Best low light camcorder

The 9 Best low light camcorder in 2022

With regards to Best low light camcorder, A videographer’s arsenal of tools is not complete without a low-light video camera for video recording at night. Due to being designed for low-light shooting, these video cameras can record videos even at night and still produce excellent video quality.

But with the large array of available low-light video cameras in the market, it might be confusing what suits your needs best. That is why we’ve prepared this article which talks about how to select the best low light camcorder and what are the best low light video cameras for 2022. Let’s get into it!

How to Choose the Best Low-Light Video Cameras and Camcorders?

We created this buying guide to help you decide which camera is best for low light situations. Remember, there are various factors that should be considered when selecting the best low-light video camera, but we will be considering 4 major criteria below when choosing. These are aperture, lux rating, lens, and signal-to-noise ratio. All of which are critical when you want the best low-light video camera.

Aperture Size

Aperture refers to the size of the opening that light passes through to enter the camera. This can be likened to the pupil of an eye that controls the amount of light that can enter the eyes by dilation and contraction.

And like the eye, the aperture can commonly be adjusted to allow more light in under low-light conditions. To be able to control the light entering, the aperture features a set of blades that contracts and expands making the opening wider or smaller.

So, the larger the aperture the better low-light performance it has. That is why when browsing low-light video cameras in the market, check for their aperture sizes. When checking aperture sizes, the smaller the number in the aperture size rating is, the wider is its opening.

One camera with excellent aperture is the Canon Mark IV. It has Approx. 150,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor and 252-zone TTL open-aperture metering EOS iSA (Intelligent Subject Analysis) system, making Mark IV a great camera for filming low light footage. Check out the Canon Mark IV for a great low-light performance camera. 

Lux Rating

Lux rating refers to a video camera or camcorder specification that tells how much light does it need to properly record videos.

Now, to put things in proper perspective, lux is a unit of measurement for brightness. So, 1 lux is equal to 1 lumen per square meter. And to give an idea of what lux rating is ideal for a low light camera, consider this: a dimly lit room might be around 100 to 50 lux and at night it might be less than 1 lux. So, when getting a low-light video camera, it’s better to get one that has a lux rating of 1 lux to ensure that it has a great low-light performance.

Lens and Sensor

The lens is also an important factor when considering what are the best low-light video cameras. That is because the lens is what captures and focuses the light into the sensor.

The sensor is usually referred to as the heart of low-light video cameras because it determines various video aspects such as image quality, dynamic range, low-light performance, and as well as what you can see through the optical viewfinder. So when selecting a low-light video camera, it is very important to consider the sensor because it largely affects the video quality. So, as much as possible, getting a low-light camera with a larger sensor is ideal for low-light videos or when vlogging in dark areas.

Take the Panasonic LUMIX G85 for example. It is a full-frame Digital SLR camera body (DSLR) with 10.2-megapixel micro four thirds sensor. The Panasonic LUMIX G85 is equipped with a 16MP Digital Live MOS Sensor, enabling you to capture true-to-life detail and sharper images. So, if you want a low-light camera with an impressive lens and sensor, consider getting the Panasonic Lumix G85 or any equivalent.

Signal-to-Noise Ratio

Another important factor to consider is the signal-to-noise ratio which simply means the ratio of the amount of valid video signal to the invalid video signal or noise. It can also be described as the accuracy of low-light video cameras to accurately capture and process the details of the scene.

There is a standard set by ISO for the acceptable signal-to-noise ratio of low-light shooting. But usually, this isn’t displayed by the manufacturers in their specification sheets. So it’s better if you can take the low-light video camera for a shoot. However, if it isn’t possible, watching the reviews and sample videos from honest reviewers online can also be helpful.

The Best Low Light Camcorder in 2022

Now that we’ve finished discussing the essential factors in selecting the best low-light camcorder, let’s now proceed to our list of the top low-light camcorders and video cameras in the market today. Below are 9 products

Sony – HDRCX405 HD

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Sony - HDRCX405 HD Video Recording Handycam Camcorder (black)
  • 50Mbps XAVC S1 1920x1080 at 60P, AVCHD and MP4 codecs. 30x Optical / 60x Clear Image Zoom to get closer to the action. 26.8mm wide angle ZEISS Lens
  • Automatically creates highlight video in MP4 from multiple clips. Optical SteadyShot image stabilization w/ Active mode. Built-in USB cable for easy file transfer/charge

First on our list is a very budget-friendly wide-range low-light camcorder from Sony. This is the Sony HDRCX405 which is priced at around $228 on Amazon and has received an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 from more than 1,780 customers.

Its high rating and popularity are due to good reasons. Because for just a cheap price of $228, you’ll get an amazing handheld video camera that offers great low-light HD video performance and a lot of essential video features.

Aside from that, this low-light video camera also features an amazing wide-angle lens from Carl Zeiss and the Optical Image Stabilization technology from Sony. Also, the Sony HDRCX405 is built with the Exmor R CMOS sensor which enables it to capture amazing shots in full high definition with 60 frames per second.

For storage, it’s equipped with 2 Micro SDXC memory card slots so you don’t have to worry about running out of space for long video recording sessions. It also has a flip LCD display that enables you to preview your shots. Overall, this is one of the best cameras for low light shooting conditions.

Best low light camcorder

Specifications

  • Sensor Type: Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • Processor: BIONZ X image processor
  • Lens: Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar
  • Focus: Contrast Auto-Focus, Manual Mode
  • Recording Outputs: AVCHD, MP4, 1080p (60 fps), 720p (30 fps)
  • Storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card (Dual SD Card Slots)
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion, 1,240 mAh
  • Built-in Microphone: Yes
  • Digital Zoom: 350x
  • Noise Reduction: Yes
  • HMDI: Yes
  • Optical Zoom Lens: 30x

Pros

  • A perfect camera for low light environment at an affordable price
  • Capable of capturing high quality video
  • Has 20x zoom capability (goes up to 30x)
  • Equipped with an excellent lens, sensor, and processor
  • Comes with a built-in mic and zoom mic

Cons

  • Small battery capacity
  • Long charging time

Panasonic HC-V180K

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Panasonic Full HD Video Camera Camcorder HC-V180K, 50X Optical Zoom, 1/5.8-Inch BSI Sensor, Touch Enabled 2.7-Inch LCD Display (Black)
  • 50X and 90X Optical Zoom: Long 50X zoom and 90X intelligent zoom draws in the scene from far away. The focal length is 2.06 - 103 millimeter
  • Wide-angle Lens: A 28mm wide-angle lens is convenient for capturing group images in small spaces, such as weddings, reunions and vacations

Next on our list is the Panasonic HC-V180K which is also a budget-friendly low-light video camera. This is priced at around $229 on Amazon with an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 from more than 800 customers.

This rating is due to this low-light camera being able to perform well despite its very cheap price. Right out of the box, you’ll notice that although this HD camcorder body parts are mostly made of plastic it still feels durable and rugged that is fit for long periods of shooting videos.

Aside from that, this HD camcorder has built-in 5 axis image stabilization, a 50x optical zoom, and 90x intelligent zoom. It is also fitted with a 28mm wide-angle lens that allows a wider field of view when shooting videos. It also has a flip LCD display that enables you to preview your shots.

This video camera is also equipped with a lot of useful features such as its filter effects that make your videos look like it’s been taken from an 8millimeter camera. There is also a time-lapse function if you’re into those types of videos.

Best low light camcorder

Specifications

  • Sensor Type: 1/5.8-Inch BSI CMOS Sensor
  • Lens: 28mm wide-angle lens
  • Focus: Auto-Focus, Manual Mode, HDR mode
  • External Microphone: Yes
  • Recording Outputs: AVCHD, MP4, high resolution 1080p (60 fps), 720p (30 fps)
  • Storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card Slot (Single Slot)
  • Battery: Rechargeable, 1,940mAh
  • Connectivity: HDMI (yes)
  • 5-axis Body Image Stabilization
  • 2.7 inch touchscreen LCD

Pros

  • Compact budget video camera
  • A great camera with ultra-wide dynamic range

Cons

  • Small battery capacity
  • Long charging time

Canon VIXIA HF R800

Canon VIXIA HF R800 Portable Video Camera Camcorder with Audio Input(Microphone), 3.0-Inch Touch Panel LCD, Digic DV 4 Image Processor, 57x Advanced Zoom, and Full HD CMOS Sensor, Black
  • A 3.0-inch capacitive touch panel LCD screen that is bright and clearly visible, even outdoors in the sun, with rich, natural color reproduction
  • SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer helps correct camera shake quickly, so even handheld video taken at long focal lengths can be sharp and steady

Next on our list is a bit of a step from our previously listed low-light cameras. The Vixia HF R800 is one of the best mid-range low-light video cameras from Canon. This video camera is priced at around $549 on Amazon and has an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars from more than 70 customers.

The Vixia HF R800 comes equipped with Canon’s 3.28 megapixel CMOS sensor that delivers excellent and life-like image quality in 1920 x 1080 resolution. It is also equipped with the Digic DV 4 as its processor which enables it to produce images without any noise even for low-light video.

As one of the mid-range compact cameras, the Vixia HF R800 has timelapse and slow-motion picture recording capabilities. For the timelapse video, it can record up to 1200 times the speed which means you can compress a 20-hour video footage into 1 minute. For slow-motion HD videos, you can set the settings up to 0.5 times slower.

Overall, the Canon VIXIA HF R800 is perfect for your videography needs.

Best low light camcorder

Specifications

  • Sensor Type: Full HD CMOS Sensor
  • Processor: Digic DV 4
  • Lens: Canon 35mm Film Equivalent
  • Body Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Focus: Through The Lens AF, Manual Mode
  • Recording Outputs: MP4; 1080p, 720p (60fps, 30fps, and 24fps)
  • Storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card (Single Slot)
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium-ion, 2,685 mAh

Pros

  • A big step up in terms of video quality as compared to the previously listed budget-friendly video cameras
  • Perfect for shooting in low light situations
  • Large battery capacity

Cons

  • Long charging time
  • Output video format is only MP4

Panasonic HC-V770

Panasonic Full HD Video Camera Camcorder HC-V770, 20X Optical Zoom, 1/2.3-Inch BSI Sensor, HDR Capture, Wi-Fi Smartphone Multi Scene Video Recording (Black)
  • 20X Optical Zoom: Long 20X zoom draws in the scene from far away; Compatible with Remote Pan Tilt Cradle (optional); The focal length is 4.08 to 81.6 millimeter; The still image is 1/2 to 1/2000 and the standard illumination is 1400 lx
  • HDR Movie Feature: Exclusive high dynamic range feature suppresses blown highlights and blocked shadows for crisper and clearer videos camcorder

Fourth on our list is the Panasonic HC-770, which is one of the best low-light camcorders that you can find in its price range. On Amazon, the Panasonic HC-770 is priced at around $597 and has an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars from more than 700 customers.

To start off, the Panasonic HC-770 is an HD camcorder that comes equipped with a 4 drive lens system which enables it to produce excellent video quality and have 2ox optical zoom. When it comes to shooting videos under low-light conditions, it produces high-quality camera capabilities and effortless grain reduction ability. The steady shot is also very impressive, along with its high dynamic range capability.

One of the ways the HC-770 excels from its competitors is its connectivity options. The first one is it’s capable of Wi-Fi mobile features that enable it to broadcast or live stream what it is currently capturing. Another excellent feature is its built-in twin camera function that enables this video camera to produce picture-in-picture shots when connected to a smartphone.

Best low light camcorder

Specifications

  • Sensor Type: 1/2.3-inch back-illuminated CMOS sensor
  • Lens: Prime
  • Focus: Auto-Focus, Manual Mode
  • Recording Outputs: AVCHD, MP4; 1080p, 720p (120fps, 60fps, 30fps, and 24fps)
  • Storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card (Single Slot)
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium-ion, 2200 mAh
  • Touch Panel: Yes
  • 3-Inch Tilt and Touch LCD

Pros

  • Great connectivity options when compared to its competitors
  • Produce clear handheld shots and less to zero noise
  • Perfect for shooting videos in ambient light situations
  • Comes with a 3-inch tilt and touch LCD

Cons

  • None for its price point

Panasonic HC-VX981K

Panasonic 4K Ultra HD Video Camera Camcorder HC-VX981K, 20X Optical Zoom, 1/2.3-Inch BSI Sensor, HDR Capture, Wi-Fi Smartphone Multi Scene Video Capture (Black)
  • Get in Close and Detail: 18.91 Megapixel MOS sensor plus 20x Zoom LEICA Decomar Lens (4.08-81.6 millimeter), plus 5-axis Hybrid O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer)
  • 1/2.3-Inch BSI Sensor: The Back Side Illumination Sensor has a large effective area with 8.29M effective pixels, suppressing noise even when shooting in dimly lit conditions. Image Sensor is 1/2.3-inch BSI MOS Sensor

Many digital cameras look cool on the outside but have a let-down quality. But not the Panasonic HC-VX981K. 

This full-frame camera is one of the best low-light cameras for video shooting, a step up from the previously listed camcorders. With full4K recording capabilities, the HC-VX981K. This full-frame camera is priced at around $800 on Amazon and has an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars from more than 700 customers.

Like its little brother, the HC-V770, this low-light video camera also has excellent connectivity options. It has wi-fi functions that enable remote shooting and viewing through the Panasonic smartphone app. It also has a built-in twin camera feature that enables picture-in-picture shooting and broadcasting to your smartphone.

What’s more astounding is that the lens of this video camera is the Leica Dicomar Stabilized Lens which enables all the taken video footage to be sharp, crispy, and full of details even when taking low-light videos.

You may also want to check out the Panasonic LUMIX series. We recommend the Panasonic LUMIX G85 or the GH5L. They have an amazing wide ISO range and ISO values, perfect for shooting videos and capturing highly-detailed images. They also come with post focus feature and other advanced features.

Best low light camcorder

Specifications

  • Sensor Type: 1/2.3-Inch BSI Sensor
  • Lens: Leica Dicomar Stabilized Lens
  • Focus: AutoFocus, Manual Video Mode
  • Recording Outputs: AVCHD, MP4; 4K, 1080p, 720p (60fps, 30fps, and 24fps)
  • Storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card (Single Slot)
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium-ion, 1940mAh
  • Optical Zoom Sensor: Yes
  • 3-Inch Tilt and Touch LCD

Pros

  • One of the best low-light camcorders at its price point
  • Excellent 4K video quality despite staying below the $1,000 price point, perfect for any video shoot situations

Cons

  • Fast battery consumption, can do more if Panasonic provided a larger capacity battery
  • May not have the fastest auto focus

Canon VIXIA HF G50

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Canon VIXIA HF G50 4K30P Camcorder, Black
  • 4K UHD 30p Recording
  • Genuine Canon 4K-compatible 20x Optical Zoom Lens and Wide 29.3mm Angle of View

Sixth on our list is Canon Vixia HF G50 which is an entry point to the more pricey low-light video cameras. The Vixia HF G50 is priced at $1,099 on Amazon and has an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars from more than 300 customers.

This low-light video camera is equipped with Canon’s 1/2.3 inch CMOS sensor and Digic’s DV 6 processor. Due to this powerful combination of sensor and processor, the Vixia HF G50 perfectly captures amazing shots with accurate colors, vivid details, and consistent quality.

Another reason that makes this one of the best cameras for video shooting in low light is that it comes with features that are specifically made for low-light videos. In fact, it has a low-light mode and night vision capabilities.

A cheaper alternative is the Canon VIXIA HF G20. It’s more affordable but still able to capture HD resolution videos. The Canon VIXIA HF G20 is an excellent video camera that’s $300 cheaper than the G50. 

Best low light video camera

Specifications

  • Sensor Type: 1/2.3-inch 4K UHD CMOS sensor
  • Processor: Digic DV 6
  • Lens: Equivalent to 35mm film
  • Focus: Hybrid and Automatic TTL
  • Recording Outputs: MP4; 4K, 1080p, 720p (60fps, 30fps, and 24fps)
  • Storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card (Dual Slot)
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium-ion, 1780 mAh
  • Optical Zoom Sensor: Yes

Pros

  • Amazing camera for 4K video recording
  • Built-in video recording features such as night vision, anti-shake, and low-light modes are great

Cons

  • Would love to have more battery capacity for longer video shoots; there is a larger battery capacity available for the HF G50 but it still needs to be bought

Canon XA11

Canon XA11 Professional Camcorder
  • Genuine Canon 20x High Definition Optical Zoom Lens
  • New, Advanced HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor with Improved Low-light Performance

The seventh on our list of the best low-light video cameras is a professional camera from Canon. And when we say professional, we’re talking about the gadgets used for filmmaking. And you’ll easily notice this because it is full-packed with not only video features but also audio features.

This is the Canon XA11 which is priced at around $1,299 on Amazon and has an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars from more than 200 customers.

To start off, the XA11 is equipped with a 1/2.84-inch HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor made by Canon and paired with a Digic DV4 image processor. This gives this video camera excellent at shooting videos even under low-light conditions.

Being a professional camcorder, it is equipped with various audio inputs and outputs. In fact, on its detachable unit arm, it has 2 XLR inputs that have a +48V phantom power supply so you can plug in various types of microphones in it. 

If you’re looking for another option, a great alternative to this camera is the Canon EOS Rebel series. The Canon EOS Rebel T7, Canon EOS T6, and Canon EOS T5 are mirrorless cameras with 4K-Optimized Sensor (24.1mp CMOS Sensor) and DIGIC 4+ Image Processor. These Canon EOS series (including the Canon EOS 90D) are truly a bang for your buck.

Best low light video camera

Specifications

  • Sensor Type: 1/2.84-inch full-frame CMOS Sensor, RGB Primary Color Filter
  • Processor: Digic DV 4
  • Lens: Focal length of 3.67-73.4mm, f/1.8-2.8
  • Focus: Hybrid and Normal Autofocus, Manual Mode
  • Recording Outputs: AVHCD, MP4; 4K, 1080p, 720p (60fps, 30fps, and 24fps)
  • Storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card (Dual Slot)
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium-ion, 1700 mAh
  • 3-Inch LCD: Yes
  • Integrated Wi-Fi: No

Pros

  • Excellent camera with Ultra HD recording, making this a reliable camera especially for shooting videos in a low light environment
  • Despite only having an output of 1080p, the image quality is very professional
  • Can record quality footage even in pitch-black areas

Cons

  • Pricey but this camera is mainly for those that are into filmmaking
  • Needs more battery capacity especially when shooting videos for long periods

Panasonic X1500

Panasonic X1500 4K Professional Camcorder with 24X Optical Zoom, WiFi HD Live Streaming, HC-X1500 (USA Black)
  • [PRO FEATURES] Manual rings, ND filters, and 24-bit high resolution linear PCM audio recording, 4: 2: 2 10-bit internal recording, double SD card slots
  • [WIFI LIVE STREAMING] HD live streaming supported by built-in Wi-Fi

Next on our list of the best low-light video cameras is another professional camera which is from Panasonic, the x1500. The X1500 is priced at around a whopping $1,697.99 on Amazon and has a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars from more than 80 customers.

The X1500 was designed with the purpose of being able to create professional types of videos while still remaining compact and portable. It can capture beautiful colors and is armed to be able to capture 4K videos at 60 frames per second.

Also, the Panasonic X1500 supports wireless streaming straight from the video camera over 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi via RTP/RTSP/RTMP/RTMPS streams. It can also connect to various smart devices to create picture-in-picture video outputs and streams.

Although feature-packed, the X1500 is not for the average consumer and is aimed at those who are into filmmaking.

If you want to consider other camera from Panasonic, you should check out the Panasonic HC-WXF991. The cinema-like video camera camcorder HC-WXF991K is perfect for professionals and amateurs alike who are into video productions.

Specifications

  • Sensor Type: 1/2.5″-Type MOS Sensor
  • Lens: Leica Dicomar Lens, wide-angle 25mm with optical image stabilization
  • Focus: Focal length of 4.1 to 98.9mm, f/1.8-f/4
  • Recording Outputs: MOV, AVHCD, MP4; 4K, 1080p, 720p (60fps, 30fps, and 24fps)
  • Storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card (Dual Slot)
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium-ion, 43Wh or approximately 5,906 mAh
  • Internal Memory: No
  • Integrated Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Optical Zoom Sensor: Yes

Pros

  • Amazing video quality even when shooting videos in low light
  • Can capture amazing quality night shot
  • Excellent battery life

Cons

  • None

Sony HXR-NX80

Sony HXR-NX80 4K HD NXCAM Camcorder
  • Fast Hybrid Auto Focus with advanced features
  • Instant HDR workflow w/ HLG

Last on our list is a top-of-the-line video camera from Sony, the HXR-NX80. Perfect for versatile shooting, this professional video camera is priced at $2,298 on Amazon and has an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars from more than 30 customers.

Packed with advanced features, the Sony HXR-NX80 was made with creating professional content while still maintaining a compact and lightweight design. Able to record high-quality footage, this camera is also designed to make live streaming easier as it can be quickly connected to a multi-camera scene picture so that the operator can easily control the stream or broadcast.

If you’re looking for a beginner- and budget-friendly camera from Sony, check out the amazing Sony Alpha A6400. The Sony A6400 is a mirrorless digital camera with 20.1MP stacked back-illuminated 1″ Exmor RS CMOS image sensor w/ DRAM. The Sony A6400 is also capable of 11fps continuous shooting at 24.2MP raw.

Specifications

  • Sensor Type: 1″ Exmor RS Sensor
  • Processor: Digic DV 6
  • Lens: Fixed lens, focal length of 9.3mm – 111.6mm, f/2.8 – f/4.5
  • Focus:
  • Video Capability: XAVC S, AVCHD; 4K, 1080p, 720p (120fps, 60fps, 30fps, and 24fps frame rate)
  • Card Reader: SDHC/SDXC (Single Slot), Memory Stick PRO Duo-Mark 2 (Single Slot)
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium-ion, 70,000 mAh
  • Optical Zoom Sensor: Yes
  • Advanced Zoom: Yes
  • Integrated Wi-Fi: Yes

Pros

  • Excellent video camera even when taking videos under low light
  • Capable of high-speed continuous shooting
  • Delivers professional recording experience
  • Great connectivity options, making this video camera very suitable for broadcasting, streaming, and filmmaking

Cons

  • No 5GHz Wi-Fi capability given its price point. 

Final Thoughts

In summary, there are a lot of great low-light video cameras in the market today. The best low-light camcorder for you depends on the budget that you have and your needs as a content creator.

So, take note of your budget and carefully consider all the options so you’ll be able to select the best low-light camera.