As a photographer, you will learn that light will make or break every shot you take. Lighting can greatly affect the quality and aesthetic of an image. Too much light, and you’ve got a burnt picture. Too little, and you’ve got distortion, grain, low sharpness, and color aberration everywhere.
Between the two extremes, it’s always a lot easier to deal with more light. Simply adjusting some settings on any run-of-the-mill camera can instantly temper bright light. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for poor light settings. Without enough light coming into your lens, your camera will struggle to make sense of what’s in front of it. Even with night mode activated, there’s very little that your camera might be able to detect.
Sadly, flash is rarely ever leveraged by professional photographers who want to capture art instead of just snapping shots for the sake of remembering happy memories. So if you find yourself struggling with poor lighting, this list should shed some light on your options for the various camera types on the market.
The Canon PowerShot SX410 The Absolute Best Available!
When talking of cameras, there are only a handful of trusted brand-names that easily and instantly come to mind – Canon is one of the most prominent. This long-standing name in the photography industry has designed and released countless models throughout the years, catering to every type of photographer out there.
For people who just can’t get enough of those dramatic limited light images, the Canon PowerShot SX410 IS proves to be a very sound investment. This camera features an aperture range of F3.5 – F5.6, allowing in a significant amount of light for low light imaging. The result is dramatically focused subjects against stunningly crisp background settings. Able to capture stunning contrast between light and shadows for effortlessly artful images with each snap, this camera is definitely worth the shot.
What to Love About the Canon PowerShot SX410 IS
- Powerful contrast detect sensor allowing the camera to maximize light on the correct planes of the subject.
- The combination of a 20.0-megapixel sensor and a Canon DIGIC 4+ image processor generates aberration-free images consistent from the center to the edges.
- Able to capture 25 frames per second, making it a viable option for videographers as well.
- Various preset shooting modes for easy versatility with minimal adjustment effort.
What’s Not So Hot
- Flash does not automatically lift and requires a manual flip in order to activate – even with the flash setting turned on.
- Slight difference with real colors and captured colors might disappoint professional users, but is negligible for most casual users.
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS50S!
Another brand muscling it out for the top spot in the photography arena is Panasonix. Despite being more popular for their consumer electronics and household appliances, their LUMIX line of cameras are budget friendly, easy to use, and formidable imaging devices that have been patronized the world over.
Their top entry for low light cameras has to be the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS50S. This camera comes fitted with an aperture range that spans F3.3 – F6.4, a serious upgrade compared to other LUMIX cameras in the past. Fitted with a much better sensor with a higher light sensitivity, this camera can capture crystal clear sharpness in significantly low light settings – without the use of flash or night mode.
What to Love About the Panasonic LUMIC DMC-ZS50S
- Vintage body design makes it an aesthetic accessory on its own!
- Contrast detect sensor creates marvellous depth for dramatic images.
- Enhanced sensor allows users to capture crisp images in night or dark settings.
- 30x zoom zeroes in on distant subjects with ease and clarity.
- Minimum shutter speed of 4 seconds lengthens exposure to capture more light – perfect for snapping pictures of dark skies and stars.
What’s Not So Hot
- Small screen size makes it difficult to scan captured images.
- Not dust resistant – might need to have it professionally cleaned after a few months of use.
The Nikon D500 Best Low Light DSLR Camera!
A digital single reflex camera is the go-to for any professional photographer or learning amateur. These high-tech cameras provide a wide array of options, and make it possible for users to explore and expand their horizons when it comes to the skills they use and the outcomes they achieve.
While the DSLR market is heavily influenced by brand names, there is one manufacturer that stands out and shines a little brighter than the rest. The ever-reliable Nikon name has been tried and trusted by countless individuals across the globe, and has long been regarded as one of the top brands for DSLR camera. Their Nikon D500 is a feature-rich juggernaut that has proven numerous times that the brand means business.
Equipped with a powerful ISO of 100-51,200, darkness is no match for this superior imaging device. Able to capture subjects in severely low light settings, this DSLR proves that nothing and nowhere is ever too dark to be seen.
With a long list of features, functions, and preset options, this versatile tool just might be the ultimate camera in this catagory – for the buyer with the right budget.
What to Love About the Nikon D500 DX-Format DSLR
- Powerful, robust, superior imaging quality perfect for professionals and learning amateurs.
- Smaller than other DSLR cameras without sacrificing durability and functionality.
- 20.9 megapixel sensor captures details to a tee, minimizing distortion and grain no matter the light settings.
- 4K video recording at 200 frames per second for seamless video capture at a professional level.
What’s Not So Hot
- Quite heavy at nearly 2 pounds – can be a bit of a handful especially for outdoor use. Tripod might be necessary for smaller users.
- Quiet heavy on the pocket as well! At nearly 4 times the cost of other cameras on the list, this one’s price point is intended for those who have a little more to spare.
The Sony DSCW220/B Is The Low Light Compact Camera Option!
Yet another behemoth in the consumer electronics market is Sony. With thousands of different products under their brand, it only seemed fitting that the company also join in on the photography bandwagon – and they did. These days, it’s not hard to find a Sony logo slapped across a point-and-shoot, and their releases are definitely worth checking out if you like user-friendliness, clean interfaces, and seamless connectivity.
The Sony DSCW220/B is a high class camera that boasts the signature seamless, sleek look and feel of any modern-day Sony camera. This small device packs a powerful punch in terms of image quality, and proudly parades its 18.2 megapixel sensor.
At just a fraction of the cost of other cameras in the same functionality segment, the Sony DSCW220/B might just be the perfect budget friendly option for buyers working on a set price range. The super sensitive RCMOS sensor captures superb images in limited light, while the BION Z engine works to stabilize images and reduce noise throughout the center and edges.
The Sony DSCW220/B also takes it a step forward by incorporating a superior HD video recording feature at 1080/60p. This allows the device to capture smooth, clear, and beautiful moving images that could very well compete with more advanced videography devices on the market.
What to Love About the Sony DSCW220/B
- Superior Exmor RCMOS sensitivity captures subjects in restricted light settings for beautifully sharp images in limited light situations.
- Surprisingly smooth video capture at up to 10fps, able to generate professional-grade video output.
- Easy connectivity to a broad range of devices with highly responsive and user-friendly WiFi options.
- Numerous preset imaging styles for fun, personalized images without the effort and confusion.
- Budget friendly! Definitely an easy buy for anyone with limited funds.
What’s Not So Hot
- 10x zoom is powerful, yet creates image quality distortion that some might find unappealing.
- Sound recording is subpar – anyone who wants to use the device for video capture might have to use an external microphone.
The Canon PowerShot SX420 Is The Low Light Point and Shoot Camera Option.
Another great find from the Canon brand is their PowerShot SX420. Their PowerShot line of cameras has always managed to please picky consumers, and their SX420 has proven to be one of their most patronized releases yet.
With a whopping 42x optical zoom, this robust imaging device can close in on the most distant of subjects and retain the same crisp, clear sharpness that it would with an up close focus. The 20.0 megapixel sensor, in combination with the F3.5 aperture, allows the camera to perfectly snap subjects in low light settings without sacrificing detail or quality.
The camera also proudly boasts 720p HD video capture capacity, artistic and playful scene modes, and a very helpful ECO Mode which saves battery consumption for longer use. With a smart auto-detection feature, the camera automatically detects the setting and decides which presets to use to maximize the outcomes. This makes capturing professional-level photographs easy and hassle-free.
What to Love About the Canon PowerShot SX420
- Extremely effective in low light settings with the use of its highly sensitive CMOS sensor and wide aperture range.
- Clear display properly presents colors and details in the most accurate way possible, limiting the discrepancy between reality and captures.
- Auto detection feature is very useful for beginners and amateurs who are just starting to learn the specifics of photography.
- ECO Mode can extend battery life for several hours so you can enjoy more shutterbug moments out on the field on a single charge.
What’s Not So Hot
- Does not have a standard tripod mount hole, so the camera itself can’t be mounted onto a tripod.
- Doesn’t come equipped with a microphone jack, which could limit the outcomes for people who want to use the device for video capture.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Is The Low Light Camera Phone Option!
With the way technology has changed throughout the years, owning a camera for the purpose of capturing everyday memories is no longer necessary. These days, smartphones have evolved to become much more advanced and sophisticated, fitted with fancy functions and features that have replaced the need for many other devices – cameras included.
If you’re a casual photography enthusiast who simply wants a device that will capture images that can be saved, edited, and shared all from the same handheld tool – a camera phone is a great option for you. The arena for camera phones has expanded and become severely congested throughout the years, but there are some options that stand out from the crowd.
Today, the top camera phones on the market has to be the Samsung Galaxy S7. Competing alongside Apple since the dawn of the smartphone, Samsung has made it clear that they’re not second banana to any brand in the industry. And to prove that, they’ve improved and upgraded one of the most coveted features of any smartphone – their cameras.
In the past, Samsung’s smartphone camera had fallen short of the crisp clarity offered by Apple’s iPhone. But with their latest S7 release, they’ve amped up their camera to provide deeper colors, greater sharpness, and an all-over richer image quality than any other smartphone on the market.
Featuring an F1.7 aperture, this smartphone camera tramples on all others in the arena in terms of low light imaging. The highly sensitive 12 megapixel rear camera even competes with full-fledged point-and-shoots, making it a very sound investment for the amateur photographer on the go.
What to Love About the Samsung Galaxy S7
- Superior aperture range and sensor for surprisingly high-quality low-light images compared to other camera phones and even some point-and-shoot cameras.
- Easy interface with lots of functionality – achieving a customized image is simple and hassle-free with user-friendly choices and presets.
- Video capture is equally superb, able to capture seamlessly smooth videos and relatively clear audio.
- Easy to save, edit, manage, and share professional grade pictures all from the comfort of a single device.
What’s Not So Hot
- Selfie camera sometimes creates unrealistic smoothness across skin with its automatic beauty cam feature.
- Minor proportion warping occurs along the edges of the captured image.
The Sony HDR-CX405/B 9.2 MP Takes It For Low Light Video Cameras!
More interested in taking videos than taking stills? Dedicated video cameras are a great way to capture memories in perfect detail, and are also an easy and affordable way to practice videography skills for minor productions.
While some might think that camcorders are a thing of the past, there still is great demand for these versatile and useful devices. For that reason, brands have continued to develop and manufacture new releases to cater to this unique interest among photography and videography enthusiasts.
When it comes to video cameras, Sony takes the cake with the HDR-CX405/B 9.2 MP Video Recording Camcorder. This versatile tool comes with a ZEISS lens that allows the device to capture scenes with perfect colors and maximum light. The lens also adds significant depth to captures for rich, full, and sharp video output that accurately represents the subjects.
With Optical SteadyShot and a powerful 30x optical zoom/ 60x clear image zoom, this device can bring you closer to the action from wherever you might be standing – all without sacrificing the crisp clarity and stability with its reliable zoom and stabilizing features.
What to Love About the Sony HDR-CX405/B
- 26.88mm wide angle lens doesn’t only maximize light, but also adds artful depth and style to videos for a professional-level video output.
- HD videos are crisp, clear, and sharp, perfect for reliving memories and moments over and over again throughout the years.
- Superior zoom compared to other camcorders makes it easier to zero in on subjects from a distance without moving closer.
What’s Not So Hot
- Doesn’t have a microphone input which may limit recording quality especially for users who want a cleaner audio output.
- No built-in memory means users need to purchase memory cards separately for storage.
The Akaso EK7000 Takes It For The Low Light Action Cameras!
Travel and adventure take us to places we never thought existed, and often, standard point-and-shoots, camera phones, and DSLRs aren’t the ideal companion for when you find yourself in full action! For that reason, manufacturers have released action cameras which are essentially image capture devices for users who want to take pictures and videos without the need to free up their hands. This can be particularly useful for instances when the thrill of adventure have you fully engaged.
It’s not often that you’ll get to set up a shot when you’re in action. Imagine free diving into the ocean or bungee jumping off a cliff – would you have the time to consider composition and lighting? Barely. In most cases, light won’t be on your side when you’re trying to capture your adventure in all its raw beauty.
When buying an action camera, it’s ideal that you choose an option that will work well, no matter how dark your situation might be. For that purpose, the Akaso EK7000 4K WiFi Sports Action Camera could be your the way to go.
With 4K ultra HD capacity, this camera promises to capture your adventure in completely perfect high definition clarity and sharpness. The wide angle lens captures maximum light, and the 12 megapixel sensor locks in detail to generate high-quality images and videos no matter the setting.
Fully waterproof, robust, yet small and compact, this action camera is the perfect companion for tough outdoor excursions, hikes, and underwater exploration and sports for perfectly realistic action captures like no other.
What to Love About the Akaso EK7000 4K WiFi Sports Action Camera
- Full 4K ultra HD for high quality captures that require minimal editing and post-processing.
- Wide angle lens creates dramatic and artistic depth for effortlessly beautiful images.
- Lightweight and compact, easy to bring around no matter where adventure might take you.
- Robust casing keeps the camera safe from water and damage for worry-free use in the toughest situations.
- Extended battery life much longer than other action cameras on the market allows users to capture more on a single charge.
- WiFi capability makes sharing and managing captures easy and trouble-free.
What’s Not So Hot
- No zoom feature.
- Battery compartment can be tough to open without a screwdriver – this can be an inconvenience for travellers as it’s uncommon for someone to pack tools along with them on their trip.
A Buyer’s Guide for Low Light Cameras
Scanning through this list, it’s easy to see that there are lots of different options when it comes to low light cameras. While any one of these products could satisfy your preference, understanding what you really want out of your purchase will help you sift through what’s available to you and choose one that will really answer for your needs.
When it comes to purchasing a camera, there are several factors that will come into play. Learning how each one of these will affect your satisfaction will make it much easier for you to pinpoint real options from possible disappointments.
- Aperture – The first thing that you should consider when looking to buy a low light camera is the aperture. Basically, ‘aperture’ pertains to the size of the hole beneath the lens – the hole which allows light into the body of the camera to create depth and clarity throughout your picture.
Ultimately, aperture will determine the dimension of your images. The smaller the aperture, the less contrast there will be between your subject and your background. The reason why aperture plays such a big role when it comes to photography with restricted light it is because it determines how much detail of your subject will be available to view.
When it comes to aperture and different light settings, the smaller the f-stop value, the better. Smaller f-stop means a larger hole, and a larger hole means more light will be able to enter through your lens. With these light settings, you will want to absorb as much light as possible in order to get the most out of your subject and its surroundings.
All that said, it’s important to take a good look at the aperture range of your chosen camera before you make a purchase. As a general rule – anything that spans a larger aperture range and reaches a much smaller aperture maximum and minimum should be able to perform much better in minimal light settings.
- ISO – Simply put, the ISO pertains to your camera’s light sensitivity. The larger the ISO number, the more sensitive your camera will be to whatever light is available in the setting. Generally speaking, it would seem that a higher ISO is better for most settings, but that doesn’t always hold true.
For instance, in typical lighting settings such as natural daylight, it would be much wiser to use a lower ISO setting than a higher one. This is because light is abundant, and the need for higher sensitivity would be pointless. What’s more, higher ISO can come at a cost – and that is the presence of grain especially when used in the wrong settings.
For limited light, higher ISO can be beneficial, but the need for stabilization becomes much greater in order to counteract and minimize any potential grain that might develop.
- Shutter Speed – Shutter speed basically pertains to the speed at which the camera’s shutter will close in order to capture an image. The faster it closes, the smaller the amount of light it allows into the body. The longer the shutter speed, the longer the aperture stays open, the more light enters the camera.
Fast shutter speed is often preferred during sports or action photography because the rapid speed more accurately captures movements with minimal distortion and noise. However, for low light photography, longer exposures re often preferred.
This function has often been leveraged for imaging the sky during hours past dark, or for capturing subtle lights across otherwise expensive night time cityscapes. However, because a long shutter speed might cause some distortion and noise, using a tripod or placing your camera on top of a stable surface will prevent subject movements and will help isolate light for greater contrast and more dramatic effects.
- Purpose – What do you want to use your low light camera for? As seen in this list, there are countless different applications that a camera might be used for. Assessing your own needs and understanding how you intend to use your camera will help you determine which one truly suits your needs and preferences.
Point-and-shoot cameras are good for casual photographers, amateurs, and beginners who want a device that will easily capture high-quality images without too much effort or settings adjustment. DSLRs are a trusty tool for professionals who want more out of their images, and who strive to achieve artistic output with versatile imaging devices that are packed with features and customizable settings.
Camcorders are usually the go-to choice for families and casual videographers who prefer looking back at memories with videos instead of pictures. These devices can also be ideal for vloggers and internet personalities who want a camera that will capture crisp moving images ideal for sharing throughout the web.
Action cameras are for the outdoorsy type of person who can never find time to stand still and take a picture in the thick of the adventure. These effortless cameras can be strapped on and turned on for lengthy high-quality videos that perfectly capture the detail of the great outdoors.
- Budget – Ranging from a few hundred dollars to a couple thousand, low light cameras can test the limits of your budget. First determining how much you’re willing to spend will help you weed out any options that might not suit your available funds.
Another thing to take into consideration is the accessories you might have to purchase for your camera for greater functionality. Point-and-shoots have the least number of accessories, and can easily be maximized without the addition of extra tools and add-ons.
DSLRs are rarely ever used without accessories such as tripods, microphones, extra lenses, and batteries, so be sure to have some extra cash on hand to help make the most of your DSLR camera. The same can be said for action cameras which require a plethora of different accessories that don’t only make the device easier to use, but also make it functional to begin with. Often, action cameras will not work on their own and require multiple straps, casings, and other accessories for safe and proper use.
It’s easy to see that light is one of the biggest challenges any photographer has to face – whether casual, beginner, amateur, or professional. But finding that sweet spot and leveraging light to maximize its benefits will result to beautifully artful images worth being placed up on a wall.
When choosing a low light camera, be sure to consider all the factors, take your time with your options, and learn all the details before jumping into a purchase. All of the little details might seem tedious to read into, but learning to become an informed consumer will help prevent the disappointment and expense of a poor purchase choice.
Be sure to keep this comprehensive guide in handy when you set out to find a low light camera for your needs. If you’re still trying to shed some light on your options, check out any of these premium cameras and find out why each one has found its own place in the spotlight for the top cameras on the market.
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