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Best Low Light Camera [2021 Review]

In: 
Published: 11/06/2021

As a real estate photographer, you run into rooms and properties with all sorts of lighting scenarios. Although most modern cameras can take high-quality images, not all can achieve the same results in low-light conditions. In this review, we focus on the best low-light camera that will suit your needs.

Our Top Low Light Camera Reviews

Although shooting scenes in low light is a challenge to many cameras, equipping yourself with the best low-light camera will help you achieve your goals in terms of lighting. Below are the best cameras for low-light shooting.

Brand
Best Overall
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III
Best for the Money
Nikon D850
Best Cheap Pick
EOS 6D Mark II
Product
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Body
Nikon D850 FX-Format Digital SLR Camera Body
Canon EOS 6D Mark II Digital SLR Camera Body,...
Megapixels
HDMI
45.7 MP
26. 2 MP
Hardware Interface
20.1 MP
AV Port
AV Port
Rating
-
-
Best Overall
Brand
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III
Product
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Body
Megapixels
HDMI
Hardware Interface
20.1 MP
Rating
-
Price
Best for the Money
Brand
Nikon D850
Product
Nikon D850 FX-Format Digital SLR Camera Body
Megapixels
45.7 MP
Hardware Interface
AV Port
Rating
Price
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
EOS 6D Mark II
Product
Canon EOS 6D Mark II Digital SLR Camera Body,...
Megapixels
26. 2 MP
Hardware Interface
AV Port
Rating
-
Price

Best Overall Low-light Camera: Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III is an excellent DSLR camera designed for speed, precision, and sensitivity for better wildlife, sports, and other dynamic imaging applications, making it the overall best on our list. 

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Body

It features a 20.1MP full-frame CMOS sensor and a DIGIC X image processor, making it capable of continuous shooting at around 20fps in live view and 16fps with the optical viewfinder. 

On top of this speed, Canon EOS-1D X Mark III comes with an impressive sensitivity of ISO 100-102400. You can expand this ISO to around ISO 50-819200, allowing you to shoot even in poor lighting conditions, unlike the Panasonic Lumix 5S. 

It also features an EOS iTR AF X autofocus system, employing 191 points to focus accurately and fast. Furthermore, unlike the Nikon D850, it uses head detection and face tracking functions to maintain the optimum subject focus. 

Even more, the Dual Pixel CMOS AF utilizes 3869 selectable points to offer more natural and smooth focusing. In addition, it can internally record DCI 4K content at around 60fps, raw 5.5K at 60fps, and Full HD at around 120fps.

Pros

  • It has the best ISO in our list, sensitive enough for low-light shooting
  • It comes with an autofocus system of 191 points, offering smooth and fast autofocus performance
  • It has the highest speed on our list, ensuring sharp images

Cons

  • It has the lowest megapixels on our list
  • Unlike the Panasonic Lumix 5S, it has no image stabilization
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Body
  • High Image Quality with New 20. 1 Megapixel Full-frame CMOS Sensor Combined with Newly Designed low...
  • New DIGIC X Image Processor with an ISO range of 100-102400; Expandable to 50-819200*.
  • New 191-point AF System Capable of Tracking the Subjects Head and Face using Deep Learning...

Best Low-light Camera for the Money: Nikon D850

The Nikon D850 is an efficient, high-performance DSLR camera that comes with 45.7MP FX-Format, capable of shooting high-quality images even in properties with poor lighting. 

Nikon D850 FX-Format Digital SLR Camera Body

Unlike the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, the Nikon D850 is equipped with an EXPEED 5 image processor, capable of shooting 51 continuous photos at around 7fps. Typically, it captures outstanding images of 8256 x 5504 dpi resolution, which can be in JPEG, TIFF, or RAW formats. 

Apart from shooting high-resolution photos, it supports HD video recording and time-lapse movies using 4K. Furthermore, it features the Nikon Multi-CAM autofocus module, which consists of 153 phase-detection points and TTL phase-detection, enhancing the autofocus functionality for better image clarity. 

Like the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, it comes with a 3.2 inches tilting LCD which will help you evaluate scenes and make necessary changes to the camera settings. 

Besides, the Nikon D850 is compatible with the SnapBridge application, enabling you to share images and remotely live-view the shooting. Furthermore, if you want to shoot group photos, it provides you with an integrated self-timer for this purpose.

Pros

  • It has the highest megapixels in our list, ideal for high-resolution photos
  • It has a bigger LCD than Canon EOS 6D Mark II, enhancing control experience 
  • It comes with TTL for better focusing, unlike Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

Cons

  • It has a slower shutter speed than Canon EOS-1D X Mark III, causing image blurring
  • It has no face tracking autofocus like the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III
Sale
Nikon D850 FX-Format Digital SLR Camera Body
  • Nikon designed back side illuminated (BSI) full frame image sensor with no optical low pass filter
  • 45.7 megapixels of extraordinary resolution, outstanding dynamic range and virtually no risk of...
  • Up to 9 fps1 continuous shooting at full resolution with full AF performance

Best Cheap Low-light Camera: Canon EOS 6D Mark II

Thanks to the advanced sensor and image processor, the Canon EOS 6D Mark II makes high-quality full-frame imaging possible. It features a DIGIC 7 image processor and a 26.2MP CMOS sensor, making the images sharp and clear in various capturing situations. 

Canon EOS 6D Mark II Digital SLR Camera Body,...

It has an ISO sensitivity range of 100-40000, which you can expand to ISO 50-102400 like in the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, allowing you to efficiently shoot properties that are not well lit at a speed of 6.5 fps. 

Besides, it features a 45-point all-cross autofocus system to ensure your images are clear and sharp. The advanced autofocus features Pixel CMOS autofocus technology to improve the live view and video capturing focusing. 

Unlike the Nikon Z 6II, it comes with a 3 inches touchscreen LCD allowing you to apply varying angles with intuitive controls. It also allows plugging in an external microphone through a 3.5mm port for enhanced video quality whenever you are taking clips of certain properties. 

With this camera, you can create 4K time-lapse movies and HDR videos. It also comes with various connectivity options such as Bluetooth, NFC, Wi-Fi, and built-in GPS to allow sharing and geotagging your photos.

Pros

  • It has a better speed than Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, making the images sharper
  • It comes with various connectivity options for remote control
  • It features an autofocus system enhancing image sharpness and high-quality bokeh

Cons

  • It has a slower speed than Nikon D850, which may cause image blur
  • It has less impressive megapixels, unlike Nikon D850
Sale
Canon EOS 6D Mark II Digital SLR Camera Body,...
  • 26.2 Megapixel full frame CMOS sensor
  • Optical viewfinder with a 45 point all cross type AF system. Compatible Lenses: Canon EF lenses...
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF with phase detection and Full HD 60p

Best Low Light Camera with Vibration Reduction: Nikon Z 6II

The Nikon Z 6II is an all-rounder mirrorless camera that features a unique design for video and high-end photo applications. Unlike the Nikon D850, it features a 24.5MP BSI CMOS sensor for more speed and improved performance. 

Nikon Z 6II FX-Format Mirrorless Camera Body Black

Equipped with a deal EXPEED 6 image processor, it enhances continuous shooting and buffer rate, up to around 14 fps when using single-point autofocus, unlike Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. 

When using another focus method, the buffer rate is around 12 fps. Besides, it's possible to record real estate videos at UHD 4K 30p and up to 120p FHD for slow-motion output, which is excellent video quality.

The sensor allows versatility and works well in low-lighting conditions. An ISO sensitivity of 100-51200 and a built-in 5-axis vibration reduction functionality significantly reduces the camera shaking effects even when shooting handheld for sharper images. 

The Nikon Z 6II features two memory card slots, making the storage more flexible. It comes with a rear 3.2 inches 2.1m-dot and a high-res 3.6m-dot tilting LCD to improve playback and image composition versatility. 

In addition, it comes with wireless connectivity functions to facilitate image sharing and remote camera control. 

Pros

  • It comes with a dual memory card slot for flexible storage
  • It has a large LCD touchscreen for a better control experience
  • It comes with vibration reduction, unlike Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Cons

  • It's slower than Canon EOS-1D X Mark III, leading to image blurring
  • It doesn't feature image stabilization, unlike Panasonic Lumix 5S
Nikon Z 6II FX-Format Mirrorless Camera Body Black
  • Mirrorless versatility on a whole new level. 24.5MP BSI resolution that excels in low light. 14 FPS...
  • Full frame. Full pixel readout. Full featured 4K UHD Video. Top of the line video performance with...
  • Dual card slots (CFexpress/XQD plus UHS-II SD). Flexibility and peace of mind when shooting...

Best Autofocus Low-light Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is a stunning DSLR camera capable of 4K video shooting and still photography. Paired with a DIGIC 6+ image processor, it offers a 30.4MP full-frame CMOS sensor which helps it balance resolution and fine detail for excellent sensitivity and low-light performance. 

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

Besides, it operates in an ISO native range of 100-32000, which you can expand to ISO 50-102400 for low-noise and sharp images even in poorly lit rooms. Using an advanced autofocus functionality further improves the image clarity and sharpness even in low lighting conditions. 

It also comes with the Canon Dual Pixel RAW, which helps fine-tune specific image parameters such as focus micro-adjustment and bokeh after capturing the image. Furthermore, the body is weather-resistant, improving its durability even when using it in tough environments. 

Unlike the Niko Z 6II, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV features Wi-Fi with NFC and a GPS, which makes it a connected camera. Like the Nikon D850, it comes with a 3.2 inches LCD touchscreen for a better focus point adjusting experience.

Pros

  • It comes with higher megapixels than Nikon Z 6II, enhancing image quality
  • The LCD touchscreen is bigger than that of the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, leading to a better control experience
  • It comes with various connectivity methods facilitating versatility

Cons

  • The ISO range is less than that of Canon EOS-1D X Mark III
  • It doesn't feature image stabilization, which can cause the camera shaking effect
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR Camera...
  • New 30.4 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor for versatile shooting in nearly any light, with ISO range...
  • 4K Motion JPEG video (DCI cinema-type 4096 x 2160) at 30p or 24p; in- camera still frame grab of 4K...
  • Superb Dual Pixel CMOS AF for responsive and smooth AF during video or live view shooting; LCD...

Best Low Light Camera with Image Stabilization: Panasonic LUMIX S5

If you want a portable low-light camera, the Panasonic Lumix S5 is a sleek, well-rounded camera, the most lightweight on our list, and ideal for carrying around. 

Panasonic LUMIX S5 Full Frame Mirrorless Camera,...

It features a 24.2MP CMOS sensor but is distinguished by the 10-bit UHD 4K60 internal recording. It is excellent in still shooting, with a speed of 7 fps continuous shooting. With an ISO 100-51200 and 96MP High-Res Shot mode, it's possible to shoot quality images in poor lighting conditions. 

Unlike the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, the Panasonic Lumix S5 features a 5-axis sensor shift to enhance image stabilization and reduce the camera shaking effect, ensuring the images are sharp and clear even when shooting handheld. 

The design of this low-light camera incorporates a 2.36m-dot OLED viewfinder and 3 inches 1.84m-dot LCD to enhance the control experience. It comes with built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless connectivity to facilitate remote control. 

The Panasonic Lumix S5 also has a dual SD memory card slot to enhance storage flexibility. The physical construction is weather-resistant with splash and dust sealing, allowing you to use it in trying conditions.

Pros

  • It's the most compact and lightweight on our list, suitable for carrying around
  • It features a dual SD memory card slot making storage more flexible
  • It comes with image stabilization to reduce the camera shaking effect

Cons

  • It has a slower speed than Canon EOS-1D X Mark III, which may cause image blurring
  • It doesn't come with noise reduction, unlike Nikon Z 6II
Sale
Panasonic LUMIX S5 Full Frame Mirrorless Camera,...
  • A LIGHTWEIGHT, POWERFUL HYBRID CAMERA FOR VIBRANT STILL PHOTOGRAPHY AND CINEMATIC VIDEO: Realize...
  • DETAILED PHOTO AND VIDEO THAT WILL DELIGHT ENTHUSIASTS AND EXPERTS ALIKE: Capture content in...
  • IMPROVED, HIGH-PRECISION AUTOFOCUS AND POWERFUL IMAGE STABILIZATION: Improved autofocus includes...

Features to Consider for a Low-light Camera

Low-light cameras come with varying attributes and qualities for enhancing image quality. Below, we go through some of the most vital features to consider when choosing one. Additionally, take a look at the chart for a quick overview comparing the cameras we reviewed.

ProductISO RangeMegapixelsSpeed
Canon 1D X Mark III50-81920020.1MP20FPS
Nikon D85064-2560045.7MP7FPS
Canon 6D Mark II100-4000026.2MP6.5FPS
Nikon Z 6II100-5120024.5MP12FPS
Canon 5D Mark IV100-3200030.4MP7FPS
Panasonic Lumix 5S100-5120024.2MP7FPS

Sensor

One of the critical things to keep in mind is that you need a bigger camera sensor for quality images, based on the fundamental empirical truth that the amount of light taken is directly proportional to the photosensitive surface area.

Sensors enable photographs that would appear too dark to use if taken with devices made ten years ago to be sharp and clear.

A high-resolution sensor has millions of pixels, less than a thousandth of a millimeter across.

In making individual pixels so small, the outcome in a sensor may be only a few inches across in measurement, like the ones you find in mobile phones. 

On the other hand, increasing the surface area makes each pixel bigger, enabling you to take many visible-light photons. For instance, the Nikon D850 has 45.7MP, making it capable of producing sharp and clear images.

Man holding a Canon camera

Lens

The camera's compatibility with low-light lenses is the most important thing to consider when choosing a camera. Lenses influence the quality of the picture more than a camera. The best choice in low-light is the wide-aperture prime lens, as it collects the highest amount of light. 

In an autumn shot, the flames of a real fire may light the front side of a house, and you want to maximize the reflections in the surrounding scene. High-quality, wide-aperture lenses present a beautiful bokeh, which is its most significant advantage. 

The out-of-focus points of light, reflected by moisture that appears, make them round and pleasing. They can significantly differentiate a shot background, providing more depth and bokeh than a portrait capture against a blank wall. 

When choosing a camera, keep in mind its compatibility with the lens you intend to use. For instance, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is compatible with a wide range of low-light lenses from Canon.

White Balance

Achieving the proper white balance is vital when using illumination from a wood fire or candlelight. The camera attempts to shift the colors to be far less warm if set to automatic white balance. Generally, that is not what you want.

If you store images using the RAW file format in your camera, you can fine-tune colors later.

Turning the flash exposure down helps prevent washing the scene out. Generally, you want a camera that features phase detection and TTL, such as Nikon D850.

Shutter Speed

Shutter speed regulates the amount of time the camera takes to collect the light, unlike the aperture and ISO, which directs the amount of light it absorbs at once. The shutter speed measurement is in fractions of a second. 

Higher shutter speed means the camera takes a short period, which is crucial for getting blur-free action shots. 

Lower rates allow more light to enter but can cause blurry images if your subject and camera are not still. You may need to choose a camera with a higher shutter speed like the 1/250 sec in Panasonic Lumix S5.

Connectivity

Most digital cameras come with wireless connectivity functions to allow remote control and flash connectivity. Wireless functions include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, and GPS. In addition, some cameras, such as the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III low-light camera, come with an Ethernet port to allow faster and reliable file transfer. 

However, some offer more wireless connectivity options than others, such as the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, which features a GPS to allow geotagging on the photos. Besides, low-light cameras are intended to work in poor lighting conditions, which means you might need a flash if it's too dark. 

Remembering that most flashes are remotely controlled, you want a camera that can remotely connect with a flash and effectively illuminate your subject.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Take Low-light Action Shots?

If you want to take shots in low-light, set the aperture and then adjust the shutter speed until it matches the action you want to freeze. You may need to change the ISO until you attain the correct exposure.

How Do I Minimize the Noise Level in Low-light Images?

To suppress the noise level, you may need to shoot using the lowest ISO. However, you should have some idea of the ISO at which the noise level is unacceptable. This ISO will depend on the camera you are using. 

However, exposure can lead to digital noise, and you should ensure your exposure is correct.

How Do I Focus in Low-light?

You can try to shine some light on your subject to give the camera adequate light to focus. Also, you can utilize the focusing ring of your lens to manually focus on the subject. 

In autofocusing, focusing through the central autofocus may help, as the focusing is more accurate and faster than surrounding AF points. 

How Do I Choose the Correct White Balance for Low-light?

The best way to set the proper white balance is to match it with the environment. In low-light, it's not advisable to use the automatic white balance option. However, if you are shooting RAW, you can alter the white balance afterward during post-processing.

Conclusion

With the latest improvement in digital camera technology, it's possible to shoot quality images in low light. Not all cameras are created equal, and some will perform better than others. However, any camera from the above list will suit your low-light shooting needs.

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