’re an experienced photographer or a budding content creator, our detailed guide aims to provide you with the information necessary to make a well-informed decision when purchasing a low-light camera.

Our editorial team has meticulously reviewed and tested each camera on this list, ensuring that they meet the rigorous standards. Collaborating closely with content creators and photographers, we’ve evaluated these cameras across various real-world scenarios, with a particular focus on their performance in low-light environments.

Our assessment process revolves around three key factors essential for identifying the best low light cameras:

  • ISO Range: The ISO sensitivity of a camera plays a crucial role in low-light photography. We’ve carefully analyzed the ISO range of each camera, recognizing that higher sensitivity allows for better image capture in low-light conditions.
  • Sensor Quality: The sensor is the heart of any camera, converting light into digilow-lighttal images. We’ve scrutinized the sensor quality of each model, considering factors such as brand reputation and resolution to ensure optimal performance in low-light settings.
  • Lens and Compatibility: Professional photographers often rely on interchangeable lenses to achieve their desired results. We’ve assessed the lens options and compatibility of each camera, recognizing the importance of flexibility in catering to diverse shooting styles and preferences.

For a detailed analysis of each camera featured in our list, we invite you to explore our in-depth reviews. These reviews offer valuable insights into the unique features and functionalities that set each camera apart from the rest. Additionally, our “Buying Guide” provides further context on our testing methodology, helping you navigate the complexities of purchasing a low-light camera with confidence.

Roundup of the Top 7 Picks!

Best Low Light Cameras Table

Best Low Light CameraLensViewfinder DisplayISO RangeBuy Now
Panasonic Low Light Camera20 - 120 mm Lens3 Inches LCDISO 80 to 6400Check On Amazon
Sony Low Light Camera 28 - 70 mm Lens3 Inches LCDISO 50 to 204800Check On Amazon
Nikon Low Light Camera18 - 140 mm Lens3.2 Inches LCDISO 100 to 51200Check On Amazon
Canon Low Light Camera---3.2 Inches LCDISO 100 to 3200Check On Amazon
Fujifilm Low Light Camera---3 Inches LCDISO 160 to 12800Check On Amazon
Nikon Z 6II Low Light Camera24 - 70 mm Lens3.2 Inches LCDISO 100 to 51200Check On Amazon

Best Low Light Cameras Reviews

1. Panasonic Low Light Camera

limix

The Panasonic Lumix is a versatile point-and-shoot camera designed for both enthusiasts and travelers. It boasts an 18.1-megapixel MOS sensor and a 60X zoom DC VARIO lens with a focal range of 20-1200mm, ensuring exceptional clarity and stability in shots. Equipped with Power O.I.S. technology, it delivers sharp images even in low-light conditions. 

The camera features a high-resolution 1,170K-dot viewfinder and a touch-enabled 3-inch LCD for clear visibility in various conditions. With 4K video recording and 4K Photo mode, you can capture stunning Ultra HD footage and extract high-resolution photos from your videos seamlessly.

Specifications

Feature

Details

Maximum Webcam Image Resolution

18.1 MP

Photo Sensor Size

1/2.3-inch

Image Stabilization

Optical

Max Shutter Speed

30 seconds

Min Shutter Speed

1/16000 seconds

Metering Description

Center-Weighted Average, Multi, Spot

Exposure Control Type

Manual and Automatic

Form Factor

Compact

Resolution

High-resolution 4K video and photo capabilities

Connectivity

Wi-Fi connectivity, HDMI D (Micro), Micro USB, and USB 2.0 ports

What We Like

  • 60X Zoom DC VARIO Lens (20-1200mm range) for capturing distant subjects
  • High-resolution viewfinder and 3-inch LCD for clarity in bright sunlight
  • Post Focus feature for adjusting focus after the shot, and Focus Stacking for depth of field control
  • Ergonomic design for comfortable handling during prolonged use
  • 4K video recording and 4K Photo mode, along with Optical Image Stabilizer for sharp images in low-light conditions

What We Dislike

  • The learning curve with features may require some time for beginners.
  • Initial setup for optimal settings may be time-consuming.
  • High-resolution 4K videos may result in large file sizes requiring additional storage.

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2. Sony Low Light Camera 

Sony a7 III  Full-frame Mirrorless

This state-of-the-art full-frame mirrorless camera, the a7 III by Sony, caters to both professional photographers and hobbyists alike with its advanced features. It boasts a 24.2MP full-frame Exmor R CMOS sensor and the BIONZ X image processor, guaranteeing superb image quality even in dim lighting. With a 693-point phase-detection autofocus system, it ensures swift and accurate focus tracking for both photos and videos.

Included in the package is a versatile 28-70mm lens, coupled with 5-axis in-body image stabilization, ensuring crisp and steady shots in various shooting conditions. The camera sports a tiltable 3-inch LCD screen for easy shooting from different angles, and its touchscreen interface provides swift access to settings. Furthermore, it supports 4K HDR video recording, elevating its cinematic capabilities.

Specifications

Feature

Details

Image Sensor Type

Full-frame Exmor R CMOS sensor

Megapixels

24.2 MP

ISO Range

100-51200 (expandable to 50-204800)

Autofocus Points

693 phase-detection points

LCD Size

3 inches

Video Recording

4K HDR

Connectivity

Dual SD card slots, Micro USB.

What We Like

  • Exceptional image quality with the 24.2MP full-frame sensor.
  • Wide ISO range for superior low-light performance.
  • Fast and accurate autofocus system with 693 phase-detection points.
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization for steady shots in any situation.

What We Dislike

  • Camera menu system can be complex for those new to advanced photography.
  • Limited touchscreen functionality in some settings.
  • Battery life may be a concern for extended shooting sessions; consider carrying spare batteries.

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3. Nikon Low Light Camera

Nikon D7500 20.9MP DSLR Camera

Using large apertures in dim lighting may result in a narrow depth of field, making it tricky to keep all subjects in focus. However, the Nikon D7500, tailored for both hobbyists and advanced photographers, stands out in this regard. It boasts a 20.9-megapixel sensor, a powerful 5-image processor, and an extensive ISO range, ensuring exceptional image quality in diverse lighting situations. With its 51-point autofocus system, precision is guaranteed, while the 18-140mm VR lens enhances flexibility.

Featuring a 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, the camera facilitates effortless navigation and composition. Its prowess extends to videography, offering 4K UHD recording and in-camera time-lapse creation. Built sturdily and designed ergonomically, the D7500 is a dependable choice for various photographic endeavors.

Specifications

Feature

Details

Image Sensor Type

DX-format CMOS sensor

Megapixels

20.9 MP

ISO Range

100-51200 (expandable to 50-1640000)

Autofocus Points

51 points (15 cross-type)

In-Body Image Stabilization

No

LCD Size

3.2 inches, tilting touchscreen

Video Recording

4K UHD

Connectivity

WiFi

What We Like

  • High-resolution sensor and powerful image-processing engine.
  • Broad ISO range for excellent low-light performance.
  • Fast and accurate autofocus system with 51 points.
  • 4K UHD video recording and time-lapse capabilities.

What We Dislike

  • Lack of in-body image stabilization.
  • Limited touchscreen functionality in certain settings.
  • The absence of a dual card slot may be a drawback for some professional users.

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4. Canon Low Light Camera

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR Camera Body

The Canon low light camera is a flagship full-frame DSLR camera known for its exceptional image quality, advanced features, and durable build. It features a 30.4-megapixel CMOS sensor, a DIGIC 6+ processor, and a wide ISO range for excellent performance in various lighting conditions. 

The camera boasts a 61-point autofocus system for swift and accurate focusing, along with Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology for smooth live view and video shooting. With 4K video recording, a 3.2-inch touchscreen, and a robust magnesium alloy body with weather sealing, the 5D Mark IV is a top choice for professionals and enthusiasts seeking high-performance photography and videography.

Specifications

Feature

Details

Image Sensor Type

Full-frame CMOS sensor

Megapixels

30.4 MP

ISO Range

100-32000 (expandable to 50-102400)

Autofocus Points

61 points (41 cross-type)

In-Body Image Stabilization

No

LCD Size

3.2 inches, touchscreen

Video Recording

4K UHD

Connectivity 

Wi-Fi, GPS

What We Like

  • Exceptional image quality with a high-resolution sensor.
  • Advanced autofocus system with 61 points for precise focusing.
  • 4K UHD video recording capability.
  • Durable and weather-sealed magnesium alloy body.

What We Dislike

  • Lack of in-body image stabilization.
  • Slightly bulkier and heavier

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5. Fujifilm Low Light Camera

Fujifilm X-T3 Mirrorless Digital Camera

The next item we’re spotlighting in our lineup of top low-light cameras hails from Fujifilm. Meet the X-T3, a mirrorless camera tailored for enthusiasts and pros alike. Boasting a 26.1-megapixel sensor, X-Processor 4, and built-in image stabilization, it ensures top-notch image quality and steadiness. 

With 425 AF points, its autofocus system is swift and precise, while its ability to shoot 4K video at 60fps is impressive. Sporting an ergonomic design, user-friendly controls, and robust construction, coupled with a vari-angle touchscreen LCD and high-res electronic viewfinder, it’s a stellar choice for photography and videography enthusiasts alike.

Specifications

Feature

Details

Image Sensor Type

X-Trans CMOS 4

Megapixels

26.1 MP

In-Body Image Stabilization

Yes (up to 6.5 stops)

Autofocus Points

425 points

LCD Size

3 inches, vari-angle touchscreen

Video Recording

4K UHD at up to 60fps

Connectivity

Enhanced connectivity options

What We Like

  • In-body image stabilization for steady shots.
  • Exceptional color reproduction and image quality.
  • Advanced autofocus system with face and eye detection.
  • Vari-angle touchscreen LCD for flexible composition.

What We Dislike

  • Limited battery life compared to some competitors.
  • Smaller APS-C sensor compared to full-frame options.

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6. Nikon Z 6II Low Light Camera

Nikon Z 6II FX-Format Mirrorless Camera Body

For professionals and content creators, this advanced mirrorless camera by Nikon is optimized for low-light conditions. It comes equipped with a high-quality 24.5-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor and dual EXPEED 6 processors, ensuring exceptional image quality and overall performance. With an ISO range of 100-51,200 (expandable to 50-204,800), the camera adapts well to varying lighting situations.

The camera boasts a dual autofocus system featuring 273 phase-detection points, enabling rapid and precise focusing. Videographers can take advantage of its 4K UHD recording capabilities at up to 60fps, along with 5-axis in-body image stabilization for capturing steady shots. The durable magnesium alloy body is weather-sealed for added resilience, and the camera is designed with user convenience in mind, featuring a high-resolution electronic viewfinder and a tilting touchscreen LCD.

Specifications

Feature

Details

Image Sensor Type

BSI CMOS

Megapixels

24.5 MP

In-Body Image Stabilization

Yes (5-axis)

Autofocus Points

273 on-sensor phase-detection points

ISO Range

100-51,200 (expandable to 50-204,800)

Video Recording

4K UHD at up to 60fps

Connectivity

Wireless connectivity 

What We Like

  • Impressive image quality and low-light performance.
  • Dual autofocus system for fast and accurate focusing.
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization for steady shots.
  • Robust and weather-sealed magnesium alloy body.

What We Dislike

  • Limited battery life during continuous shooting.
  • Single card slots may be a drawback for some professionals.
  • Slightly larger and heavier.

Buy Now From Amazon

What is a Low Light Camera?

A low-light camera, also known as a low-light or low-light level camera, is a type of camera specifically designed to perform well in environments with minimal lighting conditions. These cameras are engineered to capture clear and detailed images even when there is very little available light, such as during nighttime or in poorly lit indoor settings.

Benefits of Using Low Light Cameras

Low-light cameras are advantageous for challenging lighting conditions in photography.

  • Capture clear, detailed images in inadequate lighting (night-time, poorly lit indoor spaces)
  • Higher ISO settings enable bright, sharp photos without additional light sources
  • Larger sensors and wider aperture lenses contribute to better image quality
  • Ideal for capturing natural scenes in true ambient light for authentic and mood-rich photographs
  • Enhance video quality in low light, maintaining clarity and reducing graininess.

What To Look For in the Best Low-Light Cameras?

We highly recommend spending some time with our comprehensive buying guide for the best low-light cameras. This guide covers all these key aspects concisely. By reviewing our guide, you will gain a deeper understanding of low-light photography and be better equipped to select a camera that meets your specific needs and preferences.

1. ISO Sensitivity

The key to conquering low-light situations lies in a camera’s ISO sensitivity. Look for a camera that boasts a broad ISO range, ideally extending into the higher numbers (e.g., ISO 6400 and beyond). 

This allows you to adapt to varying lighting conditions while maintaining image quality. Additionally, check for the camera’s performance at higher ISO settings to ensure minimal noise in low-light shots.

2. Sensor Size

Choosing a camera with a larger sensor can significantly improve low-light photography. The sensor size is crucial for a camera’s low-light performance. Bigger sensors capture more light, enhancing image quality in dim conditions. Full-frame sensors, the largest type, excel in low light by gathering more light and producing clearer and more detailed images. 

Despite their superiority, cameras with full-frame sensors are often pricier. When selecting a camera for low-light photography, it’s essential to weigh the sensor size against your budget and photography requirements.

3. Lens Quality and Compatibility

The camera lens is crucial for low-light performance. A larger aperture (lower f-stop) allows more light, enhancing low-light capabilities. A wide aperture lens is great for sharp, bright photos in dim conditions. Check your camera’s compatibility with different lenses for flexibility in photography styles and lighting.

A lens with a wide aperture, denoted by a low f-number (e.g., f/1.4 or f/2.8), excels in low-light conditions. Consider lenses like Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art or Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 for versatility. Ensure your camera can use various lenses for diverse low-light situations.

4. Autofocus Capability

A camera’s low-light performance is greatly affected by its focus capability. To assess this, use the camera in different settings over time. Manufacturer specs provide an initial insight into focus abilities. 

Initially, depends on the camera’s autofocus, which varies across brands and models, for decent shots. Autofocus is especially handy in video shooting for maintaining focus on moving subjects. High-end DSLR cameras typically excel in autofocus capabilities.

5. Image Processor

The image processor is essential, converting sensor data into a digital image. Understanding the processor provides insights into a camera’s performance in various conditions. Different brands have distinct processors in low-light cameras, leading to varied image qualities in similar conditions. 

This makes the image processor a critical factor in choosing a camera, especially for low-light photography. It influences digital aspects such as contrast, saturation, and color accuracy. A superior processor is often more advantageous than a higher-resolution sensor.

6. Image Stabilization

This feature is important for reducing blurriness in low-light conditions, especially when shooting without a tripod. It reduces blur caused by hand movements. Choose cameras with built-in stabilization for clearer images in dim settings.

7. Video Capabilities

Video capabilities are a vital consideration for those who frequently shoot videos in low-light environments. When selecting a camera, it is crucial to assess its performance in dimly lit settings. This involves examining the quality of the video it produces under these conditions.

Cameras with superior low-light video capabilities typically feature higher ISO settings, which allow them to capture clearer and brighter footage even when there’s limited light. Such cameras can maintain video quality without significant noise or loss of detail, making them ideal for capturing videos in challenging lighting situations.

Low Light Camera Settings

When shooting in low-light conditions, adjusting your camera settings appropriately can help you capture better images. Here are some general tips for low-light camera settings:

  • Use a wider aperture (lower f-stop): Open up your aperture to allow more light to reach the camera sensor. Choose a lower f-stop number (e.g., f/1.8, f/2.8) if your lens supports it.
  • Increase ISO sensitivity: Boosting the ISO sensitivity makes your camera more light-sensitive, but be cautious as higher ISO values may introduce more noise into your images. Find a balance between ISO and image quality.
  • Slow down the shutter speed: In low-light situations, you may need to use a slower shutter speed to allow more light into the camera. However, be careful not to use a shutter speed that is too slow, as it can result in motion blur. Use a tripod or stabilize your camera to prevent camera shake.
  • Use a tripod or other stabilization: To compensate for slower shutter speeds and prevent blurry images due to camera shake, use a tripod or find a stable surface to place your camera.
  • Shoot in RAW format: RAW files contain more data and offer more flexibility during post-processing. This can be especially useful when dealing with low-light situations, as you have more room to adjust exposure and reduce noise.
  • Manual focus: In low light, autofocus may struggle. Consider switching to manual focus and use focus peaking (if available) to ensure your subject is sharp.
  • Consider using a prime lens: Prime lenses with wider apertures (e.g., f/1.4, f/1.8) are often better suited for low-light conditions compared to zoom lenses. They allow more light to enter the camera and can produce sharper images.
  • Use noise reduction cautiously: If you shoot at higher ISO settings and notice noise in your images, you can apply noise reduction in post-processing. However, be cautious not to overdo it, as excessive noise reduction can result in loss of detail.

Remember that the optimal settings can vary based on the specific conditions and the type of photography you’re doing. Experiment with these settings and adjust them based on the unique characteristics of your shooting environment.

Best Low Light Cameras – FAQs

1. Can Low Light Cameras Handle Daylight Photography Well?

Ans: Yes, most low-light cameras are versatile and can handle daylight conditions effectively, often with adjustable settings to manage different lighting scenarios.

2. Are Mirrorless Cameras Better for Low-Light Photography Than DSLRs?

Ans: Mirrorless cameras can be advantageous due to their typically larger sensors and advanced focusing systems, but many DSLRs also perform exceptionally well in low light.

3. How Important is Manual Control in Low-Light Photography?

Ans: Manual control is crucial for fine-tuning settings like exposure, focus, and ISO, giving photographers more flexibility to adapt to varying low light conditions.

4. Are There Specific Brands Known for Superior Low Light Cameras?

Ans: Several brands are renowned for their low-light performance, including Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Fujifilm, each offering models with specific strengths.

5. Can I Use Low-Light Cameras for Underwater Photography?

Ans: Yes, but you will need a camera that is either waterproof or has a compatible waterproof housing, as low light conditions are common underwater.

6. Is Color Accuracy Affected in Low-Light Photography?

Ans: Low light can impact color accuracy, but many low-light cameras have settings and features to compensate and improve color fidelity.

7. Are Compact Cameras Good for Low-Light Photography?

Ans: Some compact cameras have advanced features for low light, but generally, larger sensors found in DSLRs or mirrorless cameras offer better performance.

Conclusion

Photography has transformed from a hobby to a serious profession, thanks to DSLR cameras that empower enthusiasts in both photography and videography.

Specialized cameras designed for excellent low-light performance now eliminate the challenges posed by low-light conditions. With these cameras, photographers can unleash their creativity at any time, capturing breathtaking images regardless of the time of day.

Not sure which low-light camera is best for you? Check out our top three suggestions.

  • If you are looking for the best low-light camera on a budget then, Panasonic Low Light Camera is an affordable, easy-to-use option with a 24-72mm lens and an ISO range up to 6400, suitable for low-light photography.
  • For a high-end choice, the Sony Low Light Camera  offers a vast ISO range up to 204800 and a 28-70mm lens, powered by the Sony Bionz X processor.
  • For a low-light camera for video this Nikon Low Light Camera, known for its 18-140mm lens, excels in both 4K video and low light photography, backed by the EXPEED 5 processor.

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