The 3 Best Low-Light Video Cameras Under $2,500
Sometimes you don’t have access to a proper lighting setup. In these situations, it’s great to have a camera that handles low-light environments with ease. Here are the best low-light video camera options under $2500.
Whether you’re a run-and-gun documentary filmmaker, or you just want a natural aesthetic during a certain scene, having a camera that can produce usable footage from low-light situations really comes in handy. Additionally, a more capable camera body can allow you to use slower lenses.
Thankfully, over the past few years, low-light video cameras have become increasingly affordable — a blessing to budget filmmakers everywhere. In fact, there are now multiple reasonable options to choose from, many of which have recently seen significant price drops. Let’s take a look at the best the market has to offer for under $2500. To avoid giving a single brand too much attention, we decided to focus on the best of three different household names.
PRICE: 2198.00 USD
Let’s start with the mirrorless monster, formally known by many as the “Low-Light King.” This small, lightweight full-frame camera has been all the buzz of the past year, with a supported ISO of up to 409,600. While this high of an ISO isn’t necessarily practical, it’s certainly still impressive to produce a recognizable image in near-darkness.
The selling point of the a7S is without a doubt its low-light capabilities, considering its current lack of internal 4K recording (soon to be alleviated with the release of the a7s II), limited lens selection, and rolling shutter issues. However, despite these flaws, the a7S far outshines its competitors in low light, and is arguably the best choice if low light is your absolute priority.
PRICE: 1497.99 USD
Another very light, mirrorless camera, Panasonic’s GH4 excels in low-light video as well. While it isn’t often commended for its low-light capabilities (due to the constant comparisons of it to the a7S), the GH4 still produces some undeniably impressive images.
Its internal 4K recording and Micro 4/3 lens mount give it the edge in other ways, allowing for a larger selection of lenses and the flexibility that 4K offers, with the added ability to crop down and stabilize footage in post. Also much cheaper than similar options, the GH4 is a versatile low-light camera with a lot to offer at a respectable price.
Canon 5D MK III
PRICE: 2499.00 USD
The Canon 5D has long been one of the most impressive DSLR cameras on the market, generally offering stellar specs and pushing the limits of the modern portable camera. In fact, the first generation 5D was the first full-frame DSLR camera with a standard body size and reasonable price tag. A few years have passed since its release, and Canon has since been cast away from the spotlight to make room for the newer generation of cameras with more compact, mirrorless sensors.
Even so, the 5D MK III is still a great piece of equipment that holds up well despite its growing age. It might be rather large compared to other options on the market, but its gorgeous low-light video, wide lens selection, and ability to shoot brief video sequences in RAW (with the help of the popular custom firmware, Magic Lantern) make it a formidable veteran amongst newcomers.
While there are now dozens of cameras on the market that produce impressive footage in low light, these are some of the most notable of the top names in video. These may not be the best options for you, but they are a good, wallet-friendly place to start when you realize that artificial lighting just isn’t cutting it.
Do you have a favorite low-light video camera? Let us know in the comments below!