Having gone through different kinds of low light cameras with different features, we realize that the NIKON D750 is the best low light camera currently available. It combines high ISO range, wide apertures, fast autofocus, DSLR properties, full frame, and relatively cheaper prices amongst its other features.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Makes the Best Low Light Camera?
- 2 Reviews of Best Low Light Cameras 2018
- 3 Low Light Camera Comparison Chart
- 3.1 Best Overall Low Light Camera
- 3.2 Best Low Light APS-C Camera
- 3.3 Best Mirrorless Low Light Camera
- 3.4 Best Low Light Camera for Beginners
- 3.5 Best Budget Low Light Camera
- 3.6 Best Micro Four Thirds Low Light Camera
- 3.7 Best Full Frame Low Light Camera
- 3.8 Best Low Light Point and Shoot Camera
- 3.9 Best Low Light Camera for Travelers
- 3.10 Best Waterproof Low Light Camera
- 4 WHAT IS LOW LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY?
- 5 WHO ARE LOW LIGHT CAMERAS FOR?
- 6 WHAT TYPE OF LOW LIGHT CAMERA SHOULD YOU BUY
- 7 ESSENTIAL FEATURES TO LOOK FOR IN A LOW LIGHT CAMERA
- 8 FEATURES TO CONSIDER BEFORE BUYING A LOW LIGHT CAMERA
- 9 In Conclusion
Human beings are creatures who love creating memories. There are certain important moments in our lives that we love to remember forever. We cherish those moments and always look out for ways to immortalize them. Whether it is our wedding day, graduation day, anniversary, the first day at a desired job, a unique moment with friends and families or just about any special moments; we all want those memories to remain
The invention of photography has been very helpful in fulfilling this desire of ours. Photography has developed over the years through various innovations and technological advancement. Today, we have high performing cameras that capture every important moment. With the evolution in photography, every moment can be memorialized.
Phones today come with powerful camera features adapted to the needs of the individual. So even without a camera, an individual can still capture the moments as they occur. In fact, camera capability is now one of the key elements that people look out for in purchasing a new phone.
This advancement in photography is here to stay and will continue to shape our lives into the future.
It is this desire to make every moment count that we have what is called low light photography. Light is an integral element in photography. For a good picture to be taken, it requires enough external light. In most cases, the level of light available impact the quality of the picture in significant ways
However, there will always be times when the great moments that we want captured and immortalized are staged in places and circumstances where there is very little external light. Low light situations can occur when taking pictures at homes, sporting events, theaters, at dusk or dawn, on a dark day, on a cloudy day, in street corners and at nighttime. These circumstances offer some of the finest backgrounds for great pictures but they are also lo light situations and taking good pictures can be very difficult
But because innovations in photography are meant to help you make every moment count no matter when or where those moments occur, there are certain technological features that are part of the cameras produced today that help to bring out the best from low light situations. There are now cameras that are specifically adapted to these low light situations, and they give the best shots in those circumstances so that there is no moment that is not captured.
There are certain features and quality that characterize a camera that will perform well in low light situations and it is important to carefully analyze a camera to know if it will perform well in these situations. This is important for photographers who will always have such low light situations to capture for the clients and for individuals who love to capture the great moments by themselves.
Low light photography is here to stay, and low light cameras have been redefining the world of photography.
What Makes the Best Low Light Camera?
Not every camera has the ability and capacity to function as a low light camera. The best low light cameras are the cameras that have the following elements:
- High ISO ranges that can be expanded when needed
- 4K Video recording
- High shutter speed
- Aperture width that is less than or equal to f/2.0
- Very large megapixels of sensors and a CMOS sensor
- Good image stabilization system
- Large Surface area
- Good noise control
- High autofocus points
- Interchangeable lens
Reviews of Best Low Light Cameras 2018
If you are a photographer that finds themselves looking for a tough low light camera that can handle itself in lower light scenarios as well as during the day, you will want to check out our reviews of the best low light cameras that can capture light in situations with low light.
This is a list of the best low light cameras of 2018.
Low Light Camera Comparison Chart
Here’s what we think about these low light cameras.
Best Overall Low Light Camera
This is the best camera for low light photography that is currently available in the market. It is produced by one of the favorite brands: NIKON, a brand known for their quality cameras.
The NIKON D750 FX-format DSLR Camera is a full-frame DSLR camera. It has a high ISO range that enables it to capture low light conditions. With a large sensor and wide aperture, it helps to bring maximum light into the camera. The ISO can be adjusted to a range up to 51200 and still yet, it has the huge ability to control noise and help make clean pictures without any blur.
Best Low Light APS-C Camera
This is a great product from Sony. It is a mirrorless camera with an APS-C sensor. It is a compact camera with a smaller size compared to the DSLR cameras. It seeks to preserve the qualities of DSLR with limited size and weight and reduced price.
The Sony Alpha 6500 is an improvement over the 6300 and now comes with a Bluetooth technology and image stabilization system.
Best Mirrorless Low Light Camera
Fujifilm is one of the most popular camera brands, and they make the best mirrorless cameras. The X-T2 camera is a compact and portable mirrorless camera that is incredible for low light situations.
With a high megapixel lens and image stabilization system, they help to take good quality and bright photos with a great variety of colors. Though it has a low ISO range, it offers the opportunity for the ISO to be expanded.
Best Low Light Camera for Beginners
This version of Canon low light cameras is great for beginners in photography. The Canon EOS 200D comes with a guided shooting mode that is directed towards helping beginners and unlocking features that make taking pictures easier for beginners.
In addition to this, it is a compact and lightweight camera with high ISO, large sensor and all the advantages of a DSLR.
Best Budget Low Light Camera
This is a camera made for low light situations. It does not compromise quality. It has an APS-C lens that makes it compact and lightweight compared to the full frame, yet it offers much of the benefits of the full frame because it is a DSLR camera.
It is one of the best low light cameras available, and when it comes to price, it is the cheapest and the best among the cheaper options.
Best Micro Four Thirds Low Light Camera
This Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is the best of all the micro four third lens camera. It offers the compactness and light weightiness of a micro four thirds lens and more.
It has a very large sensor larger than some full frame) and high ISO range. It also deals with noise very well at high ISO levels. It is strong and rugged and good for both images and videos.
Also, it has an in-built stabilization system which is one of the features most important for low light shooting
Best Full Frame Low Light Camera
Sony is another great brand when it comes to low light cameras. Their Sony Alpha 7R is the best full frame low light camera. It is especially suited for the low light conditions with its noise control ability.
It has high ISO ranges but has also been built with the technology to ensure that the noise that comes with high ISO is well managed. They have a great autofocus system that is a great aid to many photographers.
It is also a DSLR camera with wide apertures and large sensors. Apart from its image ability and quality, it is also a very good camera for video recording.
Best Low Light Point and Shoot Camera
The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II Digital Camera is the best point and shoot camera for low light photography. It is manufactured by the popular brand: Canon. Even though point and shoot cameras are generally not too good for low light conditions, this camera is outstanding.
It has a wide aperture and up to 20.2 megapixels of sensor and this increases its ability to take in light in low light conditions. It also has a technology that enables you to do a lot of editing on the taken shots within the camera itself before they are printed.
This helps to limit the disadvantages of the automatic mode of point and shoot cameras.
Best Low Light Camera for Travelers
The best low light camera is the camera that can combine a mirrorless body with an APS-C lens while providing DSLR qualities. This is what this Sony alpha a6300 does.
It is very portable and can be easily carried around by anybody. ON the other hand, it offers the benefits of a DSLR camera with large sensor, high-speed autofocus, 24-megapixel lens, high and expandable ISO and an interchangeable lens.
This is by far the best camera for travelers who intend to take pictures in low light situations.
Best Waterproof Low Light Camera
The Olympus Tough TG-5 camera is built for the tough conditions. It is a waterproof camera that can survive extreme temperatures, water and go to the places that other cameras cannot go.
In addition, it is also a great low light camera with large apertures. It has a great lens and flash and offers many features that make it a go-to camera for quality photos and videos.
WHAT IS LOW LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY?
Low light photography is the science and art of taking photographs in low light situations where the concentration of light is very low. Low light photography deals with how photographers can manage low light situations to capture the best pictures.
This will involve having the right kind of camera that has been especially designed for low light situations. It also involves taking note of some cues that are helpful during the shooting itself.
Low light photography involves making the best use of the available light by making good use of essential elements like the camera aperture, ISO range amongst others
WHO ARE LOW LIGHT CAMERAS FOR?
Low light cameras are specifically designed for casual and professional photographers who have to capture amazing moments and take pictures for themselves or their clients in low light situations.
This includes wedding photographers who have to take some shots inside the room. It includes photographers that have to take pictures in low light situations as well as those that have to capture important moment indoors or in the dark or dawn.
Practically, every professional photographer needs to get a low light camera because they cannot do without taking pictures in one low light situation or the other
Individuals who can afford it should also get a low light camera to give themselves the pleasure of capturing every moment.
WHAT TYPE OF LOW LIGHT CAMERA SHOULD YOU BUY
Before choosing the type of low light camera you have to buy, you need to be aware of what the different types are. The 7 types of low light cameras with a description of their unique propositions are as follows:
Mirrorless low light Cameras
These are low light cameras that unlike the digital single lens reflex cameras do not contain a mirror that takes in and bounces light to the viewfinder. Images cannot be previewed without the mirror.
Mirrorless low light cameras have fewer components to them, and the absence of the mirror makes it lighter and easier to carry around. The absence of the mirror is now being compensated for with an electronic viewfinder. A model of the image on the LCD can be sent to this electronic viewfinder.
If you want a compact, light weighted camera that still contains the features of a DSLR, then you should buy a mirrorless low light camera.
APS-C low light Cameras
These are low light cameras that have APS-c sized sensor. Their sensor is cropped; they are very compact and offer one of the cheapest low light cameras.
If you want a low light camera that will be portable and easy to transport, buy a camera with an APS-C lens.
Point and Shoot Cameras
These are cameras that have autofocus and a built-in flash. They are the most easy to use cameras. They are compact and are designed for non-professional photographers to capture the moments wherever they go.
The shots are taken in an automatic mode without much manual control over the images produced. The lenses of point and shoot cameras are generally focused free while their apertures are fixed. This means there is little or no control on the exposure of light.
They are easy to use but with less control over the final product from the camera. This is why point and shoot cameras are not well favored by professional photographers
If you are not a professional photographer and need something take pictures with your friends and family, a point and shoot camera will be great for you
Micro four thirds low light Cameras
These cameras also have sensors that are the same size as the sensors of the DSLR cameras. This is a feature that ensures they perform well in low light situations with larger sensors and high ISO ranges. But for all these quality, they are very light weighted and not as heavy as the DSLR cameras
If you need a light weighted camera that is also cheap, then buy a low light camera with Micro Four-thirds lens.
Full Frame low light cameras
These are low light cameras that have a full frame sensor. What defines a full frame low light camera is the full size of the sensor. The sensor has wide apertures, bright lenses which leads to a shallow depth of field, and a high ISO range that helps to focus more light.
If you need a camera with large sensors and aperture for brighter and better pictures, buy a full frame lens camera
Digital Single Lens Reflex low light Cameras
These are cameras that use a digital imaging sensor to take images. There is a mirror where incoming light is bounced to be sent to the viewfinder. When the shutter is clicked, therefore, the mirror gets flipped, and the digital sensor that receives the light to produce the photograph is revealed.
DSLR low light cameras are often bigger because of the mirror and what it does. DSLR cameras also have removable lenses. They give you full control over the final image that appears and allows shots to be taken on manual mode
If you want the best camera for your low light condition and you don’t mind the size and weight, this is definitely your choice
Waterproof low light cameras
Being underwater requires low light photography since the level of light underwater is very low. But in addition to being a low light, cameras that are used for underwater photography must also be waterproof to protect the camera from destruction.
This is the go-to camera for underwater and rugged environment.
ESSENTIAL FEATURES TO LOOK FOR IN A LOW LIGHT CAMERA
Not every camera has the ability and capacity to function as a low light camera. There are certain features and quality that distinguish low light cameras. These features must be present in a camera before it qualifies to be called a low light Camera.
The size of the sensor will determine the amount of light that a camera can capture. Sensor size varies from one camera to the other. The larger the sensor, the greater the amount of light that a camera can capture and the greater the pixels.
This is most relevant in low light situations where there is a low quantity of light. To make the best out of these conditions, therefore, it is necessary to have a very large sensor that captures excellently well all the little amount of light that is available. Some good low light cameras have sensors that are as large as 35mm film cameras. A good low light camera will have a sensor within the range of 10-25 MP.
Larger sensors are also useful because they increase the ISO range of the camera. The larger the sensor, the higher the ISO range the camera can offer. In addition to this, the larger the sensor, the lower the noise that is generated. And since noise is a major talking point in low light photography, a camera with a larger sensor is definitely needed to capture pictures in low light situations.
Image Stabilization system
Cameras that have the image stabilization technology are better for low light situations. Image stabilization helps to produce clear, blur-free photos. Image stabilization technology makes use of sensors that detect unexpected movements and move the camera’s sensor or lens’s glass in response.
Image Stabilization Systems help to remove the blurring effect caused by unexpected, sudden movements of the camera.
Cameras with image stabilization system help you to shoot blur-free pictures at a slower speed. Since blur is one of the issues in low light photography, a good low light camera will have an image stabilization system whether it is lens-based or sensor based.
The ISO is important because it measures the quantity of light that the camera sensors can handle. The ISO is a range and it can be adjusted: reduced or increased as the case may be. In low light situations, it is important to go for cameras that have a wide range of ISO such that the ISO can easily be adjusted to a very high level in very low light situations.
When the ISO is increased this way, it increases the speed of the shutter and this helps not just in low light situations, but also in the capturing of non-momentary objects. In low light situations, therefore it is important to look for a camera with higher ranges of ISO
Higher ISO range also helps to reduce blur in photography. Blur is one of the limiting factors in low light photography but shooting at a high ISO level help to mitigate blur and produce a better picture.
The aperture serves as the medium through which light gets to the lenses of the camera. They are measured using the f-number and when this number is low, it means the aperture is wide. That is, as the f-number gets lower, the aperture is actually wider.
When the aperture is wide, light can come in at a faster rate than when the aperture is thin. Therefore, for low light conditions, you must have a camera that has a low f-number which translates into a larger aperture and more light coming in.
A good low light camera should have an aperture number that is not greater than f/2. At this number, a greater amount of available light is allowed into the camera and a good picture can be taken, a memory created even in very low light conditions.
In low light situations, having a bright lens is important. Bright lenses lead to a shallow depth of field and they help transmit a greater amount of light to the image sensor. In low light situations, bright lenses help to improve the quality of the pictures taken.
Cameras with lenses of f/3 or lower are generally brighter than cameras with a higher f-number. This means that camera brightness is also related to the width of the aperture. The lower the f-number therefore, the brighter the lenses and brighter lenses are key in low light situations.
When the ISO of a camera has been raised to a high level (which is needed in low light situation), it can result in the production of noise when the picture is captured. Noise in photography is manifest in variations in brightness, color, dimness, making the picture largely unattractive.
Therefore, it is important that in low light situations, you look for a camera that in addition to having high ISO range can also deal with noise. Noise can be dealt with when a camera has a larger/wider aperture.
Therefore, an excellent low light camera will have a high ISO range and a wider aperture and other features to deal with the consequent noise.
In low light situations, it is generally difficult to achieve a great focus and the lens can be going forth and back looking for focus. In this case, having cameras with autofocus assist is great and better. Autofocus does not work in low light situations for cameras with very high aperture f-number (meaning thinner aperture).
Therefore, a good low light camera will be a camera with wider aperture since this wider aperture will also help the camera to autofocus. Focusing a camera right is one of the keys to taking good pictures that capture the moment accurately.
Instead of trying to focus manually, good cameras come with autofocus that help the lenses to capture the pictures with a quality focus on the object
FEATURES TO CONSIDER BEFORE BUYING A LOW LIGHT CAMERA
Apart from the general features that every low light camera must possess, there are also some certain distinguishing factors among low light cameras. It is important to consider these details in making a decision on which lo light camera to buy.
Every low light camera must have high ISO range, large sensors, bright lenses, image stabilization system, noise control, noise control, autofocus and powerful processors. But all the cameras that possess these qualities still differ in some respects and those differences will affect your buying decision.
The lens of a camera is a major determinant of the kind of image it will produce. Typically, low light cameras have bright lens and lenses with apertures that are very wide allowing more than enough light to enter into the camera when pictures are taken.
DSLR cameras have very wide apertures and they together with the Mirrorless cameras have lenses that can be replaced. In contrast, the point and shoot low light cameras have lenses that cannot be replaced with thinner apertures.
It is important to consider the type of lenses that work well with your peculiar needs. Low light cameras with removable lenses will be more expensive but they provide you with the opportunity to have a better lens when you are working with even dimmer light situations. If you need this kind of flexibility, then a DSLR may be your best bet.
Also, DSLR cameras offer a great variety of lenses that can be selected from. They have a broader range of available options than the Mirrorless cameras
Brighter lenses and larger sensors will make more quality images. DSLRs and mirrorless cameras tend to produce images of greater quality than the point and shoot alternative. But with the manual mode of the DSLRs, they offer greater image quality than the mirrorless.
The DSLR low light cameras are generally bigger and heavier than the Mirrorless cameras. Also, the point and shoot low light cameras are lighter than the Mirrorless cameras. If size is the greatest factor you are considering, a point and shoot camera will be the go-to camera for you, but it must be observed that point and shoot cameras have limited usage for professional purposes and are more suited for personal usage.
Mirrorless offer a kind of compromise as they are also light weight in comparison to DSLR while offering better professional features than the point and shoot. You ultimately have to decide how important or not size and weight is for your photography adventures
In terms of price, point and shoot low light cameras are cheaper than mirrorless cameras while mirrorless cameras are also cheaper than DSLR cameras. The full range of functions available to the DSLR makes them the most expensive. This in itself is neither an advantage nor a disadvantage. It all depends on the needs of the buyer.
More professional photographers will be less budget conscious when buying a low light camera and may love the flexibility and quality that a DSLR provides in spite of its cost. This will be different with a normal guy that just wants to take pictures with a friend.
Therefore, it is necessary to understand what you need and what type of low light camera satisfy that need before considering budget. Budget is relative to needs. It should not be made primary. Cheap is not always inferior and expensive is not always better
The different sensors also come at different prices. The APS-C sensors tend to be much cheaper than the full frames and the micro four thirds cameras.
You also have to decide on the sensor size that you are most comfortable with. Low light cameras with full frame sensors have larger sensors which help to increase the light that is taken in. Larger sensors are always better for low light situations.
The APS-C sized sensors are cropped sensors that are smaller than the full frame and more compact. The micro four third sensors are also smaller and more compact than the full frame sensors.
But the full frame sensors offer overall better image quality while the other options offer more portability and compactness. As a buyer, you must decide which is more useful for your photography needs
Point and shoot cameras are automatic. There is no control on the photograph that comes out. The photographer just points and what is pointed comes out exactly without any preview.
On the other hand, DSLR cameras have a mirror that shows what the output will be like and gives the photographer the opportunity to edit what will come out in a manual mode.
Mirrorless cameras also lack this ability and alternative options just being developed. The manual mode offers more professionalism but comes with a higher price, and you must decide whether it is an option you need.
Noise control is essential for every low light camera. When the ISO setting is higher, it leads to more noise. However, noise control is aided by a larger sensor a wider aperture. Generally, full frame cameras have larger sensors while DSLRs come with wider apertures than the point and shoot or mirrorless cameras.
Almost all low light cameras have autofocus and the lenses do not need to be dangling around when images are to be taken. Although, it is a fact that cameras with a higher range of ISO tend to give better autofocus. There might not be much difference here between DSLRs, Mirrorless and Point and Shoot cameras.
There are different brands producing different low light cameras. Some well-known brands include Sony, Canon, Nikon, and Olympus. These different brands will differ in terms of prices, customers’ relations, product guaranty and level of trust.
After deciding on the features that are important for you in your purchase and the type of low light camera that suits your needs, you must also choose the brand that will best serve your purposes
Cameras are generally a high-cost investment. You don’t want to invest a huge sum of money on a camera that will not last. If you work in a situation that is easily exposed to water, you might need a waterproof low light camera.
Generally, durability will depend on the brand and the outlet of purchase. It is therefore important to research customers’ satisfaction and reviews before deciding to buy a low light camera.
The key to decision making is that none of these factors should be isolated for analysis. The way to get the best low light camera is to consider all the factors as a whole and decide on what product to buy based on inputs from all the related factors.
A camera is a huge investment, therefore it is essential to be careful before making a decision. We have gone through the features that a camera must have to cope well with low light situations and we have highlighted the 10 best low light cameras that do just that with their varying features and capacities.
Go through the factors to be considered and see how each factor is related to your camera needs, then you will be able to make the right choice of low light camera that will help you capture all your important moments in low light situations or not.