Picture yourself uploading an awesome video that you’re proud of.
You’ve got valuable information to share or a fantastic stunt to show off. Your viewers are going to love it.
But as time goes by your views are lagging. View time is less than 20 seconds and nobody seems to be interested in your awesome content.
You finally admit to yourself - the video was too dark.
There wasn’t enough natural light to capture a high quality image, and you definitely weren't using the best low light video camera that could turn things around
So now what do you do?
If you cant create a better lighting scenario naturally using your existing YouTube filming equipment then there are two things to focus on.
The first item that you can upgrade is getting a better video lighting set-up.
If you can't always control the setting of your video or vlog, then you should find yourself a good camera for filming in low light.
We’ve compiled a list of the best low light video cameras plus a handy guide to help you choose the right one. Let’s take a look.
Best Low Light Video Camera Summary (2018)
How Do I Choose A Good Low Light Video Camera?
There are many factors to consider when choosing the right camera to film videos in low light settings. We review the most important factors below, and recommend the best low light video cameras that you can buy on the market today on a reasonable budget.
This helpful video from DSLRGuide can also give you some tips on what to look for and techniques to keep in mind.
Aperture is essential for recording in most low light conditions including indoors. A wide aperture allows more light to filter through the lens a create a crisper image. One option is to look for a lens with an aperture of at least f/1.8 regarding manual focus.
Also, consider the amount of noise when you shoot at a higher ISO (sensibility to light.) It’s helpful to test the camera out before you buy so you can zoom in and see how much clarity is lost when you move to the higher range. The ISO number is less important than the camera’s ability to cancel noise at this level.
Sensor size is also important for quality low light video. Cameras will full frame video capability will have better sensors to process an image and capture enough light to produce a clear, noise-free image. Make sure you check the size of the sensor and stick to either DSLR/Mirrorless cameras or full frame cameras.
Even if you are on a budget, there are some affordable DSLR camears that you can check out.
Quality Of Video Image
Light isn’t the only thing that affects image quality though it certainly gets you off to a good start. The first thing to think about is the resolution.
Although you can record decent video with 720p, this is the lowest resolution you’ll want if you plan to make quality videos. Instead, opt for 1080p to take full advantage of the resolution. If you have the budget, you can upgrade to 4k for even better quality that will stand out.
Another frequent issue vloggers and YouTubers in particular can experience is a shaky camera. When you record a still video on a tripod, this isn’t much of a problem, but if you plan to get out and record videos while doing something, a shaky video won’t sit well with your audience. A good DSLR gimbal can solve this problem, or you can buy a camera that has image stabilization built in to help reduce the amount of shake in an action video.
If you don’t have the equipment to build a light studio, you’ll want a camera that can focus in low light conditions. This capability means you’ll need image stabilization so that you receive a crisp image even when there isn’t enough light. You’ll also need a better internal image processor so that your auto-focus doesn’t slow down too much during filming and render half your video and out of focus mess.
Your audience might consider forgiving less than ideal image quality, but poor audio? Never. You want a video camera that takes clear sound.
Most video cameras have an internal microphone, but these sometimes pick up ambient noise that makes it hard to hear.
Look for a video camera that has a front facing microphone at the very least or a jack that will allow you to attach a more professional microphone once you have one. For a DSLr, shotgun mics are particularly popular.
One significant feature worth considering is embedded wifi and smartphone capability. This will make sharing your videos and downloading files for editing much more comfortable than the traditional computer syncing method.
Some camcorders even come with live broadcast capability, which might be nice if you plan to do a lot of live videos and want the same quality as your prerecorded videos. It’s also possible to sync your camera with your smart device to shoot multi-angle video and edit both in the same file.
Best overall low light video camera
Solid all around video camera
Best budget video camera for low light
Near professional grade camcorder with lots of great features
Solid, and affordable low light camcorder
Sony A7s II
The Sony A7s II is a full frame camera that produces a 4k video with a wide angle lens that operates well even in lower light conditions. It features a mirrorless camera design with interchangeable lenses.
This provides a lot of options when it comes to shooting video in any lighting.
Low Light Video Quality
The A7s II has a full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor that works with a powerful image processor, BIONZ X, that allows you to shoot in much lower light conditions than other cameras. It captures video with an unprecedented sensitivity as low as ISO 50 using uncompressed 14-bit RAW without compromising quick auto-focus ability.
It uses extra large pixels, 12.8 mp resolution, to capture as much light as available, which means your video has low image noise with full detail.
This camera has a five-axis stabilization to prevent shake despite the high resolution. It compensates for blur caused by five different directions, vertical, horizontal, pitch, yaw, and roll, and you can monitor the shake compensation during shooting.
It has a low signal to noise ratio during shooting, which allows it to capture low light images and video more accurately. It detects contrast more efficiently, so the autofocus feature can react quicker than it would with lower resolution cameras. It works even when auto-focus is tricky to check with the naked eye.
It supports shooting up to 120 frames per second and uses the full frame sensor. Video can be saved in a variety of formats, and the camera connects to wifi for convenient sharing to other devices.
Our only word of caution is that while this is a good low light video camera, it is not cheap and it is not as durable as you would hope considering the price point. Make sure to take good care of it and you will be very happy with your videos.
Panasonic LUMIX GH4
Panasonic’s LUMIX GH4 is a 4k camera with 16-megapixel resolution. It has superior noise reduction capability and shoots full frames for maximum light exposure.
It has a high-speed OLED display that enhances resolution and preserves high shutter speeds. It has a minimum time lag during resolution and has a 10,000:1 high contrast to get superior color in lower light conditions.
Low Light Video Quality
You have plenty of options when it comes to audio with this camera There are a lot of different connections including a jack for a microphone and headphone jacks. It has real-time video output with an HDMI micro cable that works even while you are in the middle of recording.
This output helps for serious video recording because it allows you to output only the video or the video plus controls from the camera.
The GH4 is moderately weatherproofed. The aluminum alloy body is lighter weight and resists moisture and dust. Although it isn’t thoroughly waterproof, this does cut down on the camera’s internal corrosion if you are out in high humidity or light rain while recording.
Panasonic’s dedicated HC-V770 video camera has a 20x optical zoom with built-in image stabilization. Each lens has a separate drive, which reduces drive ranges and keeps the body small despite the long zoom.
This is a great choice for a cheap low light video camera that will produce great video for under $500.
Low Light Video Quality
The HC-V770 features a back side illumination (BSI) sensor that reduces noise even in low light conditions. Your video will still shoot in full detail with indoor or night-scape videography.
For those who do not rely exlusively on tripod mounted shots, the HC-V770 uses five-axis stabilization to reduce blurring and shake.
You can fully integrate this video camera with your smartphone to allow you to shoot simultaneous video angles with the camera and your phone. It also connects to your phone so that you can shoot automatic video or use it nanny cam style when you aren’t at home.
This connectivity also makes it simple to download and share the video with other types of devices for editing.
Canon VIXIA HF G40
Canon’s full HD camcorder, the VIXIA HF G40, has a 20x zoom and an HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor that shoots high detail video even in low light conditions. It’s a newly improved sensor that delivers even better video quality than the previous model.
This is a portable, professional camcorder with adjustable lens displays and an electronic viewfinder in addition to the OLED display screen. You have a lot of great features to play with here, and it produces exceptional low light video.
Low Light Video Quality
The HF-G40 has a built-in image processor that stabilizes images even when shooting handheld. It speeds up your autofocus and other operations during recording. It offers a 35mm equivalent of 26.8–576mm, and you can shoot a minimum distance of 23.6 inches.
This can save shots that other camearas with inferior autofocus might waste.
It reduces flare and ghosting. You can set the focus to complete manual or manual zoom with autofocus for complete control. It records in 1080p with enhanced color and tonal degradation. It suppresses overexposure in high brightness, and the native 24p processing mode offers cinematic quality video at 24 frames per second.
You can connect to wifi for secure file sharing. It has a 3.5 inch OLED display to optimize control during shooting and editing afterward. It also has five assignable buttons for your preferences.
Sony 4K HD Video Recording FDRAX33 Camcorder
Sony’s 4K HD FDRAX33 camcorder has a Zeiss lens with balanced optical image stabilization. It captures 4k/30p video at the very top of what’s possible for video resolution. It can also shoot 1080 video in 60p without losing resolution even in panning and action shots.
Low Light Video Quality
With Sony’s balanced optical block method, an entire optical block is moved at once, which maintains the integrity of the image and dramatically reduces shake even with such high resolution.
The lens offers a wide-angle 29mm shooting range with 10x optical zoom and 20x clear image zoom. You have the option of switching entirely to manual focus with complete control over the aperture, iris, and exposure.
It has an extra fine LCD with touchscreen, and it fully connects to wifi for easy sharing and downloading to other devices. You can even broadcast live with your video recorder.
It connects directly to other compatible cameras to produce different angles during recording, and you can use the camera’s LCD to monitor what the other cameras are recording. Sony’s software allows you to edit each angle in multi-view.
You can automatically create a highlight reel from available clips. The camera selects the best frames and puts them in a simple mp4 file for easy sharing.
The Sony A7s II is a great beginner entrance into high definition recording. It has the option of interchangeable lenses, and the Sony menu system is easy to master. This is the camera for anyone looking to up their vlogging game and produces high-quality video with comparable audio and fantastic image stabilization for action shots.
What camera caught your eye? Let us know in the comments below.