Before we delve into the intricacies of how we chose what we believe to be the best low light camera, we are first going to cover what low light photography actually is.

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Despite what the name may suggest, low light photography does not necessarily mean that it’s done at night. The light sources may vary, but if the light is lesser than daytime light, then it should be treated as low light. This could be anything from an indoor shoot in the day without additional light sources, to nighttime shoots.

This is why nature photographers, such as Tarantula Zone, who specialise in taking photos of tarantulas in low-light, utilise some of the best low light photography gear.

best camera for low light

Setting up your camera

Even if you’re equipped with the best camera for low light, if you’re unable to actually use your equipment efficiently, you’ll never reap the full benefits of the hardware.

While light sensitivity is obviously one of the biggest factors, there’s a lot more involved than just increasing your ISO to the highest it can go. To get the most out of your camera in low light conditions, we recommend utilising the following tips:

  1. ISO – A higher ISO increases the camera’s sensitivity to light, so it makes sense that it needs to be higher in non-optimal lighting conditions. You may need to take a few photos to hone in on the perfect ISO setting.
  2. Shutter speed – Shutter speed will also need to be increased to a high level. This will ensure that your photos are sharp and crisp, with no unintended blur from motion.
  3. Exposure – While exposure will need to be increased, it’s important to note that it’s better to underexpose rather than overexpose. This is because you will be able to fix underexposure with post-production software, whereas overexposure it will be near to impossible.
  4. Aperature – Just like with our eye’s iris, the larger the lens aperture, the more light will be allowed into the camera. While it may make the background blurry, it will help to focus in on the main focal point of the photo. The aperture won’t need too much attention unless in very low light conditions.

best low light camera

The best camera for low light – Sony a7 III

The Sony a7 III mirrorless camera is without a doubt the best on the market for low light photography.

Amazingly, out of the cameras we had access to, the a7 III managed to deliver clean and crisp photos at the staggering ISO level of 51200.

What was even more startling was that it even managed to produce cleaner footage compared to it’s more expensive brother, the aR7 III, at ISO 25600. However, it should be noted that the Sony aR7 III is only built to be a high performance still photography camera, even though does well as an allrounder.

It should be noted that as of writing, there is another camera in the a7 range which is due to be released at the end of the year. This will likely trump the a7 III, but only time will tell.

Advanced tips for taking photographs in low light

We have outlined some very basic tips on how to take photos in low light previously, but if you’re an advanced photographer who understands how to use a camera to its full capacity, then these tips are for you.

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Preparation

Taking photographs in low light is a lot easier if some pre-planning is done. For instance, what kind of light do you expect before you get there? When is the most optimal time to take photos in the style that you want? Taking a photo at dusk, dawn, or night, will really change the feel of the image.

Certain pieces of equipment are invaluable and can make impossible shots possible. A suitable flash, tripod and lens can make or break your photo. A decent flashlight is also a handy investment, as it allows you to ensure you can see all of the buttons you need to press, and to make sure you haven’t left any gear behind when it’s time to leave.

low light level photography

Tripods – never leave home without one

As you’ve probably already gathered by now, less light means slower shutter speeds. Slow shutter speeds not only can make your camera shake, but will also give more opportunity for external influences to shake your camera (like yourself).

Tripods will not eliminate blur from a moving object, but it will reduce the chance of an image blurring due to camera shake. These hand bits of kit means that you can use shutter speeds that would be impossible to use if you were to hold the camera yourself. Doesn’t matter how steady you think you are, you’ll never take a perfect slow shutter speed photo if you’re holding the camera.

For those who want to achieve the perfect photo, a self-timer or remote release should be used. This stops the camera from moving when you press any buttons on the camera, as you will be clicking an external remote.

What Is The Best Low Light Camera? 1

Manual mode or shutter priority

If you were ever looking for a reasonable excuse to take your camera off auto, low light photography is the answer. Doing so will allow you to choose whatever shutter speed you want for your shot. If you’re not fully confident in doing everything manually, shutter priority is another option that’s better than auto. It ensures that the shutter speed stays exactly at the speed that you require it to, whilst changing all of the other variables for you.

Know your limits

Some cameras, like the Sony a7 III, excel at using high ISOs, whereas others will produce a grainy mess. It’s imperative that you understand how your gear works and its limitations. It’s a good idea to take a few test shots at different light levels and ISOs and view them on your computer at full size. This will allow you to determine where the noise creeps in on the shots and where loss of detail starts to become apparent.

Bestseller No. 1
Sony a7 III Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera Optical with 3-Inch LCD, Black (ILCE7M3/B)
171 Reviews
Sony a7 III Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera Optical with 3-Inch LCD, Black (ILCE7M3/B)
  • Advanced 24.2MP BSI Full-frame Image Sensor w/ 1.8X readout speed* Advanced 24.2MP Back-Illuminated 35mm Full-frame Image Sensor * Sony test conditions. Compare to the α7 II
  • 15-stop dynamic range, 14-bit uncompressed RAW, ISO 50 to 204,800
  • Up to 10fps Silent or Mechanical Shutter with AE/AF tracking. Battery Life (Still Images) - Approx. 610 shots (Viewfinder) / approx. 710 shots (LCD monitor), Battery Life (Movie, continuous recording) - Approx. 200 min (Viewfinder) / Approx. 210 min (LCD monitor)
  • 693 phase-detection / 425 contrast AF points w/ 93% image coverage.Focus Sensor:Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • In the box: Rechargeable Battery (NP-FZ100), AC Adaptor (AC-UUD12), Shoulder strap, Body cap, Accessory shoe cap, Eyepiece cup, Micro USB cable.Metering Type:1200-zone evaluative metering
Bestseller No. 2
Sony Alpha a7 III Full Frame Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only) ILCE7M3/B - Bundle Kit
  • The Sony Alpha a7III full-frame 24.2-megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor works with the BIONZ X image processor to offer high-resolution stills and video while minimizing noise and improving speed
  • 693-Point Hybrid AF System | UHD 4K30p Video with HLG & S-Log3 Gammas
  • 2.36m-Dot Tru-Finder OLED EVF | 3.0" 922k-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD
  • ISO 204800 and 10 fps Shooting | Built-In Wi-Fi and NFC, Dual SD Slots
  • This Bundle Includes Brand New Sony Alpha a7 III, Soft Padded Carrying Case, 5 Piece Cleaning Kit
SaleBestseller No. 3
Sony a7 III Full Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera w/ 28-70mm & FE 50mm f/1.8 Two Lens Kit
8 Reviews
Sony a7 III Full Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera w/ 28-70mm & FE 50mm f/1.8 Two Lens Kit
  • BUNDLE INCLUDES: Sony α7 III Full Frame Mirrorless Camera with 28-70mm and 50mm Lens, Koah Sima Condenser Microphone for Digital Camera, Sony UHS-II Memory Card (64GB), Koah Sony NP-FZ100 Two-Pack Rechargeable 2000mAh Battery and Dual Charger, Weatherproof Hard Case, 2.0 USB-C to USB-A Cable, Focus Accessories for 260 Bag and Corel Software Kit
  • SONY A7 III CAMERA: Advanced 24.2MP back-illuminated 35mm image sensor and Includes 28-70mm Lens
  • PROCESSING ENGINE: An updated BIONZ X processing-engine that boosts processing speed by approximately 1.8 times compared to the α7 II. This results in high sensitivity with low-noise performance and wide 15-stop dynamic range.
  • FE 50MM LENS: The new lightweight FE 50mm F1.8 "normal" prime lens delivers an outstanding blend of performance, compactness and value, making it a perfect choice for hobbyist photographers and videographers looking to experience the benefits of a wide aperture prime lens at an attainable cost.
  • Sony Authorized Dealer - Includes USA Manufacturer's Warranty
SaleBestseller No. 4
Sony a7III Full Frame Mirrorless Camera with FE 28-70 mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Lens ILCE-7M3K/B and Telephoto & Wide-Angle Lens Set + Deco Gear Case 2X 64GB Memory Cards Extra Battery Kit Power Editing Bundle
3 Reviews
Sony a7III Full Frame Mirrorless Camera with FE 28-70 mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Lens ILCE-7M3K/B and Telephoto & Wide-Angle Lens Set + Deco Gear Case 2X 64GB Memory Cards Extra Battery Kit Power Editing Bundle
  • SONY AUTHORIZED DEALER - Includes Full SONY USA WARRANTY
  • Advanced 24.2MP Back-Illuminated 35mm Full-frame CMOS Image Sensor | 5-axis in-body image stabilization, 5-step shutter speed advantage | Fast Hybrid AF with 693 phase-detection and 425 contrast-detection AF points w/ 93% image coverage | High-speed continuous shooting of up to 10fps with AF/AE tracking
  • 4K HDR High Dynamic Range Movie Shooting w/ full pixel readout, no pixel binning or crop | Sensitivity range up to ISO 51200 (expandable to ISO 50-204800 for stills) | 15-stop dynamic range, 14-bit uncompressed RAW, ISO 50 to 204,800 | SuperSpeed USB Type-C and Micro USB | Secure and versatile dual media slots (UHS-II SD Card compatible)
  • CAMERA INCLUDES: Sony Alpha a7 III Mirrorless Digital Camera with 35mm Full-Frame Image Sensor Body ILCE-7M3 | Sony FE 28-70 mm F3.5-5.6 OSS SEL2870 Lens | Rechargeable Battery NP-FZ100 | AC Adaptor | Shoulder strap | Body cap | Accessory shoe cap | Eyepiece cup | Micro USB cable | Sony USA Warranty
  • BUNDLE INCLUDES: 2x SanDisk 64GB Extreme SD Memory Cards | Deco Gear Photography Bag | Replacement Battery for NP-FZ100 | Rapid Charger for NP-FZ100 | 55mm Wide Angle Lens | 55mm 2x Telephoto Lens | 60" Tripod Includes Case | Lens Blower | Lens Pen | Lens Cap Keeper | Cleaning Kit | 2 Piece Microfiber Cloth | Screen Protectors | Card Reader | 12" Tripod | Editing Suite: OfficeSuite Premium, Photo Noir, Video Suite, Slideshow Maker, Photo Editor 5, Photo Focus, piZap Pro, Ribbet, Photo DeNoise
Bestseller No. 5
Sony a7III Full Frame Mirrorless Camera ILCE-7M3K/B with 2 Lens SEL2870 FE 28-70 mm F3.5-5.6 OSS and SEL50F18F FE 50mm F1.8 Set + Deco Gear Case 2X 64GB Memory Cards Extra Battery Kit Deluxe Bundle
4 Reviews
Sony a7III Full Frame Mirrorless Camera ILCE-7M3K/B with 2 Lens SEL2870 FE 28-70 mm F3.5-5.6 OSS and SEL50F18F FE 50mm F1.8 Set + Deco Gear Case 2X 64GB Memory Cards Extra Battery Kit Deluxe Bundle
  • SONY AUTHORIZED DEALER - Includes Full SONY USA WARRANTY
  • Advanced 24.2MP Back-Illuminated 35mm Full-frame CMOS Image Sensor | 5-axis in-body image stabilization, 5-step shutter speed advantage | Fast Hybrid AF with 693 phase-detection and 425 contrast-detection AF points w/ 93% image coverage | High-speed continuous shooting of up to 10fps with AF/AE tracking
  • 4K HDR High Dynamic Range Movie Shooting w/ full pixel readout, no pixel binning or crop | Sensitivity range up to ISO 51200 (expandable to ISO 50-204800 for stills) | 15-stop dynamic range, 14-bit uncompressed RAW, ISO 50 to 204,800 | SuperSpeed USB Type-C and Micro USB | Secure and versatile dual media slots (UHS-II SD Card compatible)
  • CAMERA INCLUDES: Sony Alpha a7 III Mirrorless Digital Camera with 35mm Full-Frame Image Sensor Body ILCE-7M3 | Sony SEL2870 FE 28-70 mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Lens | Rechargeable Battery NP-FZ100 | AC Adaptor | Shoulder strap | Body cap | Accessory shoe cap | Eyepiece cup | Micro USB cable | Sony USA Warranty
  • BUNDLE INCLUDES: Sony SEL50F18F FE 50mm F1.8 Full-frame Prime Lens | 2 x Lexar Professional 667x 64GB UHS-3 Class 10 SDXC Memory Cards | Deco Gear Camera and Lens Large Photography Bag | Deco Photo 72" Monopod Includes Case | Replacement Battery for NP-FZ100 | Vivitar SF7000 Wireless Optical Slave Flash | Photo Video LED Light | Wrist Grip Strap | Lens Blower | Lens Pen | Cap Keeper | Microfiber Cloth | Screen Protectors | Card Reader | Card Case | 12" Tripod | Corel Paint Shop Pro X9 Software

Last update on 2019-07-17 at 10:28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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