Low light performance is crucial for capturing high-quality video footage in challenging lighting conditions. Without adequate lighting, your footage can appear grainy, and noisy, and lack detail and color accuracy.
To ensure the best possible low-light performance, look for a camera with a large sensor size and high ISO range. These features allow the camera to capture more light, reducing noise and improving image quality. Other important factors to consider include the camera’s aperture, shutter speed, and image stabilization capabilities.
Overall, selecting a camera with strong low-light performance is essential for achieving professional-looking video footage, particularly in situations where natural or artificial lighting may be limited.
Overview of the different types of cameras available
There are several types of cameras available for capturing video footage, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Some popular types include:
- DSLR Cameras – These are digital single-lens reflex cameras that use a mirror and prism system to reflect light from the lens to the viewfinder. They offer interchangeable lenses, manual controls, and high-quality image sensors, making them a popular choice for low-light video.
- Mirrorless Cameras – These cameras lack the mirror and prism system of DSLRs, resulting in a more compact, lightweight design. They also offer interchangeable lenses and high-quality image sensors, making them a great choice for low-light video.
- Camcorders – These are dedicated video cameras that are designed specifically for capturing video footage. They offer built-in zoom lenses, image stabilization, and autofocus, making them a convenient choice for videographers who need to move around while filming.
- Action Cameras – These are small, rugged cameras that are designed for capturing footage in extreme environments or during action-packed activities. They offer wide-angle lenses, waterproofing, and built-in stabilization, but may not offer the same level of image quality as other camera types.
Each type of camera has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the best choice will depend on your specific needs and preferences.
Advice for choosing the right camera
Choosing the right camera for your individual needs and preferences can be a daunting task, especially when considering factors like low light performance, autofocus system, video resolution, image stabilization, and more. Here are some tips to help you choose the right camera:
- Determine your budget: Camera prices can vary greatly, so it’s important to set a budget that is reasonable for your needs. Consider the features that are most important to you and prioritize them accordingly.
- Identify your primary use: Are you primarily shooting still photos, video, or both? Do you need a camera that is portable and lightweight or do you prioritize features like durability and weather resistance?
- Consider the sensor size: The size of the camera’s sensor is an important factor in low-light performance. Larger sensors generally perform better in low-light conditions, but they also tend to be more expensive.
- Look at autofocus and image stabilization: Both autofocus and image stabilization can be critical features for video work. Consider cameras that offer advanced autofocus systems and in-body image stabilization to ensure that your footage is steady and in focus.
- Check the video capabilities: Look for cameras that offer high-resolution video and high frame rates. 4K resolution is becoming increasingly common and can provide a high level of detail, and higher frame rates can be useful for capturing fast-moving action.
- Consider the brand ecosystem: If you already own lenses or accessories from a specific brand, it may be more convenient and cost-effective to stick with that brand when choosing a new camera.
- Read reviews and compare models: Research different camera models online and read reviews from other photographers or videographers to get a sense of their strengths and weaknesses.
In the following sections, we will be discussing the best low-light video cameras in the four categories: DSLR cameras, mirrorless, camcorder, and action cameras.
1- Best DSLR Cameras for Low-Light Video
- Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
- Nikon D850
- Comparison & verdict
2- Mirrorless Cameras for Low-Light Video
- Canon EOS R6 Mark II
- Nikon Z 6II
- Comparison & verdict
- Sony a7 III
- Sony a7S III
- Comparison & verdict
3- Best Camcorder Cameras for Low-Light Video
- Sony – HDRCX405 HD
4- Best Action Cameras for Low-Light Video
- GoPro HERO9 Black
Best Low Light Video Camera – The Top Ten
1- Best DSLR Cameras for Low Light Video
A DSLR camera is a type of digital camera that uses a mirror and prism system to reflect light from the lens to the camera’s viewfinder. It offers the advantage of interchangeable lenses and greater manual control over settings such as aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. DSLRs typically have larger sensors, allowing them to capture more light and produce better image quality in low-light conditions.
Advantages of using DSLR Cameras for Shooting Video in Low Light Conditions
There are several benefits to using a DSLR camera for low-light video:
- Large Sensor Size – DSLRs typically have larger sensors than other types of cameras, which allows them to capture more light and produce better image quality in low-light conditions. This results in less noise and grain in the footage, as well as improved color accuracy.
- Wide Aperture – DSLR lenses often have wide maximum apertures, which allows more light to enter the camera and helps to create a shallow depth of field. This can help to separate your subject from the background and create a more cinematic look in your footage.
- Interchangeable Lenses – DSLRs allow you to change lenses, which gives you more creative control over your footage. You can choose a lens with a wider aperture or longer focal length to better suit your shooting situation.
- Manual Controls – DSLRs offer manual control over exposure settings such as shutter speed, aperture, and ISO, giving you more control over the final image. This can be particularly useful in low light conditions where the camera’s automatic settings may not produce the best results.
Overall, DSLR cameras are a great choice for low-light video due to their large sensors, wide aperture lenses, and manual controls. However, they may not be as portable or convenient as other types of cameras, so it’s important to consider your specific needs when choosing a camera for low-light video.
Here are our recommended DSLR cameras for low-light video:
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Canon’s 5D Mark IV DSLR camera is a versatile device that delivers exceptional image quality and performance. It features a 30.4MP full-frame CMOS sensor and DIGIC 6+ image processor that ensure sharp and low-noise images, even in low-light conditions.
With a native range of ISO 100-32000 that can be expanded to ISO 50-102400, this camera is a reliable option for capturing high-quality images in various lighting environments.
The 5D Mark IV also boasts an enhanced AF system with a 61-point High-Density Reticular AF that tracks and locks onto subjects accurately and quickly, making it ideal for fast-paced shooting.
Additionally, the camera is equipped with Dual Pixel CMOS AF and Movie Servo AF, which provides smooth rack focus during video shooting. The 3.2″ 1.62m-dot touchscreen LCD allows for easy adjustments to focus points, and the camera’s DCI 4K video recording at up to 30fps makes it possible to capture 8.8MP stills from the video.
With the added Dual Pixel RAW feature, users can fine-tune certain image parameters, such as bokeh shift and focus micro adjustment, after the image is captured.
The camera’s body is also designed for comfort, durability, and weather resistance, with added features such as GPS and Wi-Fi with NFC connectivity.
The Nikon D850 is a high-end full-frame DSLR camera released by Nikon in 2017. It is designed for professional and serious amateur photographers who demand high image quality and fast performance.
The camera features a 45.7-megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor, which offers exceptional resolution, dynamic range, and low-light performance.
The D850 also features Nikon’s EXPEED 5 image processing engine, which provides fast processing speeds and improved noise reduction at high ISO settings. This combination of sensor and processor allows the D850 to shoot at an impressive range of ISO 64 to 25600, which can be expanded to ISO 32-102400.
Additionally, the camera offers 7 frames per second continuous shooting in both FX and DX crop modes and a buffer capacity of up to 51 frames in 14-bit lossless compressed RAW format.
Other notable features of the D850 include a 153-point autofocus system, 4K UHD video recording at 30 frames per second, a tilting 3.2-inch touchscreen LCD, and built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
The camera is also built to be rugged and durable, with a weather-sealed magnesium alloy body that can withstand harsh shooting environments.
Overall, the Nikon D850 is a top-of-the-line DSLR camera that delivers exceptional image quality and performance.
Comparison & verdict
Here’s a table comparing the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, and Nikon D850 based on their low-light performance for indoor video shooting:
|Specification||Canon EOS 5D Mark IV||Nikon D850|
|Sensor Resolution||30.4 megapixels||45.7 megapixels|
|Sensor Size||Full Frame||Full Frame|
|ISO Range||100-32,000 (expandable to 50-102,400)||64-25,600 (expandable to 32-102,400)|
|Autofocus System||Dual Pixel CMOS AF with 61 AF points||Multi-CAM 20K autofocus system with 153 AF points|
|Maximum Continuous Shooting Speed||7 frames per second||7 frames per second (9 frames per second with optional battery grip)|
|Maximum Video Resolution||4K at 30fps||4K at 30fps|
|Image Stabilization||None (Lens-based)||None (Lens-based)|
|Viewfinder||Optical (0.71x magnification)||Optical (0.75x magnification)|
|LCD Screen||Fixed touchscreen (1.62 million dots)||Tilting touchscreen (2.36 million dots)|
|Battery Life||Approx. 900 shots||Approx. 1840 shots|
|Weight (Body Only)||Approx. 800g||Approx. 1005g|
Both cameras are full-frame DSLRs with strong low-light performance, making them great choices for shooting videos indoors in low light. The Nikon D850 has a significantly higher sensor resolution, which can be useful for cropping and post-processing, while the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV has a faster autofocus system and a touchscreen LCD. The Nikon D850 also has a longer battery life and a higher magnification viewfinder.
Overall, both cameras are excellent choices for low-light video shooting, but the Nikon D850 has a higher resolution sensor and better battery life, while the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV has faster autofocus and a touchscreen LCD. The decision between them will depend on individual preferences and needs. If the resolution is a top priority, the Nikon D850 might be the better choice, but if fast autofocus and touchscreen control are more important, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV might be the better choice.
2- Mirrorless Cameras for Low-Light Video
A mirrorless camera is a type of digital camera that does not have a mirror or prism system like a DSLR camera. Instead, it uses an electronic viewfinder or LCD screen to display an image. When you press the shutter button, the image sensor captures the image directly. They offer interchangeable lenses and manual controls similar to DSLRs but in a more compact and lightweight design. They also tend to have faster autofocus, burst rates, and better video capabilities.
Advantages of using mirrorless cameras for low-light video
Mirrorless cameras have several benefits when it comes to low-light video. Here are some of the main advantages:
- Fast autofocus: Mirrorless cameras use autofocus systems that work directly on the image sensor, allowing for faster and more accurate autofocus in low-light conditions. This is because the autofocus sensors are not limited by the size or position of a separate autofocus module, which is common in DSLRs.
- High ISO performance: Mirrorless cameras are often designed with larger sensors, which can capture more light and produce cleaner images at high ISO settings. This can be particularly useful in low-light situations where you need to use a high ISO to maintain a fast shutter speed.
- Electronic viewfinder: The electronic viewfinder on a mirrorless camera allows you to see the image in real-time, even in low light conditions. This can be particularly useful when trying to compose shots in low light, as you can adjust settings like exposure and white balance in real time.
- Video capabilities: Mirrorless cameras are often designed with advanced video features, such as high-quality video codecs, 4K resolution, and high frame rates. This makes them a great choice for videographers who need to capture high-quality footage in low-light conditions.
Overall, mirrorless cameras are a great choice for low-light video, offering advanced features and high-performance capabilities that can help you capture high-quality footage in a variety of situations.
Here are our recommended Mirrorless cameras for low-light video:
Canon EOS R6 Mark II
The Canon R6 Mark II is a versatile mirrorless camera that offers high-resolution photo performance and apt video capabilities.
The camera features a 24.2MP full-frame sensor and DIGIC X processing, providing improved low-light performance and a sensitivity range of ISO 100-102400. The camera can record UHD 4K 60p internal video using the full width of the sensor and offers 10-bit sampling with Canon Log 3.
It also features Dual Pixel CMOS AF II with 1053 automatic AF points that cover the entire sensor area and a sensor-shift image stabilizer that corrects up to 7 stops of unwanted camera shake when shooting handheld.
The camera also has a high-resolution 3.69m-dot 0.5″ electronic viewfinder and a vari-angle 3.0″ 1.62m-dot LCD touchscreen.
It is designed with intuitive tactile control and is built with a dust- and moisture-sealed body suitable for inclement conditions. The camera has wired and wireless connectivity options, allowing for multiple methods of transferring photos and videos and remote camera control.
Nikon Z 6II
The Nikon Z 6II is a full-frame mirrorless camera that was announced by Nikon in October 2020 as a successor to the Nikon Z 6. It is designed for both photography and videography and features a range of advanced features and capabilities. Here’s an overview of its key features:
- Sensor: The Z 6II features a 24.5-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor that is back-illuminated for improved low-light performance.
- Autofocus: The camera features a 273-point hybrid autofocus system that covers approximately 90% of the frame. It also includes Eye-Detection AF, which can detect and track subjects’ eyes in both stills and videos.
- Image stabilization: The Z 6II features in-body 5-axis image stabilization that provides up to 5 stops of compensation for camera shake.
- Burst shooting: The camera can shoot up to 14 frames per second with full autofocus and auto-exposure tracking.
- Video capabilities: The Z 6II can shoot 4K UHD video at up to 60 frames per second, and also includes features such as focus peaking, zebra stripes, and timecode support.
- Dual memory card slots: The camera features two memory card slots that support both SD and XQD/CFexpress Type B cards.
- Connectivity: The Z 6II includes built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for wireless image transfer and remote camera control.
Overall, the Nikon Z 6II is a highly capable full-frame mirrorless camera that offers a range of advanced features and capabilities for both photography and videography.
Comparison & Verdict
Here’s a table comparing the Canon EOS R6 Mark I, and Nikon Z 6II based on their low-light performance for indoor video shooting:
|Specification||Canon EOS R6 Mark II||Nikon Z 6II|
|Sensor Resolution||20.1 megapixels||24.5 megapixels|
|Sensor Size||Full Frame||Full Frame|
|ISO Range||100-102,400 (expandable to 50-204,800)||100-51,200 (expandable to 50-204,800)|
|Autofocus System||Dual Pixel CMOS AF II with 1053 AF points||Hybrid AF system with 273 on-sensor phase detection points|
|Maximum Continuous Shooting Speed||12 frames per second||14 frames per second|
|Maximum Video Resolution||4K at 60fps||4K at 60fps|
|Image Stabilization||5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS) with up to 8 stops of compensation||5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS) with up to 5 stops of compensation|
|Viewfinder||Electronic (3.69 million dots)||Electronic (3.69 million dots)|
|LCD Screen||Vari-angle touchscreen (1.62 million dots)||Tilting touchscreen (2.1 million dots)|
|Battery Life||Approx. 510 shots (Viewfinder), Approx. 380 shots (LCD)||Approx. 410 shots (Viewfinder), Approx. 740 shots (LCD)|
|Weight (Body Only)||Approx. 680g||Approx. 705g|
Both cameras are full-frame mirrorless cameras with strong low-light performance, making them great choices for shooting videos indoors in low light. The Nikon Z 6II has a slightly higher sensor resolution and a more advanced autofocus system with more on-sensor phase detection points. However, the Canon EOS R6 Mark II has a faster continuous shooting speed and better image stabilization. It also has a vari-angle touchscreen LCD, which can be useful for shooting videos from different angles.
The Canon EOS R6 Mark II and Nikon Z 6II are both great options for low-light video shooting, but the decision between them will depend on individual preferences and needs. If autofocus speed and accuracy are a top priority, the Nikon Z 6II might be the better choice. If image stabilization and faster continuous shooting are more important, the Canon EOS R6 Mark II might be the better choice. Additionally, the vari-angle touchscreen LCD on the Canon EOS R6 Mark II can be a useful feature for shooting videos from different angles.
Sony a7 III
The Sony a7 III is a full-frame mirrorless camera that was released in 2018. It features a 24.2-megapixel back-illuminated sensor, 5-axis in-body image stabilization, and advanced autofocus capabilities.
The camera has a wide ISO range of 100-51200 (expandable to 50-204800), which allows for low-light shooting without excessive noise. It also has a fast and accurate autofocus system with 693 phase-detection and 425 contrast-detection autofocus points, which cover almost the entire frame.
The camera is capable of shooting up to 10 frames per second in continuous shooting mode, and it can record 4K video at up to 30 frames per second or 1080p video at up to 120 frames per second.
It also has a tilting LCD touchscreen, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and dual SD card slots. Overall, the Sony a7 III is a versatile and reliable camera that is suitable for both photography and videography, and it has been praised for its excellent image quality, autofocus performance, and value for money.
Sony a7S III
The Sony a7S III is a full-frame mirrorless camera that is specifically designed for videographers and photographers who require exceptional low-light performance. It features a newly-developed 12.1-megapixel full-frame Exmor R CMOS sensor paired with a BIONZ XR image processor, which allows for high-speed data processing and exceptional image quality.
The camera also boasts an impressive ISO range of 80-102,400 (expandable to 40-409,600), which ensures that it can deliver sharp and clear images even in low-light conditions.
In addition to its low-light capabilities, the Sony a7S III has a number of advanced features that make it a great choice for video production. It can shoot 4K video at up to 120fps, allowing for stunning slow-motion footage, and also supports 10-bit 4:2:2 recording, which enables rich and detailed color grading in post-production.
The camera also has an advanced autofocus system with 759 phase-detection points that cover 92% of the image area, ensuring accurate and reliable focus even in challenging lighting conditions.
Finally, the camera has a robust, weather-sealed body that is built to withstand the rigors of professional use.
Overall, the Sony a7S III is an excellent choice for photographers and videographers who require exceptional low-light performance, as well as advanced video features and reliable autofocus. Its full-frame sensor, fast data processing, and weather-sealed body make it a versatile and reliable tool for a wide range of shooting situations.
Comparison & Verdict
Here is a table comparing the Sony a7 III and The Sony a7S III for shooting videos indoors in low-light situations:
|Specification||Sony a7 III||Sony a7S III|
|Sensor Resolution||24.2 megapixels||12.1 megapixels|
|Sensor Size||Full Frame||Full Frame|
|ISO Range||100-51,200 (expandable to 50-204,800)||80-102,400 (expandable to 40-409,600)|
|Autofocus System||693 phase-detection and 425 contrast-detection AF points||Fast Hybrid AF system with 759 phase-detection and 425 contrast-detection AF points|
|Maximum Continuous Shooting Speed||10 frames per second||10 frames per second|
|Maximum Video Resolution||4K at 30fps||4K at 120fps|
|Image Stabilization||5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS) with up to 5 stops of compensation||5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS) with up to 5.5 stops of compensation|
|Viewfinder||Electronic (0.78x magnification)||Electronic (0.64x magnification)|
|LCD Screen||Tilting touchscreen (921,600 dots)||Vari-angle touchscreen (1.44 million dots)|
|Battery Life||Approx. 610 shots||Approx. 600 shots|
|Weight (Body Only)||Approx. 650g||Approx. 699g|
Both cameras are full-frame mirrorless with strong low-light performance, making them great choices for shooting videos indoors in low light. The Sony a7S III has a lower sensor resolution but larger pixels, which makes it better suited for low-light video shooting, while the Sony a7 III has a higher sensor resolution and more autofocus points. The Sony a7S III also has a faster maximum frame rate for 4K video, a higher resolution vari-angle touchscreen LCD, and a slightly better image stabilization system.
Overall, if you’re looking for the best low-light video performance, the Sony a7S III is the better choice with its larger pixels, faster frame rate, and better image stabilization. However, if you also need a higher resolution sensor and more autofocus points, the Sony a7 III might be the better choice.
3- Best Camcorder Cameras for Low Light Video
Sony – HDRCX405 HD
The Sony HDR-CX405 HD is a compact and affordable camcorder that is designed for casual video shooting. It features a 1/5.8-inch Exmor R CMOS sensor and a BIONZ X image processor, which allows it to capture Full HD video at 60 frames per second.
The camcorder has a 30x optical zoom lens with image stabilization and a 2.7-inch LCD screen that can be flipped up for easy viewing. It also has a built-in USB cable for easy charging and file transfer and supports memory cards up to 128GB.
Overall, the Sony HDR-CX405 HD is a solid choice for those who want a simple and reliable camcorder for capturing family events and other casual video shoots.
4- Best Action Cameras for Low Light Video
GoPro HERO9 Black
The GoPro Hero 9 Black is a popular action camera that is designed for outdoor and sports enthusiasts. It features a rugged and waterproof body, 5K video recording, 20MP photos, and a range of advanced features such as HyperSmooth 3.0 stabilization and TimeWarp 3.0.
Key features of the GoPro Hero 9 Black:
- 5K video recording at up to 30 frames per second
- 20MP photos with SuperPhoto and HDR modes
- HyperSmooth 3.0 video stabilization
- TimeWarp 3.0 for smooth and stabilized time-lapse videos
- Waterproof and rugged body design
- Front-facing color LCD display for easy framing and vlogging
- Voice control and remote control options
- Built-in mounting system with foldable fingers
However, it also has some limitations and drawbacks:
- Relatively high price compared to some other action cameras on the market
- Short battery life when shooting at higher resolutions and frame rates
- Some users may find the menu system and control to be somewhat complicated or confusing
- Limited low-light performance and dynamic range compared to some larger and more expensive cameras.
Low light performance is a crucial factor to consider when choosing a video camera, as it directly impacts the quality of your footage in low-light conditions. Shooting video in low light can be challenging, as it can lead to noisy and grainy footage, reduced color accuracy, and decreased detail and sharpness.
A camera with good low-light performance will have a larger sensor, which can capture more light and produce cleaner, clearer images in low-light conditions. It will also have a high ISO range, allowing you to shoot in darker environments without sacrificing image quality.
In addition to a larger sensor and high ISO range, some cameras also have in-body image stabilization (IBIS) which can help to stabilize footage when shooting handheld in low light conditions. This can be particularly useful when shooting without a tripod or in situations where a tripod is not practical.
How To Shoot Videos Like A PRO In A Low Light Condition
Night Vision – The Best Low Light Point And Shoot Cameras
Tips For Taking Good Photos At Low Light Condition
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed the article, in case you have any questions just drop them below & I will be happy to answer you.
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This is a great article Amin reviewing the top ten best low light video cameras. I am thankful you put it together and am certain it will be beneficial to many others who are searching the web and are in the market for this kind of low light camera.
I really appreciate the list of tips you have included on how to choose the proper camera for the job at hand, including checking for high resolution and frame rates.
The auto focus features of the Sony a7S III has me convinced that is the camera for me.
Thank you for your kind words about my article on creative still life photography ideas.
I’m glad to hear that you found it informative and interesting. I’m happy to hear that my explanation of still life photography was helpful to you. I’m also glad to hear that you found the tip about photographing house plants creatively useful. It’s always great to find creative outlets in our own living spaces.
Thank you for taking the time to read and share your thoughts!
I found this article very appealing to read because I have always had a natural love for cameras but I never knew this much about cameras. I had never even heard of mirrorless cameras before. This was a very educative piece I must say. I think I would go for the sony camcorder camera. That seems to fit me well
Thank you for your comment. I’m glad to hear that you found the article informative and helpful in your camera research. Mirrorless cameras are a relatively new technology, but they offer many advantages over traditional DSLRs. The Sony camcorder camera is a great choice, as it offers high-quality video capabilities and a compact, lightweight design. Good luck with your camera journey!