Best Low Light Digital Camera Models
Get Better Shots with the Best Low Light Digital Camera
If you take a lot of shots indoors, in the late evening, or at night, you may often be faced with under exposed pictures unless you're using the right camera or have a good knowledge of how to get the right exposure. For those seeking the best low light digital camera and knowledge on how to improve their shots in low light conditions, you've come to the right page to get started.
You'll find tips about choosing the right camera and how to take the best low light shots.
Important Characteristics of the Best Low Light Digital Camera Models
So you're on a search to find the best low light digital camera, to choose just a few characteristics/features that can produce better than average low light shots, look for:A good sensor.Generally speaking the best are on DSLR models, not point and shoot cameras. Of course, not everyone wants a DSLR, so you can check for some of the other characteristics listed here but even some point and shoot cameras offer a high sensitivity - low noise sensor that is better than average. Now it's not too difficult to find cameras that use a back-lit or back-illuminated sensor which increases sensitivity and keeps noise to a minimum. High ISO.Using high ISO is similar to using high film speeds in old film cameras. ISO is actually the light sensitivity. For good shots in low light, you want high sensitivity, which means a high ISO setting. For instance, ISO 800 will give you more light sensitivity than ISO 400, but ISO 1600 would be even better. Of course, using a high ISO can result in more "noise" or artifacts in the image you produce. Thus, having a low noise sensor or at least noise reduction technology is also important. Due to the limited sensor size in digital cameras it can be wise to choose one with an ISO over 800 but fewer megapixels so that the demands on the sensor are reasonable, and you don't end up with too much noise. Optical image stabilization.This helps to compensate for blurring that occurs when there are small inadvertent movements that happen with handheld shots. A long exposure or slower shutter speed is sometimes used to bring in more light when in low light settings. Unfortunately, this increases the likelihood of handshake. Thus OIS can be critical. Of course, the use of a tripod is the best defense. Controls.You need to be able to turn off the flash. In most low light situations you want the flash off unless your subject is within flash range. To get a good low light shot, the camera needs to capture enough light. Thus, you may also want manual control over the aperture (to get more opening for more light) or control over shutter speed (a slower shutter speed leaves the aperture open longer, allowing in more light). Even many point and shoot cameras give you some control over these in an aperture or shutter priority setting. A night setting on your camera can help obtain similar settings in the absence of manual controls. A fast lens.The best low light digital camera needs a fast lens. An f1.2 or f1.4 lens will most likely be found only on a DSLR model. But it's still useful to compare; an F4 would still be better than F22 for low light shots. (you want the F number to be smaller)
Taking Better Low Light Shots
Having the best low light digital camera is a good start, but knowing how to use it is even more important. Even for those without all of the features mentioned above, low light shots can still be improved if you know what to do. For casual users, the following tips can help.Keep steady.If you have a camera with a slower lens or you slow the shutter speed to allow in more light, you may get the best results using a tripod. With the shutter open longer, there is simply more chance for camera movement resulting in blurring. The tripod helps eliminate the risk of camera shake. You can also use the timer to avoid unwanted movement caused by physically touching the camera to activate the shutter button. If there is no tripod available, try to use another stationary object in the area. If hand holding the camera, bring your arms in close to the body and hold your breath while snapping the shot. Use your legs to brace yourself like a tripod or kneel down. In general, a wider aperture allows the camera to gather enough light in low light situations.Most point and shoots have an aperture priority setting that allows adjustment. If nothing else however, using the Night Mode setting will help. Know the flash range on your camera.In most instances, using the flash isn't effective unless your subject is within 8-10 feet of the camera. Reduce heatThe longer your camera is on the more heat it produces which can create even greater noise from the sensor. Therefore, it's best to not use the camera for extended periods of time prior to trying to capture a nighttime shot.
Photo: left-hand. (no derivative work allowed)
Canon PowerShot Cameras for Low Light Images
Canon has their HS System which includes a DIGIC 5 image processor and high sensitivity, back illuminated sensor which helps to reduce noise at high ISO levels, expands the camera's dynamic range, and therefore results in much improved images taken in low light situations. Here are some of the best low light digital cameras from Canon.
This Powershot S90 is a 10 megapixel camera with low light scene mode for settings up to ISO 12,800. It has a customizable control ring for manual options, a wide-angle 3.8x optical zoom, optical image stabilization, a 3" LCD and a bright f/2.0 lens.
Finepix Models for Good Low Light Shots
This 11.1 megapixel Finepix S100fs offers 14.3x optical zoom, dual image stabilization, face detection, and automatic red-eye removal. It has a bright F2.8 or F5.3 lens, with an expanded dynamic range for greater sensitivity and low light shooting capabilities. It has a 2/3-inch super CCD VIII sensor and a movie mode for VGA quality video at 30fps.
Nikon Cameras for Low Light Shooting
This camera offers a 24.1 high sensitivity sensor, a f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens, and a 3" variable angle monitor. Users can shoot up to 5 frames per second and shoot 1080p video with stereo sound. It offers 16 scene modes and allows WiFi sharing and transfer of images with the optional wireless mobile adapter.
The Best Low Light Cameras from Panasonic
This Micro Four Thirds camera from Panasonic offers creative control and high quality still and motion imaging. It features intuitive touch control, a free-angle "Intelligent" LCD, multi-aspect wide screen Live View Finder, and a 16.05 megapixel Live MOS sensor which results in less noise and much higher sensitivity. This camera offers speed as well. It is capable of capturing 5 fps in full resolution using mechanical shutter and a maximum of 40fps using electronic shutter.
With high speed and it's superior MOS sensor, the GH2 is also a good low light digital camera. It accepts up to 11 interchangeable lenses, including a 3D lens, and offers 7 preset color effects.
Beyond still images, the GH2 also records full HD 1920x1080i video with 60p output. It features cinema-like 24p movie with a maximum bit rate of 24Mbps and a variable movie mode which allows user to record motion in variable frame rates. The EX Tele Conversion function acts to extend the zoom and simultaneous HDMI can be used while recording to allow user to monitor images on a separate screen.
The DMC G3 is another good choice from Panasonic. It's another micro four thirds model with a 3" touch panel, a sensitive 16 megapixel sensor, and f/3.5-5.6 lens. It can also shoot 1080p video.