Night photography presents its own unique set of challenges. And without the right gear for the job, it’s easy to give up on this style of photography. But things don’t have to be that way!
If anything, it’s quite possible to transform night-time photography into a fun-filled and rewarding venture. Here are our top recommendations on cameras that are perfect for taking photos at night.
Quality Camera for Night Sky Photography 2021 – Quick Table
On the hunt for an affordable best low light camera? Search no more. Below is a run-down of some leading camera models right up your alley.
|Ranking||Product Name||Optical Zoom||Video Capture Resolution|
|1||Nikon D7200 DSLR Camera||7.8x||1080p|
|2||Canon EOS Rebel T1i DSLR Camera||3x||1080p|
|3||Nikon D810 FX-Format DSLR||46x||1080p|
|4||Canon 5D Mark III DSLR||1x||1080p|
|5||Panasonic GH5 Lumix Mirrorless Camera||3x||2160p|
|6||Sony RX100 III||2.9000000953674316||1080p|
|7||Sony Alpha a6000||3x||1080p|
1. Nikon D7200 DSLR Camera
This camera is Nikon’s flagship DSLR camera and has built-in Wi-Fi and Near Field Communication (NFC) connectivity to enable comfortable and convenient sharing of top-quality photos and footage.
It has a 24MP CMOS image sensor which arrives without an optical low-pass filter and will capture extraordinarily sharp and precise videos and images. This is despite it having a maximum ISO sensitivity of 25,600.
Then, the camera has the EXPEED 4 image processing engine and this coupled with the 51-point AF system will facilitate the high-action photography of up to 6 fps.
Further, the additional video-recording features such as in-camera time-lapse and optional creative effects only add to the production of high-quality videos.
The package includes the Nikon 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR zoom lens to maximize its capabilities.
- Easy to understand and use
- Amazing low-light capabilities
- Rugged and weather-sealed
- Too heavy
2. Canon EOS Rebel T1i DSLR Camera
This model is the first one to include from its company to include both full HD and 720p video capture within the same camera body.
The T1i was explicitly designed to make it easy to understand and use so that even those with minimal experience will control it very comfortably. To add on the automatic mode found in preceding versions, it has an advanced system called Creative Auto (CA) which will give a novice a better understanding of the basics of creative photography.
It has an impressive video function whereby it shoots full HD video (1920 x 1080) at 20fps or 720p video at 30fps. It can also capture standard definition video and has a built-in monaural microphone for high-quality sound capture.
The T1i is more extensive to provide more room for a for the right-hand grip, which includes a thumb grip on the exterior and a rubber hand grip for the middle through the pinky finger.
Lastly, all the shooting information is displayed on the LCD, and you can always alter the settings directly from the screen.
- High-quality HD videos
- Easy to use and control
- Has a good grip
- Easily gets screen smudges
3. Nikon D810 FX-Format DSLR
If you need a camera that will deliver exceptional performance regardless of the shooting conditions, the Nikon D810 is what you are looking for. It performs smoothly and quietly at excellent speeds.
It has a 36.3MP resolution and this coupled with full FX-format image sensor will surely deliver you high-quality images.
The D810 has the EXPEED 4 image processor which gives it a tremendous speed of up to 5fps in burst mode at full resolution. Then, it has an ISO range of ISO 32-51200 which will significantly boost its performance in night conditions.
The camera is flexible, versatile and easily customizable to suit your tastes and preferences.
- Decent battery life
- Operates quietly and fast
- Too bulky
4. Canon 5D Mark III DSLR
The Canon 5D Mark III was released in 2008 as an upgrade of the Canon 5D Mark II model and has a very advanced autofocus system. It has an enhanced image sensor with an ISO range of ISO 100-25600 and a burst shooting speed of 6 fps.
It has a 22.3MP Full Frame CMOS sensor which measures 36 by 24mm. This plus a resolution of 5760 x3840 will ensure that you end up with high-quality videos. The built-in microphone is meant to enhance the audio quality to make it extremely clear.
It is weather-sealed meaning that you can use it in extreme conditions without incurring potentially damaging leakages. It also has dual-card support, and this will give you enough memory to store your photos and videos.
The magnesium-alloy body makes it sturdy enough to withstand rough environments.
- Fast image processing
- Weather-sealed aluminum body
- Clear images at night
- Poor warranty service
5. Panasonic GH5 Lumix Mirrorless Camera
This is one of the most versatile cameras you will ever come across. It features a 20.3MP Live MOS Micro Four Thirds Sensor plus a new-age Venus Engine Sensor which will enable you to capture stunning images.
It will also enable you to record no crop Ultra High-Definition 4K videos at 60fps as well as 6K Anamorphic videos at 30fps. It utilizes 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization technology to deliver you clear and still footage.
The sensor has no low pass filter and this combined with maximum light sensitivities of ISO 25600 for images and ISO 12800 for videos will give it a fantastic performance even in low light conditions.
- Highly versatile
- Impressive image stabilization
- No recording time limits for videos
- Not easy to use for inexperienced photographers
6. Sony RX100 III
The most remarkable bit with RX 100 III is that its lens is much faster without needing a significant increase in its size. It has a 3-stop neutral density filter to allow bright maximum apertures together with the lower diffraction levels over a wide range of circumstances.
This filter will come in handy in bright light when the maximum shutter speed is not enough.
It also has a Full-Sensor readout, and this will lead your camera to have a higher resolution than its predecessors.
The Camera is compatible with the XAVC S codec which will allow for the recording of 1080/60p videos at 50Mbps. It also has the Pop-up OLED electronic viewfinder, a customizable front lens ring as well as built-in Wi-Fi and NFC for sharing photos and videos.
- Delivers high-quality images and videos
- Easy to understand Menu
- Impressive shutter speed
- Very expensive
7. Sony Alpha a6000
The Sony a6000 is an upgrade of NEX-6 and includes several improved features such as faster autofocus and continuous shooting as well as a higher resolution sensor.
The faster autofocus and shooting means that this camera can keep up with fast-moving items or individuals like playing children or animals.
The camera measures 4.8 by 2.9 by 1.9 inches making it quite small in size, in addition to being compact. It is made out of composite materials and weighs 12.1 ounces but still has a solid feel.
The grip is large enough for those with big hands to feel comfortable holding it for long periods. It is also equipped with both an onboard flash and an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF).
It has a 3-inch LCD which can tilt back to as far as 90 degrees and down by up to 45 degrees. The camera also has settings and controls for you to set up the camera according to your preferences.
The 24MP APS-C-size sensor combined with Sony’s Bionz X processor will ensure that you end up with top-notch images. The Video Implementation coupled with full manual control provides an impressive video performance.
- Easy to use
- Outstanding images and videos even at night
- Lightweight and portable
- Tends to overheat quite fast
The Buying Guide
Whether facing a lunar-eclipsed cityscape or some hairy rocker playing his guitar in a concert with limited light, only a good camera will help you bring the story to life. To help you in selecting just the right piece of equipment, here are some key factors to consider.
Resolution: Make sure the camera’s sensor is a high-resolution one. Anything around or slightly above 8MP would be good enough.
The Lens: You want to go for a lens with a fast aperture i.e. a lens with low f/stop numbers. Built-in image stabilization can also help you capture sharper images.
Aperture: The bigger the aperture, the more the light that will penetrate through. Therefore, as far as night photography is concerned, you want to go for something with a generous aperture. Note that cameras with large apertures are characterized by lower f numbers e.g. f/1.8 or f/2.8.
Image Stabilization: You don’t some blur images to ruin your nighttime photography escapades. And so it makes perfect sense especially to invest in a camera with built-in digital stabilization.
Focal Length: Ideally, you should have a lens with zooming features. This way you can capture zoom in to the subject and capture some expressive shots.
Which One Is The Best?
The Canon 5D Mark III DSLR is what in our view represent the gold-standard of low light photography. The first runners-option would go to the Canon EOS Rebel T1i DSLR Camera, an affordable, entry-level night photography rig.
As explained above, there are only a few features that separate the average camera from the rest. So, you need to look closely, find a unit that ticks all the right boxes and go for it. Fortunately, you can always bookmark this buying guide for future reference.