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Best Low Light Camera

Taking a good snap in low light depends on two things: your digital camera and your skill and understanding of which factors influence the quality of your shots in low light conditions. That said, you can basically conclude that even if your camera is perfectly built to take excellent photos in dim situations, your first shots will be blurry. However, as skill is something you can definitely work on, choosing a good low light camera is something you don’t want to do without some serious thought, as most of them cost quite a bit of money. The most important thing you need to know is that you will get the best picture in dim conditions if you use a digital camera with a big image sensor. Basically, this means that you need to look for specific features that will allow you to make fantastic and quality images in all conditions, and your camera will need to have all or most of these features to be able to capture some really good shots in the dark.

To enable you to find the perfect low light camera, we have gone to great lengths to test out over 30 cameras that bragged about their low light performances, and we have narrowed this selection to only 4 which we will review in depth. We tested these low light cameras by using them in all unfavorable conditions, such as dim lights, pitch black dark, and even in dim lights and bad weather conditions. While some of them performed pretty well, we had to make the cut and thus we chose the ones that not only shoot, but virtually see in the dark, and removed the ones with average and below average performances. We also tried to satiate all needs and the 4 cameras that made the cut befall in different price ranges so that even a person on a lower budget can get a camera that has proven to take nice low light images. That said, we have to mention some key features that we used as comparison points and that you should look for when choosing your ideal low light camera.

Features to look for in a great low light camera:

    • Low aperture – also known as the f-stop and the speed of lens, aperture is basically the amount of light the lens can capture. The lower the aperture number, the better. For instance, an f/1.4 camera can capture two times the light of an f/2 camera and is best suited to shoot in low light.
    • Image quality in relation to ISO – ISO is a number that represents the camera’s sensitivity to light. The higher it can go without making the image grainy, the more suited the camera is to shoot awesome dim light images.
    • Larger image sensor – the bigger the camera sensor is, the better quality your low light image will be. It’s that simple.

Best Low Light Camera – Sony DSC-RX100M II

Sony DSC RX100M II Best Low Light Camera

Sony DSC-RX100M II is a camera made in heaven for those who need great low light image quality, and it was built to provide the best low light capabilities and comes at a reasonable price all things considering. This camera was our top performer during the testing, and what was particularly impressive is how it handled the high ISO snaps. It has a sensor that was literally made to capture any and all light that is there, and it shows in the quality of images. The Sony DSC-RX100M II can literally see in the dark, and now we will list some pros and cons of buying this camera.

Sony DSC-RX100M II PROS:

Sony DSC-RX100M II has 20.2 MP and it is the most impressive sensor resolution in the batch of all the cameras we tested. The Ermor R sensor was made to capture low light pictures, and it does its job perfectly as the noise levels were extremely low and practically inexistent. The ISO sensitivity of this killer low light camera goes up to the astonishing 12800 – and even when ISO is set up to its max, the camera performs in dim light and produces fantastic shots. The aperture of the lens is f/1.8, which is incredibly accurate, and the camera has 3.6x zoom capabilities. In addition to that, the tiltable 3 inch LCD screen will allow you to see what you are doing perfectly, even in the bright light which can be very annoying for photographers. The Sony DSC-RX100M II is easily connectible to a smartphone, tablet or a computer via Wi-Fi, and this is a really cool feature that allows you to avoid all the cables.

Sony DSC-RX100M II CONS:

The only thing we did not like about Sony DSC-RX100M II is the fact that the battery charging is only in-camera, which could pose a problem for some. It is not a major flaw, but it is definitely a bit annoying and an obvious oversight by Sony.

To summarize, Sony DSC-RX100M II is an excellent choice of a low light camera, and comes at a reasonable asking price considering all that it offers. The incredible ISO sensitivity of Sony DSC-RX100M II makes it the best camera on this list, even though the battery charging could have been solved better.

Best Buy Low Light Camera – Sony DSC-RX100/B

Sony DSC-RX100/B is another Sony camera designed to take excellent low light shots, and that is exactly what it does. It has most of the features of its brother, Sony DSC-RX100M II, but it also offers a lot of things for a lower price, which is a fair ratio. In fact, this camera is the best buy option on our list precisely because it has so many good qualities for a price that is about 200$ lower than our best choice, and that is quite a price difference.

Sony DSC-RX100/B PROS:

Sony DSC-RX100/B has a sensor built to absorb all the light there is, and it does so like a Swiss watch – without fail. It features the impressive 1 inch Exmor sensor of 20.2 MP which captures the light efficiently and displays all the details perfectly. Its aperture is f/1.8, which is simply top notch and will ensure excellent image quality. Sony makes really good cameras that have no ghost and flare issues, and Sony DSC-RX100/B is no exception to this rule. The ISO sensitivity will push your camera to the max 6400, and even at the maximum, this camera will not have any image processing issues or disturbances. Sony DSC-RX100/B dons a 3 inch LCD display that is no sensitive to bright light, and that is a really good feature.

Sony DSC-RX100/B CONS:

Sony DSC-RX100/B is pretty impressive, but the Sony DSC-RX100M II can push the ISO sensitivity to the outstanding 12800, and that is a major difference between these two cameras. To add to the list of things that could have been done better, we will mention that it does not have Wi-Fi and that the charging can only be done in-camera, which is not very convenient.

To sum it all up, the Sony DSC-RX100/B is definitely a camera worth buying and is a unit that will give you the most for the money. While there are definitely better cameras out there, but it would be excruciatingly hard to find a better low light camera in this particular price range. The Sony DSC-RX100/B excels in many things, out of which the most important are its aperture, ISO sensitivity and its large sensor, which, when combined, provide you with everything you need to shoot exceptional images in dim light conditions.

Best Buy Low Light Camera – Sony DSC-RX100/B

Sony DSC RX100/B Best Low Light Camera

Sony DSC-RX100/B is another Sony camera designed to take excellent low light shots, and that is exactly what it does. It has most of the features of its brother, Sony DSC-RX100M II, but it also offers a lot of things for a lower price, which is a fair ratio. In fact, this camera is the best buy option on our list precisely because it has so many good qualities for a price that is about 200$ lower than our best choice, and that is quite a price difference.

Sony DSC-RX100/B PROS:

Sony DSC-RX100/B has a sensor built to absorb all the light there is, and it does so like a Swiss watch – without fail. It features the impressive 1 inch Exmor sensor of 20.2 MP which captures the light efficiently and displays all the details perfectly. Its aperture is f/1.8, which is simply top notch and will ensure excellent image quality. Sony makes really good cameras that have no ghost and flare issues, and Sony DSC-RX100/B is no exception to this rule. The ISO sensitivity will push your camera to the max 6400, and even at the maximum, this camera will not have any image processing issues or disturbances. Sony DSC-RX100/B dons a 3 inch LCD display that is no sensitive to bright light, and that is a really good feature.

Sony DSC-RX100/B CONS:

Sony DSC-RX100/B is pretty impressive, but the Sony DSC-RX100M II can push the ISO sensitivity to the outstanding 12800, and that is a major difference between these two cameras. To add to the list of things that could have been done better, we will mention that it does not have Wi-Fi and that the charging can only be done in-camera, which is not very convenient.

To sum it all up, the Sony DSC-RX100/B is definitely a camera worth buying and is a unit that will give you the most for the money. While there are definitely better cameras out there, but it would be excruciatingly hard to find a better low light camera in this particular price range. The Sony DSC-RX100/B excels in many things, out of which the most important are its aperture, ISO sensitivity and its large sensor, which, when combined, provide you with everything you need to shoot exceptional images in dim light conditions.

Bestseller Low Light Camera – Nikon COOLPIX P7700

Nikon COOLPIX P7700 Best Low Light Camera

Nikon is famous for the quality of its cameras, and this one does not disappoint either. The Nikon COOLPIX P7700 is an exceptionally good camera that performs well in low light conditions, and it has a moderate price which, in combination with its popularity, skyrocket it to the best selling spot in our review. In fact, this moderate camera has a lot of good things going for it and has literally sold more units than the rest of all the cams we had on our testing list thanks to its ability to shoot quality images.

Nikon COOLPIX P7700 PROS:

Nikon COOLPIX P7700 dons a nice large 12.2 MP CMOS sensor, which is ideal for capturing images in low light situations. Its aperture is a little lower than that of its Sony predecessors on this list, and it amounts to f/2.0. However, do not be fooled as this is a really good feature, especially considering the price differences between this and the aforementioned best low light cameras. The Nikon COOLPIX P7700 performs well and your pictures will not be grainy even if you push its ISO sensitivity to the max 6400, which is cool as most low light cameras are not able to make a grain-free image when you do this. The swiveling 3 inch LCD screen is very practical. It has Wi-Fi, and the wireless connectivity is a really neat feature to have in a camera than can save you some time and frustration, as you can easily connect the device to your smartphone, tablet or computer without the hassle of fiddling with cables.

Nikon COOLPIX P7700 CONS:

Nikon COOLPIX P7700 is definitely a good low light camera, but there are some things that could have been done better. For instance, the annoying in-camera battery charging is also a flaw of this camera, and we find it very strange that Nikon has overlooked this impractical issue. The image processing speed could definitely be better, as it sometimes takes up to 4 seconds to between shots, and that can be extremely annoying. If you want to avoid this, you are better off with Sony DSC-FX100M II, as you will not have any lag issues with it and it has much better features.

To sum it up, Nikon COOLPIX P7700 is a really good camera – it is balanced, has nice features and its price is not at all unreasonable in proportion to its capabilities. It has a lot of positives, including a large 1 inch sensor, great ISO sensitivity, good aperture, and so on. It major flaw is the lag in between taking pictures, but if you want to avoid this issue, you are probably better off purchasing any of the two before mentioned Sony low light cameras where this issue is non-existent.

Cheapest Low Light Camera – Canon PowerShot ELPH 330

Canon PowerShot ELPH 330 Best Low Light Camera

The Canon PowerShot ELPH 330 is the cheapest camera on this list that takes really nice low light pictures. While it does not really compare to the Sony cameras we mentioned or the Nikon COOLPIX P7700, the Canon PowerShot ELPH 330 has a lot of good things going for it and it is definitely worth considering, especially if you are on a lower budget. After all, while this Canon camera is in a lower league than the others we reviewed, its price is also a fraction of the asked prices of the best cameras.

Canon PowerShot ELPH 330 PROS:

This cheap camera has a Wi-Fi, which enables you to wirelessly transfer all your pictures and videos to your computer, smartphone or tablet. The Canon PowerShot ELPH 330 has a very sensitive 12.2 MP CMOS sensor, which, when combined with the 6400 ISO sensitivity, makes for some really good, vivid images. The sensor is pretty large at 1 inch of size, and because it is highly sensitive, you can expect some really good shots, even in the dim light situations. Another positive of this camera is its price, which is levels below what you would expect to pay for a nice low light camera.

Canon PowerShot ELPH 330 CONS:

It does not come close to Sony DSC-FX100M II, Sony DSC-FX100/B or the Nikon COOLPIX 7700. It does not have a good battery life, which is not a good thing if you are often on the move and want your camera ready at all times. The instructions that accompany the camera are not very clear.
To summarize, buying a low light camera on a budget is a challenge, and even despite all the deficiencies the Canon PowerShot ELPH 330 has, it is still a top notch camera within its specific price range. The battery life may not be all too impressive, but it is important to keep in mind that the Canon PowerShot ELPH 330 has certain features like Wi-Fi that even the much more expensive cameras do not have. Overall, Canon PowerShot ELPH 330 is a good camera and when compared with other low light cameras within its level, it definitely takes the crown.

Conclusion
A good low light camera will have to be able to perform in the lowest of lights and take a perfect snap of anything in pitch black, even if it is a moving object. To provide you with some solid choices, we have tested a lot of low light cameras and written comprehensive reviews for the 4 selected. That said, if you are here to find the best low light camera, you can trust that the Sony DSC-FX100M II will deliver and that you will enjoy its numerous excellent features. If you want to get the most out of your money, and don’t mind having a slightly inferior camera, then you will save a bit of money and walk away pretty happy and satisfied with the Sony DSC-FX100/B. Sony is not the only company on this list that can brag about excellent low light cameras, as we have the Nikon COOLPIX 7700 that is definitely the best selling item for a good reason. The Nikon low light camera will definitely deliver a lot for a reasonable price, and even though it does not stand shoulder to shoulder with the two killer Sony cameras, it is still a good choice that will disappoint only the too demanding. However, if you are on a tighter budget, you won’t care for all that and will continue to see what you can get for a lower price, in which case we would recommend you to give a shot to the Canon PowerShot ELPH 330, which is a really solid cheap low light camera.

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Amar Kadiric

Dedicated blogger who is working as a search engine marketing agent and part-time freelancer since 2008. Loves traveling and spending money. Always learning, taking risks and experiencing new ways in life.

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