The best low light camera should have high ISO capabilities, image stabilization, and a high frame rate. Good autofocus and noise reduction capabilities are also beneficial for low light photography.
We have found low light cameras for all skill levels and budgets. And they have the right specs for when the sun goes down or when the lights go dim. At the top of our list is the Sony a9 II. It has amazing in-body image stabilization, a wide ISO range, and low light autofocus (AF).
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What’s the Best Low Light Camera?
“Best” is a difficult term to define, especially when it comes to cameras. In the end, you need to think about which camera is best for you. What is your budget? And what photography do you want to do?
Our list of the best low light cameras has something for everyone. We’re sure you will find the best low light camera for your needs. Use these links to find the right section for you:
- Best Low Light Cameras for Professionals
- Best Low Light Cameras for Enthusiasts
- Best Low Light Cameras for Beginners
Best Low Light Cameras for Professionals
- Impressive 20 fps continuous shooting
- Lightning-fast autofocus
- Improved ergonomics
- Great file transferring speeds
- 5-axis in-body image stabilization to counter camera shake
- Advanced 153-point AF system
- Excellent ISO range and low-light performance
- Extra-capacity dual card slots
- Weather-sealed, durable body
- Long-lasting battery life
- Unbelievable low-light performance
- Excellent ISO range
- Fantastic AF system
- Impressive high-resolution EVF
- Microphone and headphone ports
- Fantastic overall image quality
- Excellent 3D continuous AF tracking
- Sharp 4K / 30p Ultra HD video
- Long, 1,840-shot battery life
- Durable, weather-sealed construction
1. Sony a9 II
The Sony a9 II was designed for professional sports photographers and photojournalists. It has all the features to meet their needs, such as a rapid burst and top-of-the-range autofocus. And it has the best low light features for professionals.
The 24.2 MP sensor isn’t breathtaking. Nor is the standard ISO range. But the Sony a9 II has features that make it a market leader in low light photography. The ISO range is extendable to 204,800, which is impressive. And the camera maintains excellent image quality with minimal noise.
The in-body stabilization system allows you to shoot at slower shutter speeds. So you don’t have to worry about
The jewel in the crown is the hybrid AF system. It has 693 points for phase detection. And there are 425 points of contrast detection. It’s the perfect system for the fast-paced action of sports photography. And the a9 II‘s AF also performs well when you’re in dark conditions.
2. Nikon D5
The sensor resolution may seem low. But the Nikon FX-format sensor isn’t your average image sensor. It is more receptive to light. And coupled with the Expeed 5 processor, the images won’t disappoint you.
The star of the show is the ISO range. The standard range is 100 to 102,400, which by itself is impressive. But this is extendable to 3,280,00. This is outstanding and makes it a true low light specialist.
The Nikon D5 also has brilliantly sharp and responsive autofocus. The system uses 153 points of detection. And it performs well down to light levels as dark as -4 EV. Plus, the video quality is also excellent, even in low light.
The problems are its size, weight, and price. And it lacks an image stabilization system. But you can rely on the quality. And when it comes to DSLR cameras, the D5 is the best camera for low light.
3. Sony A7S III
The Sony a7S III is a specialist in two areas. It is excellent for video. And it has superb low light capabilities. So if you’re into shooting videos in the dark, the A7S III is the best camera for low light footage capture.
The Sony Exmor R sensor is highly sensitive. But the low pixel resolution does let the camera down slightly. But when it comes to low light, the camera has no problems at all.
The ISO is expandable to 409,600, which is outstanding. Digital noise is kept to a minimum, even in the darkest conditions. And the advanced autofocus system functions without issue down to -6 EV.
The autofocus system uses 759 points of phase detection. And the in-body image stabilization gives you 5.5 stops of compensation. And both these features work for stills and video with the a7S III.
4. Nikon D850
Professional photographers all over the world are using the Nikon D850. This DSLR camera has been around for a few years now. And some of its tech specs have been surpassed. But it’s still a camera you can turn to for low light photography.
Image resolution is this DSLR’s real strength. The full frame sensor has a staggering 45.7 MP, and it’ll give you unforgettable images. And the high resolution ensures you no digital noise when you’re shooting in lower light.
The expanded ISO reaches 102,400. And with this level of image resolution, you can push it to its limit without fear of losing quality. Even with minimal light, you can capture usable images.
The D850‘s autofocus system is reliable in low light conditions. But there is no in-body stabilization. You have to rely on lens stabilization systems. Fortunately, Nikon has an excellent range of lenses for F-mount cameras.
5. Canon EOS R6
The Canon EOS R6 is a solid all-round full frame
The image quality from the full frame sensor is good. But the extra features make this a true contender when the lights go dim.
It has Canon’s Dual Pixel autofocus system with 100% image coverage. It uses 1053 AF areas no matter what you’re shooting. And the 5-axis image stabilizer gives you eight stops of shake correction.
These features maintain high image quality when shooting in low light. You’ll be impressed by the images even when using the EOS R6‘s expanded ISO range.
Best Low Light Cameras for Enthusiasts
- Excellent low-light focusing
- Lightweight and portable
- Superb low-light dynamic range
- Dual memory card slots
- Lightweight and portable
- Image stabilization for camera shake
- Dual memory card slots
- Great 4K video capabilities
- Smaller, compact DSLR body
- Easy to handle and hold
- Long battery life
- Decent APS-C BSI-CMOS sensor
- A great frame rate of 15 fps
- 6.5 stops of image stabilization
- 4K video (DCI or Ultra HD) up to 60 fps
- A fully articulating rear touchscreen
- 12 Film Simulation modes
- Fantastic image quality
- Impressive 45-point AF system
- Built well and nice to handle
- Handy built-in Wi-Fi and GPS
1. Nikon Z6 II
The Nikon Z6 II is about as versatile as a full frame camera can be. It’s great for stills and video. There’s a good burst for continuous shooting. And low light shooting isn’t a problem either.
The image resolution is 24.5 MP. This isn’t groundbreaking, especially for a full frame camera. But the image quality is still excellent. And this
You can extend the high ISO from 51,200 to 204,800. This wide ISO range gives you flexibility and reliability. And the camera works hard to reduce digital noise, even at higher ISO settings.
The Z6 II has a special low light metering system that can assess images when light is limited to -6 EV. The in-body stabilization also helps to keep your image quality high. And the hybrid autofocus system performs well when light is low.
Nikon has an excellent selection of Z-mount lenses to go with this camera. You don’t get the same variety as their F-mount series, but the collection is growing.
2. Panasonic Lumix S5
The Panasonic Lumix S5 is a workhorse of a camera. It’s lightweight and robust. And it’s one of the best low light cameras on the market.
The 24.2 MP image resolution is perfectly respectable. But the Lumix S5 has a killer spec combination. It has a solid ISO range, advanced autofocus, and reliable image stabilization.
The top ISO setting is 51,200. And noise becomes a problem as you near the limit. But you can still capture usable images throughout the ISO range. You also get V-Gamut mode for a 14-plus stop dynamic range.
The autofocus system has head, face, and eye detection, making your life a lot easier. And the 5-axis in-body stabilization system is second to none in this price range. It allows you to shoot at a 6.5-stop, slower shutter speed. This is perfect for low light shooting.
The Lumix S5 also has great video capture and burst mode. So if you’re a videographer or vlogger lacking light, it’s one of the best cameras for low light shooting.
3. Nikon D7500
If you’re looking for a DSLR camera, the Nikon D7500 is a low light specialist. The camera has the classic Nikon DSLR build quality. And it’s durable and robust. The specs might not look like much to be excited about on paper. But it has excellent low light performance.
The ISO range is 100 to 51,200, and digital noise is kept to a minimum. You get usable images in some of the most extreme conditions. There is also an auto ISO mode that selects the correct number for the conditions. It’s a great time-saver and learning tool.
Photographers used to more modern cameras might not like the old-fashioned pentaprism viewfinder. But the touchscreen does have articulation capabilities.
The battery life is excellent, achieving 900 shots from one charge. Like most Nikon DSLR cameras, the D7500 is usable and reliable. And for low like conditions, it’s one of the best out there.
4. Fujifilm X-T4
The Fujifilm X-T4 is a versatile crop-frame
The 26.1 MP image quality gives you a great basis to start from. The standard ISO range isn’t impressive. But you can extend it to 51,200. And as you go further up the ISO range, it continues to produce usable images.
The camera’s other features make the X-T4 a contender in dark conditions. It has a 5-axis in-body image stabilization system. This allows you to shoot at a slower shutter speed without experiencing blur. And the autofocus tracking system works when it’s as dark as -6 EV.
The 4K video capture also works well in low light. The battery life is good. And you can shoot up to 2000 photos without recharge with the battery extension.
5. Canon EOS 6D II
DSLR cameras are great photo workhorses. And the Canon EOS 6D Mark II is the perfect example. It has the classic DSLR traits of reliability and usability. And it has superb low light performance.
When the sun is shining, you get excellent stills with a resolution of 26.2 MP. And the image quality is maintained even up to the highest standard ISO stop of 40,000. You can also expand the ISO range to 102,400. And you might experience some noise at the expanded stops. But you still get usable images.
The autofocus isn’t the most advanced, with only 45-point cross-type detection. But it is fast and reliable in low light. It continues to function down at low light levels of -4 EV.
It’s a classic DSLR camera and one of the best for low light conditions. It might not suit everybody. But the EOS 6D Mark II might be the best low light camera for Canon enthusiasts.
6. Panasonic Lumix GH5S
The Panasonic Lumix GH5S is aimed at videographers as well as photographers. Its dual purpose does affect the stills functions. But if you’re looking for a camera that records videos, this is one of the best low light cameras available.
Don’t be alarmed by the 10.2 MP resolution. This is a Micro Four Thirds camera, so the sensor is naturally smaller. But the extra photoreceptive sensor surface delivers excellent image quality. And it also provides an ultra-wide dynamic range.
The rugged body is splash- and freeze-proof. And the battery is reasonable at 440 shots per charge. The Panasonic Lumix GH5S is one of the best low light cameras for stills and video.
Best Low Light Cameras for Beginners
- Great image quality and exposure
- Fast and reliable autofocus with plenty of AF points
- Improved dynamic range and high-ISO performance compared to previous
- Compact design for portability
- Very beginner-friendly
- Excellent image quality
- Built-in image stabilization for video and low light
- Endless list of compatible lenses
- Excellent 4K video features
- Powerful 32.5 MP APS-C sensor
- Rapid 30 fps burst mode
- Uncropped 4K video with full AF
- Compact and lightweight body
- Accurate AF with face and eye detection
- Superb 26 MP APS-C sensor
- 4K / 30 fps and Full HD / 120 fps video
- Fast AF system with broad coverage
- Articulating touchscreen
- 20 fps burst with electronic shutter
- Excellent image quality and sensor
- Good ISO range and for low light
- 3x optical zoom for extra magnification
- Bright vari-angle LCD touchscreen
- Compact and robust body with weather sealing
1. Sony a6300
It’s a crop sensor camera, so it doesn’t have the resolution of a full frame one. But 24.2 MP from an APS-C sensor won’t disappoint.
The ISO range is the feature that makes this a low light specialist. You won’t find many cameras with an ISO range of 100 to 51,200 in the same price bracket. You can shoot up to ISO 25,000 without experiencing any noise. Even beyond this point, the image quality stays high.
The autofocus system is another strong point for the Sony a6300. It’s quick and reliable. And it uses 425 points of phase detection that keep your images in sharp focus even when light is running low.
2. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV
A lot of people might be concerned by the smaller sensor size. But the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is one of the best low light cameras.
Micro Four Thirds cameras are often misunderstood. The sensor is smaller than those of the APS-C and full frame cameras. But this Olympus still packs a punch. And the smaller sensor gives you an extended focal length.
The standard resolution is 20.3 MP, which is more than respectable. But the ISO range of 80 to 25,600 makes this a competitive low light camera. If the light does start to fade, you won’t need to panic.
The in-body image stabilization system is the feature that sets this camera apart. It’s not something often found in a camera of this price bracket.
The system keeps your images sharp and distortion-free when conditions are favorable. And you don’t need to worry when using slower shutter speeds with the OM-D E-M10 Mark IV.
Olympus also has an excellent lens selection for its Micro Four Thirds cameras. Selecting the right lens can also help you achieve good results when the lights go out.
3. Canon EOS M6 II
This is a small and compact camera. But when it comes to image quality, it will knock your socks off. The APS-C sensor provides an image resolution of 32.5 MP. The image quality of this standard is a great place to start for night shooting.
The standard ISO range is 100 to 25,600 but expands to 51,200. The image resolution is so good that noise doesn’t become a problem until things get really dark. It’s perfect for night shoots and concerts.
Autofocus is a strong point. The phase detection AF works well in darker situations. You can keep your images crisp and clear. The main weakness is the battery life. Taking 300 shots per charge won’t get professionals too far. But the EOS M6 Mark II should be fine for beginners.
4. Fujifilm X-T30
The Fujifilm X-T30 is in the beginners’ category. But its affordability means you get a lot for your money. It gets the job done in low light. And you can grow into the camera as your knowledge improves.
This is a great all-round mirrorless camera. The 26.1 MP resolution gives you excellent images. And you get the option of a mechanical or electronic shutter for continuous shooting. The latter gives you a rapid 30 fps burst rate.
The standard ISO range of 200 to 12,800 doesn’t seem impressive. But this can be extended to 100-51,200, giving you superb images in low light. Digital noise becomes a problem, but only if you really push the ISO.
One problem is the lack of an in-body stabilization system. But the autofocus has excellent low light phase detection capabilities. The X-T30 was built with low light photography in mind. So it’s one of the best low light cameras available today.
5. Canon G1 X III
Are you looking for a compact camera with excellent low light performance? Then the Canon G1X Mark III could be the answer to your prayers. It’s made for travel and won’t let you down when the road gets dark.
Don’t be fooled by this camera’s size. The 24.2 MP resolution can compete with many DSLRs in the same price range. And those won’t fit in your pocket like this one.
The maximum ISO range is 100 to 25,600. That’s extended from 12,800. It may not seem like much compared to other cameras on this list. But it’s quite good for a compact camera.
What is Low Light Photography?
Light is one of the essential elements in photography. And low light conditions have always been a challenge for photographers.
Light reacts with the film emulsion or triggers the camera sensor. This is how a photograph is made. The more light there is, the easier the process is. And in the past, low light photography has been a problem.
Camera technology has come a long way in the last few years. And now cameras are built to cope with low light conditions. They have the functions and features for excellent images even when light is at a premium.
If your film or sensor doesn’t get enough light, you experience two main problems. Your image will be underexposed, which means the photo is dark and lacks detail. Plus, your image will have noise.
Noise is an image defect that gives it a granular effect. With film photography, this problem is called grain. There are solutions in post-processing. But the best solution is to have a camera that can cope with the conditions.
When you’re looking for the best low light camera, you need to be aware of these things.
Dealing with low light has always been a problem for photographers. But all leading camera manufacturers are tackling low light photography problems head-on.
Camera technology is advancing all the time. And now low light solutions are being provided. No matter your skill level or budget, you can find the best low light camera to meet your needs. If budget isn’t an issue, we suggest you pick the Sony a9 II.