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17 Best Cameras for Low Light Photography (And Videography)

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Welcome to my list of the best low light photography cameras in 2020!


Truth is…

Capturing dark scenes can be frustrating for beginners and advanced photographers/videographers alike.

However, when you have the right gear coupled with some necessary techniques, taking night shots (and videos) becomes MUCH easier.

And that’s exactly what I’m going to help you with today.

In this buying guide, you’ll learn about different gear options for shooting in dark situations, across various budgets, categories and brands.

To speed your research up:

Without further ado, let’s get started.


Best Overall Camera for Night Photography


Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR Camera Body

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

  • Type: Mid-size SLR
  • Weight: 890g
  • Resolution: 30MP
  • Sensor Size: Full Frame (36 x 24mm)
  • LCD Screen: Fixed, 3.2″
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Weather-sealed: Yes
  • ISO: Auto, 100-32000 (expands to 50-102400)

Let’s face it:

Canon is one of the biggest and most popular photo equipment manufacturers today.

I’m sure you won’t be surprised that many professional photographers recommend 5D IV as the best indoor DSLR, especially for indoor venues with dark lighting conditions.

With this beauty, you can take great photos even with the worst lighting set-up (with the help of some photography techniques, of course).

So…

What makes it so special for shooting dark scenes?

Canon 5D has superb ISO performance, which makes it so great for low light photography.

You can safely use high ISO levels (up until ISO 6400) and get a great photo with minimal noise/grain. And even with an ISO level of 25600, you can still pretty much get a decent image without further editing it.

But wait, there’s more…

With its full frame sensor and a resolution of 30MP, you can expect higher quality photographs even in dim areas or during night time.

In other words, its sensor enables you to still capture sharp photos with beautiful tones and colors, regardless of what the lighting situation is.

Also, the AF system in the 5D IV is super accurate, which makes it even more dependable.

What you might like about it:

  • an all-around type of camera
  • equipped with GPS and WIFI connectivity
  • Dual Pixel RAW
  • impressive AF system 
  • with noise reduction options

What you might not like about it:

  • 30 minute video recording limit (continuous)
  • quite pricey for beginners
  • 4K video size too huge (codec: Motion JPEG)

🔍 Recommended lens:

  • Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM

This is a compact zoom that is perfect for Canon 5D IV.

In fact, this lens made my list of the best lenses for Canon full-frame DSLRs.

The 28-300mm is very versatile and easy to carry, more like a “to-go” lens for you. With its dual-mode image stabilizer, you can snap great shots (both stationary and moving subjects).

Its aperture size will definitely play a huge part in making your photos brighter and sharper.


Best Low Light DSLRs This Year


Apart from the first camera mentioned, there are still several products that fall into the category of “the best DSLR for low light photography” in 2020.

Here is a quick preview of these products:

  • Canon 6D Mark II – an impressive “entry-level” full frame body with Dual Pixel AF.
  • Nikon D750 – perhaps the best full-frame body under $1500 today.
  • Nikon D5 – fast focusing, high frame rate and low light performance are awesome.
  • Nikon D7500 – sweet prosumer DSLR (and an official EISA Award winner).
  • Nikon D850 – very versatile body where high speed meets high resolution.

Let’s talk about those in detail.


Impressive Entry-Level Full Frame DSLR


Canon EOS 6D Mark II Digital SLR Camera Body – Wi-Fi Enabled

Canon EOS 6D Mark II

  • Type: Mid-size SLR
  • Weight: 765 g
  • Resolution: 26MP
  • Sensor Size: Full Frame (35.9 x 24 mm)
  • LCD Screen: Fully articulated, 3″
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Weather-sealed: Yes
  • ISO: Auto, 100 – 40000 (expands to 50-102400)

Surprise! Surprise!

Another DSLR that you will definitely love. With its full frame and 26MP sensor, you will never have to worry about challenging light situations. Photos taken with this Canon model are still as sharp as it has to be, even when using ISO 32000.

What I really love about this EOS 6D II (aside from its impressive low light performance, of course) is that it has a fully articulated LCD, which makes it easier for you to do live viewing.

Another feature worth noting is its accurate AF system. The 45-point autofocus system will do wonders to your low light photos: less blur, proper isolation of subject, and less noise.

One thing is clear…

6D II is perfect for both outdoor and indoor shoots.

What you might like about it:

  • Accurate AF system
  • Body designed for a more comfortable grip
  • Built to withstand harsh weather conditions
  • 3” Fully Articulating LCD
  • Full Frame 26MP Sensor
  • Great battery life
  • Fully responsive touchscreen
  • Less pricey than its competitors in the same category

What you might not like about it:

  • Lower ISO dynamic range
  • Slower burst speed especially in live view
  • 4K video not supported

🔍 Recommended lens:

  • Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

This prime has by far the widest aperture right now.

It is the “go-to” recommendation of professional photographers, especially for indoor shoots.

If you are not a fan of using flash in dim venues but still want your photos to have enough brightness, then this is the best glass you can get.


Best Full Frame DSLR Under $1500 in 2020


Nikon D750 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body

Nikon D750

  • Type: Mid-size SLR
  • Weight: 750 g
  • Resolution: 24MP
  • Sensor Size: Full Frame ( 35.9 x 24 mm)
  • LCD Screen: Tilting, 3.2″
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Weather-sealed: Yes
  • ISO: Auto, 100 – 12800 (expandable to 50-51200)

Let’s take a quick break from all the Canon stuff and get our eyes on its major competitor: NIKON.

Without a doubt:

Nikon is among the top manufacturers today, boasting its top-tier DSLRs for both aspiring photographers and pros.

An awesome product from this brand that I constantly recommend myself is its mid-sized D750.

The Nikon D750 falls perfectly between the D610 and pro-line D810 models.

If you want to invest in a great low light sensor camera but couldn’t just handle the price of a D810, then this is a great alternative for it.

The great thing about it is that it borrows some features from both product lines.

While D750 shares the same sensor as the D610, it has an upgraded AF system. Its advanced 51-point autofocus system accurately locks subject even in the dark, which makes it perfect for night and indoor shoots.

Check out my full review of Nikon D750 with video and image samples here.

What you might like about it:

  • Advanced 51-point AF system
  • Generally more lightweight compared to counterparts
  • Remarkable 24MP full frame imaging sensor
  • 5fps continuous shooting
  • Longer battery life

What you might not like about it:

  • Lack of image stabilization feature
  • Absence of touchscreen feature
  • Lack of split image zoom display

🔍 Recommended lens:

If you are a beginner or an intermediate level photographer, then I highly recommend keeping it simple.

Use this prime and explore greater depths and details when capturing your photos. It works well for both well-lit and low light set-up.

Without a doubt, it’s the best price/quality ratio option on the market right now.


One of the Best Options to Get in 2020


Nikon D5 DSLR 20.8 MP Point & Shoot Digital Camera, Dual XQD Slots - Black

Nikon D5

  • Type: Large SLR
  • Weight: 1415 g
  • Resolution: 21MP
  • Sensor Size: Full Frame (35.9 x 23.9 mm)
  • LCD Screen: Fixed, 3.2″
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Weather-sealed: Yes
  • ISO: Auto, 100-102400 (expandable to 50-3280000)

D5 is a flagship DSLR that aimed at the “pro” market.

Because of that I wouldn’t recommend it for total beginners. Not to mention that it has a hefty price tag.

But…

If you’re an advanced/pro photographer who is into sports, wildlife, weddings and/or night photography, Nikon D5 is probably a dream choice for you.

Aside from its impressive imaging sensor, this Canon model boasts a 153-point AF system, 99 of which are cross-type. It is just insanely accurate.

You can easily lock your subject and isolate it from a messy background even at night.

D5 is not afraid of weather, offers amazing image quality in any lighting, has an extremely fast focusing and frame rate, excellent battery life…

Basically, every little thing included in this beauty is done to make your life easier and guarantees great results in any challenging shooting conditions.

(And that includes night shooting too.)

What you might like about it:

  • Long battery life (can shoot up to 4000 photos per 1 charge)
  • Overall ergonomics is amazing
  • Fast AF even in Live Preview
  • AF Fine Tune feature
  • Highly responsive touchscreen (can be disabled at your discretion)
  • Supports 2 CF or 2 XQD cards
  • Quieter shutter sound than its counterparts

What you might not like about it:

  • Expensive
  • Lacks focus peaking option
  • No built-in WIFI, Bluetooth and GPS
  • Pretty bulky and heavy (but hey that’s the price for a ‘pro’ DSLR)

🔍 Recommended lens:

This is one of the best all around zoom glasses Nikon has ever produced.

For starters, it’s a good glass to work with, especially if you don’t have a specific concept in mind. You can explore great focal depths with this one, making it easier for you to capture nice photos.


One of the Best Prosumer DSLRs


Nikon D7500 DX-format Digital SLR Body

Nikon D7500

  • Type: Mid-size SLR
  • Weight: 720 g
  • Resolution: 21MP
  • Sensor Size: APS-C (23.5 x 15.7 mm)
  • LCD Screen: Tilting, 3.2″
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Weather-sealed: Yes
  • ISO: ISO 100 – 51200 (expandable to 50 – 1640000)

Look:

If you’re an enthusiast and intermediate level photographer and you need a great crop sensor for low light shoots, consider the Nikon D7500.

It even won an official EISA Award as the best prosumer DSLR 2017-2018.

Budget-wise, the D7500 is one great choice.

Despite having a much cheaper price tag than its flagship siblings, image quality is never compromised. D7500 actually beats other cameras when it comes to reliability of AF system and burst rate.

Unlike its predecessor that only has 6 fps burst rate, this one is now equipped with an 8 fps burst speed for 100+ JPEG or 50 raw files.

This feature makes it more appropriate for fast action shooting.

In fact…

D7500 is one of the best APS-C sensor cameras for low light sports photography, all thanks to its reliable AF system and fast burst rate.

You just have to make sure that your subject is not too small for the frame, and everything else will be great. You can safely stay on the sidelines while you capture the best moments of your subject.

What you might like about it:

  • Tilting touchscreen
  • 8 fps burst speed (100+ JPEG or 50 RAW)
  • Realistic skin tones
  • Great price-quality ratio
  • 4k UHD Video

What you might not like about it:

  • Only 1 memory card slot
  • Lacks AI indexing tab
  • No focus peaking feature available

🔍 Recommended lens:

  • Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 DI VC USD

Don’t get me wrong.

Nikon lenses are all great, but for this fast action shooting, Tamron 70-200mm works well with the D7500.

It has a sturdy build, perfect for shooting outdoors. It also produces sharp images with accurate colors. Definitely have a look at it.


Best DSLR for Both Stills and Videos


Nikon D850 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body

Nikon D850

  • Type: Mid-size SLR
  • Weight: 1005 g
  • Resolution: 45MP
  • Sensor Size: Full Frame (35.9 x 23.9 mm)
  • LCD Screen: Tilting, 3.2″
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Weather-sealed: Yes
  • ISO: Auto, 64 – 25600 (expands to 32-102400)

I’ll be straight:

Nikon D850 targets the professional market.

It has an insanely high price tag and for good reason. This is probably the best DSLR to get if you need an uncompromisingly high image quality that’ll work in many shooting situations.

It’s one of the very few, if not the only, products that offers both high speed and high resolution features in one body. Because of this, I consider Nikon D850 very versatile.

This body is good for portraitures, landscapes and fast-paced action shoots like wildlife and sports.

It gets better:

It also outperforms its counterparts and, out of this list, it would likely be the best camera for low light video.

So, if you’re into both photography and videography, Nikon D850 is definitely a go-to DSLR for “old-school” hybrid shooters.

What you might like about it:

  • High resolution images
  • 7 fps (9 fps with added battery grip) burst speed
  • Raw files allow easier editing and image manipulation
  • 153-point Autofocus system
  • Highly durable
  • Quiet shutter sound
  • 30 fps 4K video shooting
  • Long lasting battery
  • Supports modern fast memory cards XQD and SD UHS-II

What you might not like about it:

  • Lack of built-in flash
  • Very expensive
  • Video clip limit of 30 minutes
  • Extremely challenging for beginner photographers

🔍 Recommended lens:

This is a great glass that goes very well with D850. With a max aperture of f/2.8, you’ll have no problem capturing images and videos even in total darkness.

The body itself is great, but paired with the 24-70mm, it’ll produce stellar results!


Best Mirrorless Cameras for Low Light 2020


A lot of people ask me this:

Are mirrorless options better with low light?

Well, the answer depends on the kind of  gear you will use. Technology is constantly improving and some top-tier mirrorless options can outperform the traditional DSLRs.

Here is a quick preview of the best CSC (compact system camera aka mirrorless) for night time shots:

  • Panasonic DC-GH5 – an awesome choice from the micro four-thirds department.
  • Sony A7R III – one of Sony’s beasts for all photography shooting genres.
  • Sony A7S II – a lightweight option, great for travel purposes.
  • Nikon Z6 – one of Nikon’s fewest mirrorless bodies. Totally worth checking out.
  • Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II – in skillful hands, this baby is a dream.
  • Sony A7 III – a nice compact full-frame with 4K video.
  • Sony A6500 – won the EISA Award as the best prosumer compact system camera.
  • Fujifilm X-T3 – a powerhouse that boasts impressive low light performance.

If you are up to wider array of gear options for this type of photography, then read on to find out more about great alternatives to the conventional DSLRs.


Great MFT for Photos and Videos


Panasonic Lumix GH5 4K Digital Camera, 20.3 Megapixel Mirrorless Camera with Digital Live MOS Sensor, 5-Axis Dual I.S. 2.0, 4K 4:2:2 10-Bit Video, Full-Size HDMI Out, 3.2-Inch LCD, DC-GH5 (Black)

Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5

  • Type: SLR-style mirrorless
  • Weight: 725 g
  • Resolution: 20MP
  • Sensor Size: Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm)
  • LCD Screen: Fully articulated, 3.2″
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Weather-sealed: Yes
  • ISO: Auto, 200 – 25600 (expands to 100-25600)

I’ll be honest:

The features the Panasonic GH5 offers are actually impressive.

Even though this brand geared their GH series for still photography, it is also packed with various video features like 4k at 60p, 1080 at 180p, 10-bit 4:2:2 recorded internally and so forth.

If you enjoy shooting wedding events, you’ll love the image stabilization and focus peaking in GH5. Basically, you’ll be able to quickly change focus and shoot handheld with non-IS lenses, worry-free.

The high resolution photos, uncompressed video and high frame rate capabilities make it very appealing to wedding and commercial photography industry people.

(Another bonus is that Lumix GH5 can also withstand harsh weather conditions, just like any other good DSLR out there.)

Now…

It might not be as great in dim light situations as the other products mentioned in this list, but there’s definitely an improvement since the GH4 model.

What you might like about it:

  • High resolution still images
  • AF system performance is commendable
  • Impressive in-body image stabilization
  • Built-in WIFI and Bluetooth
  • Weather-sealed
  • 4K full sensor capture
  • Great battery life
  • Looks like a DSLR but definitely lighter

What you might not like about it:

  • Viewfinder resolution decreases significantly at high speed burst
  • Focus hunting when using AF in videos
  • Log Profile has to be purchased separately

🔍 Recommended lens:

This wide aperture glass will go well with Lumix GH5. Since it has a large aperture, capturing night scenes and low light events will not be too much of a problem even for beginners.


One of the Best Hybrid Cameras in 2020


Sony a7R III Mirrorless Camera: 42.4MP Full Frame High Resolution Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera with Front End LSI Image Processor, 4K HDR Video and 3" LCD Screen - ILCE7RM3/B Body, Black

Sony A7R III

  • Type: SLR-style mirrorless
  • Weight: 657 g
  • Resolution: 42MP
  • Sensor Size: Full Frame (35.9 x 24 mm)
  • LCD Screen: Tilting, 3″
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Weather-sealed: Yes
  • ISO: Auto, 100 – 32000 (expands to 50-102400)

I’ll say this:

If you like Nikon D850 but are a bit nerdy for all the camera features, then Sony a7R III might be the one for you. (Mark II would be a cheaper alternative.)

The a7R III is one of the most fastest and versatile multi-megapixel hybrid options today. With its full frame 42MP sensor, the level of detail in your images will be unreal.

Aside from high resolution, it also offers a fast burst speed of 10 fps (outdoing Nikon D850’s extended 9 fps burst rate).

Its fast AF system is something worth mentioning as well. It’s just brilliant. And as a portrait photographer, you’ll love the eye detection continuous autofocus.

Believe me, this beauty will perform very well in low light event photography.

All in all, the a7R III is considered to be one of the best hybrid cameras on the market today.

What you might like about it:

  • 1/8000 max shutter speed
  • Uses BSI (backside illumination) sensor, perfect for dark light situations
  • Continuous shooting up to 10 frames per second,
  • Continuous eye detection autofocus
  • A buffer for 42-megapixel RAW,
  • Built-in Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth
  • Very wide dynamic range (DR)
  • High-quality video in 4K and Full HD

What you might not like about it:

  • DR is slightly inferior to its competitors
  • Only 1 SD card slot
  • Subject tracking not that reliable
  • Limited functionality of the touch interface

🔍 Recommended lens:

A significantly fast 24-70mm is a perfect fit for the Sony A7R body, especially in low light photo sessions.

Without a doubt, it’s a high-end combo, but if you can afford it, you’ll absolutely crush it in any kind of photography genre!


Best Low Light Hybrid Camera for Travel 


Sony a7S II ILCE7SM2/B 12.2 MP E-mount Camera with Full-Frame Sensor, Black

Sony A7S II

  • Type: SLR-style mirrorless
  • Weight: 627 g
  • Resolution: 12MP
  • Sensor Size: Full Frame (35.6 x 23.8 mm)
  • LCD Screen: Tilting, 3″
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Weather-sealed: Yes
  • ISO: Auto, 100 – 102400 (expands to 50-409600)

OK.

While we’re on Sony models, let me tell you that the A7S II is also good for tricky lighting situations. And it’s actually a pretty unique one in today’s market.

First of all, it’s more of a hybrid type, meaning that it not only focuses on high quality stills, but also has great videography features as well.

(This is actually a great edge for most Sony mirrorless products.)

The a7S II has a wide ISO range of up to 102400 and a 5-axis image stabilization. These 2 features combined create a body that simply crushes it with night photography.

Now…

Since it is fairly lightweight, this Sony model is also considered as the best low light option for travel. So if you want to explore the ‘light’ and still capture the best moments, this might just be the one for you.

What you might like about it:

  • Lightweight
  • Hybrid functionality
  • 5-axis image stabilization
  • Eye autofocus
  • 120 fps videos in HD

What you might not like about it:

  • Shorter battery life
  • Start-up lag is a possibility
  • Expensive lens options
  • Slower autofocus operation (compared to phase and hybrid AF system)

🔍 Recommended lens:

  • Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM OSS

This is certainly a great glass for low light photo shoots.

And it’s a great all-around zoom perfect for travel. With this glass, you don’t have to carry a handful of other ones for different kinds of creative concepts.


One of Nikon’s Best Mirrorless Bodies in 2020


Nikon Z6 Mirrorless Camera with 24-70mm f/4 S Lens and Mount Adapter FTZ

Nikon Z6

  • Type: SLR-style mirrorless
  • Weight: 675 g
  • Resolution: 25MP
  • Sensor Size: Full Frame ( 35.9 x 23.9 mm)
  • LCD Screen: Tilting, 3.2″
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Weather-sealed: Yes
  • ISO: Auto, 100 – 51200 (expands to 50-204800)

Let’s face it:

This is a major deviation from Nikon’s flagship DSLR lines.

Many were elated when Nikon released an all-new mirrorless body ready to keep up with the ever advancing technology. So, now you can now try on pro-quality body in a much lightweight and user-friendly set-up.

What’s so special about Z6?

In a nutshell, it has an accurate autofocus, sweet image stabilization, up to 12 fps burst shooting, amazing video capabilities, a high-resolution live view and EVF… just to name a few.

Considering it has a full-frame sensor, it’ll be easy for you to take low light shots.

I think this is a great choice for photographers, who want to try themselves in videography without breaking their back with its weight.

==> Check out Terje’s guest post with his real-life field test and review of Nikon Z6 with photo samples.

What you might like about it:

  • Trustworthy in Auto mode
  • Built-in intervalometer (for time lapses)
  • Excellent speed and performance
  • 120 fps videos at 1080p
  • No crop factor in video mode
  • User friendly menu
  • Wide range of lenses are available (with an adapter)

What you might not like about it:

  • Only 1 card slot
  • No built-in flash (for those extremely challenging light conditions)
  • AF system not as impressive as those of its counterparts

🔍 Recommended lens:

This is the best one for beginners and enthusiasts alike. It’s an all-round type of zoom that gives you decent focal depth and accurately sharp images.


In Skillful Hands, This Baby Is a Dream


Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Camera Body Only, (Black)

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

  • Type: SLR-style mirrorless
  • Weight: 574 g
  • Resolution: 20MP
  • Sensor Size: Four Thirds (17.4 x 13 mm)
  • LCD Screen: Fully Articulated, 3″
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Weather-sealed: Yes
  • ISO: Auto, 200 – 25600 (expands down to 64)

The OM-D E-M1 II falls in the “flagship” category of Olympus. It is one of their best, high-end mirrorless products.

Unlike other professional bodies aimed at having the highest possible resolution, Olympus wanted to step up their mirrorless camera game through speed.

All thanks to its smaller MFT sensor size, it can function at a much greater speed compared to FX counterparts.

Olympus E-M1 II is the real deal if you want one that offers insanely fast and accurate burst rate. Also, today it remains as one of the leading cameras with a great built-in image stabilization.

One more thing that I love about it is the design and durability. It is an all-metal body that can sustain harsh weather conditions.

As for low light, it’s very good with the proper lens.

What you might like about it:

  • Sturdy build
  • Dual card slot
  • Impressive AF system
  • Amazing ergonomics
  • High Resolution Shot Mode
  • Continuous shooting at 60 fps (single)

What you might not like about it:

  • Expensive price tag
  • No Scene mode available
  • AutoHDR is limited to ISO 200
  • Complicated customization options
  • Subject tracking isn’t that reliable especially during burst shots

🔍 Recommended lens:

  • Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro

As a wide angle glass that goes well with E-M1 II, it is perfect for landscape, travel and even portraiture. Remember, that with the right lens, even shooting night skies is possible!


Compact Full-Frame with 4K Video


Sony a7 III ILCE7M3/B Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera with 3-Inch LCD, Black

Sony A7 III

  • Type: SLR-style mirrorless
  • Weight: 650 g
  • Resolution: 24MP
  • Sensor Size: Full Frame (35.8 x 23.8 mm)
  • LCD Screen: Tilting, 3″
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Weather-sealed: Yes
  • ISO: Auto, 100 – 51200

A lot of people have been talking about the differences between Sony’s A7 series.

Truth is, there is really not much of a difference, but the A7 III outdoes its siblings when it comes to low light performance.

In fact, shooting slow-paced action in dark light is possible even with low ISO levels. Now, that’s something you should be excited about if that’s really your genre/style.

Another thing that I love about this product is that it has a 4K video feature and a wide dynamic range, so whatever your concept is, you’ll be able to do it.

I’ll say this…

The 24 megapixel sensor, richness in functionalities, many of the latest technologies from taken from the “top dogs” a9 and a7R III – all of this is in a compact body of the a7 III. 

What you might like about it:

  • Eye autofocus system
  • Anti-flicker feature
  • Dual memory card slot
  • In-body image stabilization
  • 693 phase-detection autofocus points

What you might not like about it:

  • Slower memory card formatting
  • Shorter battery life (like most Sony products)
  • Absence of budget-friendly compatible lenses

🔍 Recommended lens:

  • Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS

Without a doubt, it’s an amazingly fast and sharp glass that many photographers love.

Keep in mind though that it might hunt for focus in extremely low light conditions but all glasses have their own character and none is perfect for everything.


Best Prosumer Compact System Camera


The features that Sony a6500 offers make it the best mirrorless compact camera today

Sony A6500

  • Type: Rangefinder-style mirrorless
  • Weight: 453 g
  • Resolution: 24MP
  • Sensor Size: APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)
  • LCD Screen: Tilting, 3″
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Weather-sealed: Yes
  • ISO: Auto, 100 – 25600 (expandable to 51200)

Look:

Back in 2017, Sony a6500 won the prestigious EISA award as the “best prosumer compact system camera”. 

(Which is just a fancy name for “hybrid/mirrorless camera”.)

And today, it remains to be among the most loved mirrorless compacts, especially for travel enthusiasts and hybrid shooters.

Because of its compact and lightweight design, you’ll be comfortable taking it with you wherever you go. As small as it may be, it is packed with a lot of awesome features that will definitely impress you.

If you want top quality photos and videos, great image stabilization, high burst rate and functionality, definitely consider this crop sensor compact.

But how does it perform in dim light scenarios?

If we’re talking about the autofocus, then it’s very good. If we’re talking about the IQ, then it’s good up to ISO 6400.

If you want something better than that, you might want to consider getting the a7 III instead. But if you want something cheaper and more compact, go with the a6500. 

What you might like about it:

  • Excellent autofocus
  • in-built image stabilization is great (even on unstabilized lenses)
  • 1/4000 max shutter speed
  • 11 fps for continuous shooting
  • 425 phase-detection points

What you might not like about it:

  • Difficult point selector
  • Lacks headphone socket 
  • SD card fills up fast with 4K (tip: get one that’s at least 64GB)
  • fairly weak battery life (tip: have a couple extra batteries handy)

🔍 Recommended lens:

I think it’s a bit overpriced for a crop sensor lens but one thing is clear: It performs extremely well in low lighting with full aperture open.


An Impressive Powerhouse Under $1000


Fujifilm X-T3 Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only) - Silver

Fujifilm X-T3

  • Type: SLR-style mirrorless
  • Weight: 539 g
  • Resolution: 26MP
  • Sensor Size: APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)
  • LCD Screen: Tilting, 3″
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Weather-sealed: Yes
  • ISO: Auto, 160 – 12800 (expands to 80-51200)

First things first…

If you love retro and vintage items, then it’s my guess you will love Fujifilm X-T3 a lot. (I know I do!)

It has an old-school vibe, more like that of the 80s film camera usually seen before. Design-wise, this beauty is very simple and beginner-friendly.

It’s face and eye autofocus system is on par with the Sony a7 III that I mentioned earlier. For a APS-C sensor body, the low light performance is incredible and you can shoot up to ISO 8000. 

Another admirable thing about X-T3 is that it is weatherproof.

The thing about low quality cameras is that after exposing it to harsh weather conditions it stars to deteriorate in terms of physical appearance and functionality. But with Fuji’s X-T3, this is not an issue.

Best of all?

This body costs less than $1000.

What you might like about it:

What you might not like about it:

  • Extremely sensitive touchscreen
  • Shorter battery life than its counterparts
  • No built-in image stabilization

🔍 Recommended lens:

While the X-T3 has sick fast primes to go with it, this 50-140mm is a must have for your Fuji X when shooting in low shutter speeds and difficult lighting situations.

(Without having have to set up a tripod.)


Amazing Large Sensor Compact for 2020


Fujifilm X100F 24.3 MP APS-C Digital Camera-Silver

Fujifilm X100F

  • Type: Large sensor compact
  • Weight: 469 g
  • Resolution: 24MP
  • Sensor Size: APS-C (23.6 x 15.6 mm)
  • LCD Screen: Fixed, 3″
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Weather-sealed: No
  • ISO: Auto, 200 – 12800 (expands to 100-51200)

Yet another awesome Fuji under $1000.

X100F is the fourth generation camera coming from Fujifilm’s X100 series. It is a powerhouse compact that absolutely offers great features despite its small build.

What I really love about the X100F is that is has a retro vibe but with modern features.

One exceptional feature that you will notice is its quick AF system. It locks your subject quickly, perfect for capturing every great moment.

Because of its amazing autofocus and it being usable at ISO 12800, it’s actually one of the best large sensor compacts for night street photography.

(Read that article where I talk about X100F there in detail.)

What you might like about it:

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Quick AF system
  • 325 focus points
  • Quiet shutter
  • Exceptional battery life

What you might not like about it:

  • No built-in image stabilization feature
  • Not weather-sealed
  • No touchscreen

Note: It comes with a non-interchangeable 23mm (35mm film equivalent), high-quality fixed lens.

So you won’t have to worry about buying additional glass, and the X100F is so great that it’ll be able to do pretty much all.


Best Low Light Camera Under $500


PANASONIC LUMIX LX10 4K Digital Camera, 20.1 Megapixel 1-Inch Sensor, 3X LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMILUX Lens, F1.4-2.8 Aperture, POWER O.I.S. Stabilization, 3-Inch LCD, DMC-LX10K (Black)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX10

  • Type: Compact
  • Weight: 310 g
  • Resolution: 20MP
  • Sensor Size: 1″ (13.2 x 8.8 mm)
  • LCD Screen: Tilting, 3″, 1.04M dot
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Weather-sealed: No
  • ISO: Auto, 125 – 12800 (expands to 80-25600)

Listen:

If you are an enthusiast who is looking for budget-friendly product with high-end features, then you might want to have a look at Lumix LX10.

In under $500, you can get a large sensor compact that will step up your photo game.

This Panasonic model boasts superb image quality, thanks to its built-in lens tantamount to a 24-72mm zoom glass and its 20MP imaging sensor. Plus, it’s super compact and lightweight making it a perfect travel bud.

What you might like about it:

  • Sleek and compact design
  • Lightweight
  • 7 fps continuous shooting
  • 4K photo

What you might not like about it:

  • Start-up process is quite slow
  • No in-body electronic viewfinder
  • AF system not reliable in continuous shots

Just like the Fuji X100F, this Panasonic compact also comes with a fixed lens.

The beauty of it though is that you can freeze the action and enjoy hand-held low light shooting, even without the flash. It’s definitely a great low light camera under $500.


Point-and-Shooter Under $300


Canon IXUS 185 / ELPH 180 Digital Camera (Black) with 16 Gb Memory Card

Canon Powershot Elph 180

  • Type: Point and Shoot
  • Weight: 126 g
  • Resolution: 20MP
  • Sensor Size: 1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
  • LCD Screen: 2.7″
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Weather-sealed: No
  • ISO: Auto, 100 – 1600

If you’re looking for the best point-and-shoot camera for low light under $300, consider this one.

(It actually costs less than $150 as of right now.)

Let’s be real here…

Not everyone who loves photography needs a pro DSLR immediately. This is so true especially for those of you who only want to do it as a hobby or need to take a cheap one for vacations, for example.

The Powershot ELPH 180/IXUS 185 is very compact and light, suitable for your daily needs.

What also makes it extremely amazing is that it allows you to explore the macro world.

Have you ever seen close-up photographs of flowers and insects and wanted to copy it? Then you can start practicing it with this cheap point-and-shooter.

Of course, you can’t expect the same top quality as the high-end, better-sensor and technology we’ve reviewed earlier but it gets the job done.

Not to mention that it’s under $150.


Low Light Photography Gear: Thoughts?


Nikon D7100 · 40.0mm · ƒ/10.0 · 40/10s · ISO 100

Well…

That’s it for the most recommended gear for low light photography this year. I hope you now have a great idea in which gear to invest on.

But always remember:

Only half of the credit goes to the type of gear used.

The rest of your photo’s quality depends on your skills and artistry. Just keep practicing and exploring the photo world and you’ll definitely be one step closer to becoming a pro.

Better yet, invest in excellent online photography courses.

Now, I’d like to hear from YOU:

Did you find this post enlightening? In YOUR opinion, what are the best cameras for low light photography in 2020? Let me know your thoughts by writing down your comments below.


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