Best Low Light Video Camera
There’s nothing worse than going on a late night photography mission, only to come back with a series of dark and blurry photos that are hard to make out.
To prevent this from happening, you should consider investing in a low light video camera with top performance even when the lights go out.
That way, you can go on your evening adventures and capture stills and video that live up to your expectations.
There are a number of features you’ll need to consider if you want to get your hands on a camera that excels in low light conditions, and we’ll do our best to highlight what they are in this guide of the best low light video cameras.
Here’s what to expect in this article:
- Reviews of the best low light video camera
- A detailed selection guide
- Your burning questions answered in a FAQ
Without further ado, here are our top picks…
👑 Our Pick for Best Overall
⭐ Our Other Top Picks for Low Light Video Cameras
- Best of the Best: Sony Alpha 7S III Full-frame Interchangeable Lens Mirrorless Camera
- Runner Up: Panasonic LUMIX GH5S Body 4K Digital Camera
- Best on a Budget: Canon EOS 6D Mark II Digital SLR Camera
Best Low Light Video Camera Reviews
Sony Alpha 7S III Full-frame Interchangeable Lens Mirrorless Camera (👑 Best of the Best)
If you have the budget, the Alpha 7S III mirrorless camera is an outstanding camera for recording video in low light conditions and as a result out top pick for the best low light video camera.
This is a mirrorless camera that is packed full of excellent features both for capturing crisp stills and high-quality video. To start, there’s the 12.1 Megapixel Exmor R sensor which has been optimized for 4K and boasts top sensitivity and speed. This top sensor is backed up by a powerful BIONZ XR processing engine which delivers improvements to the series in terms of color reproduction and texture depiction.
It’s the video you’ll be most interested in, though, and that’s where this powerful camera really shines. This camera is the perfect companion for late night shoots with its top-of-the-range 4K video recording up to an astonishing 120p5. This means you not only get the highest quality video that can capture any scene in glorious detail, but you can do so while keeping the footage extremely smooth. The superior frame rate offered by the camera allows you to experiment with various shooting options, so you can dabble in epic slo-mo if you want or capture fast-moving subjects without sacrificing any of the quality.
This high-quality video recording is backed up by a sophisticated AutoFocus system. The AF of the camera is so advanced that even in the darkest of conditions your camera will easily be able to track and pick up the subject of your video. The manufacturer claims that the AF works even for subjects that are barely visible to the naked eye. As a result, you don’t have to worry about losing the focus of your nighttime shoots. There’s also impressive AF transition speed, which lets you switch between seven different levels and shift sensitivity across five levels, so that you can mix up the type of focus you achieve depending on what you want to capture.
You can also rely on the full-frame movie performance of the camera due to the high sensitivity and many ISO settings. To be precise, the ISO of this camera expands up to 409600, with a 15-stop wide dynamic range. This great ISO range is another top feature for optimal low light performance, and when paired with the extra-strong image stabilization allows you to keep things steady when you need to. To make sure you have everything in frame you need for the best footage, there’s the vari-angle LCD monitor with is large at three inches and features a flexible open design.
- 12.1 Megapixel Exmor R image sensor
- BIONZ XR processing engine
- Wide ISO range u to 409,600
- Up to 4K 120p5
- Hybrid AF10-bit 4:2:2 recording
- AF Transition Speed levels
- AF Subject Shift Sensitivity levels
- Vari-angle LCD monitor
Panasonic LUMIX GH5S Body 4K Digital Camera (🥈 Runner Up)
The Panasonic Lumix GH5S is our runner up pick for the best low light video camera, and it’s a much more affordable option that the Sony Alpha at almost half the price.
This camera has a durable body that is both splash and freeze proof, and rugged enough to withstand plenty of knocks. The main advantage of this is that it’s a camera suitable for taking out on adventures, without fear of dropping and breaking it. This is especially useful for shooting in low light conditions, because you never know when you might stumble on some loose gravel or a stray rock, so it’s important that you have a camera you know can stand up to some punishment. The durable magnesium alloy body also makes it freezeproof to a low of -10 degrees, so if you are shooting video in a cold part of the world you don’t have to worry about issues with the camera freezing up. Finally, the design makes the camera both splash and dustproof, with weather sealing on every joint, dial, and button so it’s suitable for use in all weather conditions.
This Panasonic camera offers premium quality photos and videos with its 10.2 Megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor. This is matched with an ultra-we dynamic range, and dual native ISO which makes the camera capable of ultra-sensitive video capture with little to no image noise making it perfect for low light conditions.
As for video, the camera has the world’s 1st 4K 60p/50p ultra smooth quality video so you can shoot in a variety of resolutions and frame rates and experiment until you land on the perfect settings for the situation. The anamorphic video mode allows you to switch out the lens for higher performance, durability, and mobility for professional level video production.
- 10.2 Megapixel Micro Four Thrids sensor
- Wide dynamic range
- Dual Native ISO
- Rugged splash, dust, and freezeproof design
- Anamorphic 4K video mode
- Various connectivity and port options
- Several framerate and resolution options
Canon EOS 6D Mark II Digital SLR Camera (💎 Best on a Budget)
If you’re working with a budget and can’t afford to spend a great deal of money on a low light video camera, you should check out the Canon EOS 6D Mark II DSLR as it’s a great example of what you can get on a budget.
The Canon EOS 6D Mark II DSLR is a fine camera for shooing video in low light conditions, and an outstanding all-round device. The first feature worthy of note is the 26.2 Megapixel full frame CMOS sensor. Whereas the Megapixel count is impressive, we’d like to draw your attention to the full frame sensor, which optimizes the camera’s performance in low light conditions. This will allow you to snap crisp stills when the sun goes down, and take clear video that stays in focus even when the lighting is poor.
The camera is powered by the DIGIC 7 Image Preocessor, and backed up by Dual Pixl CMOS AutoFocus with phase detection. These features should ensure that everything you shoot is up to standard, and the subject remains in clear focus even in low light conditions. The vary angle 3 inch LCD touch screen should help you to this end, too, as you should be able to see clearly what’s in frame for your video. The ISO range of 100-4000 is great for late night shoots, too.
The drawback of this budget-friendly camera is no 4K video, unfortunately. However, what you get in its place is still capable of producing some impressive results. You can record in 1080p at an ultra smooth 60fps, which lets you capture fast-moving subjects and experiment with slo-mo footage too. What you can do in 4K is take a stunning time lapse video which will combine still images over taken over a period of time and stitch them together for epic end results.
- 26.2 Megapixel full frame CMOS sensor
- 45 point all cross type AF
- Dual Pixel CMOS AF with phase detection
- DIGIC 7 Image Processor
- Vary angle 3 inch LCD touch screen
- Includes GPS, WiFi, NFC, and Bluetooth
There are a number of factors you need to bear in mind to get the best low light video camera for your needs.
Among which are the size of the sensor, the image processor engine, and the ISO settings.
We’ll go through each of these factors and more in this ultimate guide, so you can make an informed decision the first time around.
While design features like size and weight can be important, we’re going to focus exclusively on the technical features of a good low light video camera as that’s what you should pay attention to for the best performance.
Perhaps the most important factor for low light performance is the image sensor.
One of the biggest issues that prevents low light stills and video from being as clear as they can be is image noise.
This refers to the grainy nature of photos taken in the dark, and it can be mitigated to a large extent by the image sensor of the camera.
As a general rule of thumb, you want to find a video camera with a large sensor if you prioritize low light performance.
With a big sensor, you will be able to cut down on some of the image noise associated with low lighting photography and videography.
Conversely, small sensors will lead to more image noise, so avoid cameras with smaller sensors if you value low light performance.
When it comes to the Megapixels of the image sensor, this may not be quite as important as the size of the sensor. So while you shouldn’t ignore the Megapixels if you’re looking for crisp quality images and video, it isn’t a factor that will make a huge difference for the low light performance.
The reason why a large image sensor leads to superior low light performance is that the surface area is big enough to let in more light than a small sensor would.
As you can imagine, in low light conditions, you want to ensure that you can get as much light into the sensor as possible to bring about the best video recording results with the highest quality.
The lens aperture is also important if you want to capture excellent video footage in low light conditions.
Similar to the image sensor, the larger the aperture the better the camera will perform in low light conditions.
With a greater aperture, you have more control over how much light enters the sensor, which is essential if you have any hopes of capturing video that doesn’t come out dark, grainy, and unclear.
To tell what the aperture of a camera is, you’ll need to look at the f-number listed on the product page. It isn’t a high number that you’re looking for in this case, though, as the lower the number the better for the aperture.
If you get your hands on a DSLR, you’ll have more options when it comes to the aperture of the camera, since you can change out the lenses depending on what video you’re looking to capture.
One of the greatest indicators of how a camera will perform in low light conditions lies within the ISO settings it offers.
If you have high ISO settings on your camera, you’ll be able to shoot with a faster shutter speed, which will address one of the biggest issues with shooting video in low light conditions: blur.
Generally, you want to find a video camera that has a wide range of ISO settings, since this will allow you to tinker with it until you settled upon the best ones for the task at hand.
Image Stabilization and AutoFocus are both essential for capturing excellent video footage.
Without these systems in place, you might find that shooting in low light conditions leads to blur and image noise.
With Image Stabilization, you will be able to capture video footage that remains steady and stable even if you’re recording with a handheld device. That means a tripod isn’t necessary for those late night video shoots.
With AutoFocus, you don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to focus manually on the subjects as the system will take care of it for you. AF keeps track of the subjects and maintains a clear focus on them.
If you don’t want your nighttime video to look like the Blair Witch Project, then you’d do well to pay attention to these systems and find a video camera with a good AF and Image Stabilization system.
Factors to Look For When Buying a Low Light Camera
If you are an amateur photographer, then capturing some amazing images in low light conditions can be a challenging task for you. Professional photographers know how to make photography breath-taking even in low light.
As an amateur, you may find it difficult to choose the best low light digital camera from the market, as a number of factors are associated with it.
Though the skill and technique play a major role in great photography, you cannot deny the role of a feature-packed camera for this. We are here to help you to buy the best camera for low light conditions with a few simple tips and we hope this will help you to secure a profitable deal.
1. Size of the Sensor
Sensor size plays a major role in low light photography and this can be a key buying factor for you. If the sensor of the camera is low, it will capture less light and you will get the low-quality picture as the result.
Big sensors incorporate necessary light required for high-quality photography and if you are planning to invest in a camera designed for low-light photography, never forget to conduct market research; as such a camera can be highly expensive and simple market research can help you save a lot.
2. ISO of the Sensor
Here is another important factor to look for when buying a digital camera for low light. ISO measures and controls the sensitivity of the sensor. Higher ISO ensures faster shutter speed and high-quality photography. If you buy a camera with better sensor sensitivity, it will create great images even in low light conditions.
It is better to buy a camera with 1600 or more ISO. You can also find cameras with more than 25,000 ISO but these cameras are quite expensive and you have to be a little bit careful when choosing such one.
3. Take Care of Megapixels
Though the capability of the sensor ensures the quality of a photograph megapixels or the resolution plays an important role in photography. If your camera comes with a larger number of megapixels, you can expect high-quality and sharp print images.
Higher megapixels will certainly help you to capture high-resolution images but a high megapixels camera will not make you an expert overnight.
Here you must remember that megapixels are just another feature of a camera that plays a role in low light photography. Do not purchase an expensive camera with higher megapixels if you do not need it. Do not get lured by high megapixels, as this can compel you to spend hugely.
4. Prefer Brighter Lenses
If you are planning to buy the best low light camera, you must pay attention to the lenses. Brighter lenses are good for low light photography, as brighter lenses come with the low depth field that allows the light to reach the sensor easily. Brighter lenses can make images impressive even in low light conditions.
The aperture value is another factor you need to look at. The aperture value is related to lenses. Greater aperture value ensures less bright lenses. If you are planning to invest in a camera for low light photography brighter lenses will be an effective feature for you.
5. Noise Control Feature
The high volume of ISO often makes more noise and you have to be careful about this when buying the best low light camera. Many low light cameras come with noise control feature that affects sensor and reduce noises. In most cases, low-light cameras feature a larger sensor and the size often determines the level of noise in cameras.
6. Options In Menu
The menu will bring the world of options for you and you must consider it an important factor. Though the nature of the menu varies from one model to another you have to make sure it is easy to understand and use. Some brands prefer user-friendly menu options for the users and you may not need to read the manuals to understand them.
Some cameras can save photos in either JPEG or raw format, while most of the cameras can save photos in JPEG format. Raw format is believed to be the best, as the raw format can capture all the information and allows the users to enjoy the flexibility to adjust mistakes.
Autofocus remains a key factor when it comes to high-quality photography. The autofocus feature helps users target the spot they want to target when capturing an image. Missed focus can be a major issue and the autofocus feature can help you to get rid of it.
3. Image Stabilization
Whether it is a low-light or normal light photography, vibration and shakiness can be a major obstacle for you. The digital image stabilization feature can stable the camera lens and reduce the possibility of blurriness even in low light conditions.
4. Panoramic Mode
The feature allows a camera to capture multiple images of an object or scene and joint them together to make it a panoramic shot. You can find the feature more in point and shoot and mirrorless cameras than DSLRs.
5. Video Recording
Video recording has become an option in digital cameras. You can find the options in most types of digital cameras including point and shoot, mirrorless and DSLRs. You can also find a digital camera with 4K video recording option.
7. Other Features
Along with the lens, ISO and megapixels, you need to take care of a few additional features that can play a major role in low light photography. Many brands come with low-light cameras with Wi-Fi that facilitates wireless file transfer and sharing.
You can also focus on the size and capacity of the SD card. Most of the low-light cameras now come with the maximum 128 GB capacity that will allow you to stores plenty of high-resolution images without any fear of low memory alert.
Low light cameras are expensive and you will expect them to serve you for a long period. Durability is one of the key factors to look at. Though the brand you have chosen may not say anything about the durability of the product you have to make sure that it features sturdy magnesium allow as material for internal frames and sealing for weather protection.
Before you think about buying the best low light camera, you should have a purpose in mind. Low-light cameras are designed for those interested in indoor and low-light photography. They are expensive and come with a lot of features and options. If you are a photography enthusiast or want to explore the world of low-light photography, you can invest in a low-light camera.
A low-light camera can be an expensive purchase and you must set a budget before you heading for an online or physical camera shop. The price of a camera varies from one model to another and you must check all the features and confirm if you need them to fulfil your purpose.
Expensive camera models are out there and they can be great for low light photography. If you have come with a strict budget, do not choose a camera with unnecessary features and accessories.
These are some of the key factors that you must look for when buying the best low light camera from online or physical stores. Low light photography is a complex task and you may require some to become a master in this. Buying a suitable low light camera may help you capture some breathtaking images even in low light conditions.
Investing in a good low light video camera is an excellent idea if you want to make sure your footage stays as clear as it would be in daylight.
If you enjoy recording video in the evening, there’s no doubt that an investment in a low light video camera will pay dividends.
Frequently Asked Questions About Low Light Video Cameras
Which camera is best in low light?
We believe that the best video camera in low light is the Sony Alpha 7S III.
This top mirrorless camera from Sony is well-equipped to keep subjects in focus even when the lighting is poor with its sophisticated hybrid AutoFocus system.
It also has a host of features that lend themselves well to low light conditions such as the broad range ofISO settings, 15+ stop dynamic range and low noise images.
Is 4K better in low light?
Yes, 4K offers a higher-quality video than 1080p would in low light conditions.
Even if you record the video in 4K and then downsize it to 1080p, the footage will still look better than if you were to capture it in 1080p.
Generally, recording in 4K should lead to a higher level of noise reduction than with other resolutions too.
How do you know if a camera is good in low light?
There are several factors and features that can determine a camera’s performance in low light condition.
You’ll need to tackle two main issues to get the footage you’re looking for: blur and noise.
The features you should pay attention to for optimal low light performance are the image sensor, processing engine, and ISO settings.
Which compact camera is best for low light?
The Nikon D7500 is a lightweight DSLR camera, which is available at a reasonable price and punches above its weight in terms of performance.
This is a camera which offers up top level performance in low light conditions, while still being compact and light enough to carry in your pocket, which encourages spontaneous night time photo shoots.
Which camera is best for night photography?
Arguably the best camera for night photography is the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.
This full frame DSLR has a 30.4 Megapixel full frame sensor, and a wide ISO range of 100-32000 which expands up to 50-102400.
These features, combined with the 61 point autofocus system, make for an incredibly competent camera for shooting in low light conditions.
Can I capture action shots in low light conditions?
Capturing a shot in low light conditions can be a challenging task for an amateur unless you have an advanced low light camera. If you have a camera with an adjustable aperture and shutter speed, it will be easy for you to freeze a moment in low light conditions. Though an efficient low light camera makes the task of light photography easy the quality of the images often depends on how dark the object or the area is.
How can I reduce the noise level?
Noise is a major issue in low light photography and you can reduce the level of noise by lowering the level of ISO. If possible try to identify the ISO at which the camera creates noise. However, apart from measuring the ISO level, you have to ensure the right exposure.
Underexposed shot often create noise in low light conditions. Lowering ISO can help you to capture great low light images.
What is the importance of white balance?
White balance is an important factor in the low light photography and it’s important choose the right white balance for the conditions.
The format of your photo can play a role here. If the photo has been taken in RAW format, you will have the chance to adjust the balance later, while in JPGs format you will need to have perfect white balance in your camera.
In most cases, the camera lens cannot differentiate the color of sunlight and fluorescent and tungsten light bulb. Cameras that come with a white balance setting can adjust the difference automatically and create an image as natural as possible.
Some digital cameras also come with a manual white balance setting. In simple words, white balance tells the camera how the different colours will be captured in different lights. It also helps in removing unwanted colour cast. Colour cast can make your image look unnatural and can ruin your image.
How many megapixels are required for low light photography?
Megapixel alone will not help you to capture good images in low light conditions, as the sensor and ISO will also play a major role here. If you are planning to buy the best low light camera, it is better to invest in a product that comes with the effective features required for low light photography. A 15-20 megapixel camera can be enough for the low light photoshoot but you have to look at other factors for a satisfactory outcome.
Related: Best Action Cameras
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A Final Word From Run Gun Shoot
If you are an amateur photographer, capturing quality images in low light conditions can be a challenging task for you. If you are interested in low light photography and want to invest in the best low light camera, you should take care of all these above-mentioned factors.
Choosing a camera with great low light performance boils down to a few important features such as ISO, but will also depend on your personal preferences.
Whether you’re looking to take epic night time shots or record stunning videos in the dark, there’ll be a camera for you in this guide.