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.

Sony & Pentax
Sony A7 III
Sony knocked it out of the ballpark with their compact mirrorless cameras. The 24-megapixel a7 III currently has the highest rating for low-light ISO performance on DxOMark.com, barely edging out the 12-megapixel A7S. If you already own Canon or Nikon lenses, they won't be compatible with the Sony. So you'll need to purchase an adapter or invest in new lenses.
Sony A7S
The a7S currently has the second 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. It is an older model and you can buy it used for less than any of the other Sonys listed here.
Sony A7R III
The A7R III 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 one of the very best cameras on DxoMark.com for low-light performance and overall performance. If you're looking for one camera that does extremely well during both the day and night, this one may be the best available.
Sony A9
This is a newer high-end Sony mirrorless camera, and it ranks as the third best camera for low-light photography, behind only the the A7S and A7 III. It can also shoot up to an astounding 20 frames per second. This also gives it a price tag close to $4,500. 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 full-frame ballgame in a big way by offering a 36 megapixel DSLR that is one of the best cameras for low-light photography, trailing only the Sony mirrorless cameras and barely edging out some of the Nikons. However, it costs less than the Sonys and the Nikons, 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.
Nikon
Nikon D850
This 46-megapixel camera was released in 2017 and became the first camera to receive an overall rating of 100 on DxoMark. It is rated a little lower than the other cameras listed here for low-light ISO performance, but I've found that it actually performs a little better than these cameras at night, due to lower dark noise during long exposures. This is not accounted for in DxOMark, since they use shorter exposures. So for overall performance day and night, I believe the D850 is the best Nikon option available. It is probably surpassed in this regard by the Sony A7R III, due to that camera's better performance at night.
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 camera 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 has 36 megapixels and performs very well in low-light. The quality of images taken at night is about the same as the less expensive D610 and D750, so this camera is better-suited for those also wanting the higher megapixel count for daytime shots.
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.


Canon
Canon EOS 6D Mark II
The 6D Mark II is the most affordable option among the top-rated 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 quite a bit more than the 6D Mark II. It's rated a little better than the 6D Mark II 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 pretty well at night, though not quite as well as the other Canons listed here. They do cost a lot more than the 6D Mark II, 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 5DS R may provide a bit more detail in daytime shots.
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
This camera 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 the 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.




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