Cameras for Night Photography

Today, photography equipment is so advanced that about any modern digital camera can produce great images when shooting photos during the day. However, owning the right equipment becomes much more valuable at night. The proper equipment can help minimize noise that is inherent in low-light images and make it possible to print these images at large sizes. For more information on how these cameras will perform at night, see DxOMark's ratings of the best cameras for low-light ISO performance.

Nikon
Nikon D610
This camera is a great value, selling for around $1500. It performs just as well at night as the more expensive options. If you want a camera primarily for night photography, this one may be for you.
Nikon D750
This is a newer camera that falls in between the D610 and D810 in both price and features. All three will perform about the same at night.
Nikon D810
The D810 is currently rated as the #2 overall camera on DxOMark.com. It has 36 megapixels, which can be great for making very large prints of images taken during the day. It also performs very well in low-light, though the quality of images taken at night is about the same as the less expensive D610 and D750.
Nikon Df
This camera offers a retro-look and is rated better than any other Nikon on DxOMark.com for low-light ISO performance. However, it is rated only slightly higher than the other Nikons and is also priced fairly high for a 16 megapixel camera.
Nikon D4S
The D4S comes with a hefty pricetag of around $6,000. It produces very high quality images at night, but the other Nikons listed here will perform just as well. It's probably only worth the price if you also shoot wildilfe or action shots, since the camera can take 11 frames per second (its replacement, the D5, is not listed here, as it performs worse at night).


Canon
Canon EOS 6D
The 6D is similar to the Nikon D610 in price and performance. It sells for under $1500 and DxOMark rates it as one of the better Canon cameras for night photography. So if you don't want to break the bank, I'd recommend this camera.
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
This is a great camera, though it does cost about $2,000 more than the 6D. It's rated a little better than the 6D for low-light ISO performance, and it offers a lot of additional features that can be useful for daytime shots.
Canon EOS 5DS
With a 50.6 megapixel sensor, the 5DS and 5DS R are the highest resolution DSLRs on the market. Despite the high pixel count, both cameras perfrom well at night and are rated about the same as the 6D for low-light performance (but lower than the Mark IV). They do cost a couple thousand more than the 6D, though, so these cameras are best suited for those who also want the ultra-high resolution for their daytime shots. The 5DS is rated a bit better for low light performance, while the 5DR may provide a bit more detail in daytime shots.
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
This camera is similar to the Nikon D4S. It costs around $6,000 and can shoot at up to 16 frames per second. It is rated as the best Canon camera on DxoMark for low-light ISO performance, slightly surpassing 5D Mark IV. However, due to the high price, it's probably only worth buying if you also shoot wildlife or action shots and need the high FPS.


Sony & Pentax
Sony Alpha a7S
Sony knocked it out of the ballpark with this compact mirrorless camera. The a7S currently has the highest rating for low-light ISO performance on DxOMark.com. This camera shoots just 12 megapixel images, but this allows for larger photosites and increaased low-light sensitivity. If you already own Canon or Nikon lenses, they won't be compatible with the Sony. So you'll need to purchse an adapter or invest in new lenses. There is now an A7S II, but it is rated quite a bit lower for low-light performance, so I still recommend the less expnsive A7S.
Sony Alpha a7R II
The a7R II is similar to the a7S but offers 42 megapixels instead of 12. The trade-off for the higher resolution is slightly less low-light sensitivity. Nevertheless, it is still rated as the third best camera on DxoMark.com for low-light performance and as the #1 overall camera (just beating out the Nikon D810).
Sony a9
This is the newest high-end Sony mirrorless camera, and it ranks as the second best camera for low-light photography, behind only the the A7S. It can also shoot up to an astounding 20 frames per second. This also gives it a price tag close to $5,000. So I'd only recommend it if you also shoot wildlife or action shots and need the high FPS.
Pentax K-1
Pentax has jumped into the ballgame in a big way by offering a full-frame, 36 megapixel DSLR that is rated as the 4th best camera for low-light photography, behind only the three Sonys listed to the left. However, it costs less than the Sonys, making it an ideal option for someone on a budget who wants superior quality at night and high megapixel count for daytime shots. The lens options, however, are a little more limited with the Pentax. As with Sony cameras, if you already own Canon or Nikon lenses, they won't be compatible with the Pentax. They have adapters for mounting Nikon lenses onto Pentax, but not for Canon.


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