Out of all the 23 camcorders I’ve tested on low-light conditions, i can comfortably say that the Canon XA40 was the definite best performer. However, considering it’s a high-end model, that was more or less expected. If you want the best value for your money, then the Panasonic HC-WXF991K is a great option, and won’t disappoint you. Not all of the camcorders i tested were able to perform well on my tests, but those that did, were included in this list.
Camcorders are pretty interesting devices and to be honest their popularity has fallen in the recent few years. That is because these days smartphones can record videos and shoot HD videos as well, and if you want a separate device for just capturing those moments modern digital cameras such as DSLRs and mirrorless systems deliver versatility. However, they still have some interesting features that beat both smartphones and other kinds of cameras when it comes to 4K or HD video recording. One of the most important ones being shooting in low light conditions.
However, this year camcorders are set to make a strong return as there have been some excellent models released from the most prominent brands with excellent feature sets and attractive prices. However, for those with specific requirements, there are not a lot of options out there, but it is possible to find some excellent models. For example, if you are looking for camcorders that perform well in low light conditions you are in the right place as we will talk about them today.
If you are a fan of shooting videos or photos during the night, or in closed environments where low light is causing distortion and blur on your photos, then you probably noticed that you can’t get the job done with a normal camera. To shoot stunning videos in low light conditions, you will need a professional camcorder that is capable of handling low light ambients.
We will specifically take a look at the best low light camcorders in the market and so much more. Now without further ado, let’s take a closer look.
Best For Professionals
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Best Image Stabilization
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Best Mid-Range Option
|Canon VIXIA HF G40 Full HD Camcorder|
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Best For General Use
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Best Compact Option
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The Top 5 Best Low Light Camcorders
5. Sony FDRX3000/W
We are going to kick off this list with an excellent product here, the Sony FDRX3000/W. This is actually one of the cheapest camcorders that can really deliver a great performance in low light conditions, and that is exactly why I have incorporated it in this list. But then again it has some other extras that will make even the most nitpicky users fall in love with this product. So let’s check it out.
The Sony FDRX3000/W is actually an action camera, and it comes as a spiritual successor to the Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam. It also has a pretty similar design to it. Despite being marketed as an action camera, the Sony FDRX3000/W is a proper camcorder with all its bells and whistles. First of all, it is ergonomic overall for holding it in your hand and it has a pretty much beautiful design that comes in a glossy white body that weighs about 114grams in total. It also has the IPX4 water-resistant rating and if you put it in its case you can go down to 60 meters underwater without any problem.
It also comes together with the Live-View Remote Control which is pretty much excellent for controlling the device and will help you in different scenarios. However, the remote control has its own charging dock that you need to carry around which can be a little annoying overall. On the rear of the device, you will spot the connectivity ports, that include a micro-USB port, micro-HDMI, and a pair of storage card options. It also has WiFi connectivity and even has a GPS sensor in its body.
The Sony FDRX3000/W is equipped with the Zeiss Tessar multi-coated lens and a 1/2.5-inch 16:9 Exmor R CMOS sensor with an 8.2MP resolution that is excellent overall. The thing i was mostly suprised with is that it has wide angle viewing capabilities. Wide angles are not common on action cameras that can do well with low light, so a big thumbs up to Sony for that.
It has a focal length of 17mm at 4K resolution but gets narrower when you go down to Full HD. The Sony FDRX3000/W shoots 30 fps at 4K resolution and its main selling point is its perfect balanced Optical image stabilization system (SteadyShot) that does wonders for its purpose. Definitely one of the best action cameras out there.
4. Panasonic HC-WXF991K
Moving on with our list we have the Panasonic HC-WXF991K, which is an impressive camcorder delivering some great features without the expensive price tag. It is designed as a semi-professional camcorder that will deliver a great performance that is easy to use and pleasant to shoot videos with, even in low light conditions. Let’s take a closer look at this small monster.
When it was first released the Panasonic HC-WXF991K was launched as a flagship model and it replaced another flagship product which was already excellent. It took some design cues and features from its predecessor, it is actually pretty similar to its predecessor. The biggest improvement over its predecessor is the new electronic viewfinder which makes this camera extremely attractive for a wide range of users.
This makes the camera a bit heavier than the past one, but not by a much. In my opinion, this camera sits perfectly in the middle of consumer and professional camcorders that are used by cinematographers. One of the most interesting features of this camera si the dolly zoom that creates a great vertigo effect that you might have seen in films. Another favorite of mine is the Slow/Quick Motion feature that allows you to record both fast and slow-motion videos in a single clip. This might sound a little confusing but actually, it has great use especially for action footages.
The Panasonic HC-WXF991K has the twin camera feature that actually acts as a second camera that is connected to the 3-inch touchscreen allowing you to effectively capture some great footage. Along with its low light performance, the Panasonic HC-WXF991K establishes itself as a strong model. Definitely a very high quality model.
3. Canon VIXIA HF G40
We have a camera here that is definitely one of the most impressive in the market, the Canon VIXIA HF G40. Well, it comes from Canon, and the company has rarely disappointed its users with its products. It comes as a successor to the Vixia G30 which was also a great camera overall but this one makes some much-needed improvements and allows you to capture some beautiful footage even in low light conditions.
The Canon VIXIA HF G40 looks a bit too professional for the regular user, and it is actually designed and manufactured for the prosumer market. It has all the features that are needed for a professional to create great pieces. The size of this camera is pretty good though and you can carry it around with ease. I would also like to mention that despite being a professional model I think that it has used even for amateurs.
Moving on to the features the Canon VIXIA HF G40 has some excellent ones as I mentioned earlier. The biggest and most important of them is the Genuine Canon 20x High Definition Optical Zoom Lens which provides a focal length of 26-576mm in the 35mm format equivalent. It has some excellent additions and elements, such as the coating to reduce flare and ghosting that can be a bit annoying. On top of that, it also features the 8-blade Circular Aperture that is responsible for reducing the starburst effect significantly.
Moving on it has a great sensor as well, the new and improved HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor that is engineered to deliver a superb performance. It manages to bring out amazing colors and a great noise reduction overall. The sensor has a 1/2.84-inch size and has 2.91 effective Megapixel that is great for Full HD resolution. My favorite feature about this camera is that it can deliver a great low-light performance overall. It doesn’t just capture image effectively at low light conditions it even reduces the noise effectively with its low-luminance rating of +3 dB which delivers clearer results overall.
2. Sony FDRAX53/B
Like I said the popularity of camcorders has dropped significantly, however, big-name manufacturers have pushed some beautiful products that have made camcorders relevant again. The Sony FDRAX53/B is a great example, as it has some perfect features that make this one a great one for low light and a wide range of users. On top of all this, it is also pretty affordable compared to what it offers, and it is super popular.
The Sony FDRAX53/B has some great external improvements compared to the other models in the company’s low light range. For that same reason, it is a bit larger compared to other models that are in Sony’s lineup. However, it is not heavier than them, pretty much the same which makes it pretty appealing for a lot of users.
Let’s talk a little about the long feature list of the Sony FDRAX53/B. First off let’s mention the amazing 4K image quality that captures all images with great smoothness even if you are not particularly steady with it. Sony states that the pixels of the Sony FDRAX53/B is 1.6 larger than the best models when it was released and you can see it when you playback your videos in 4K resolution.
The most impressive feature of this camera is the Balanced Optical Steady shot that is one of the best optical image stabilization features you can see in this range of cameras. In my experience, I saw it deliver some beautiful & smooth footage with its 5-axis Intelligent Active mode that is great for shooting HD video outdoors. Moving on the Sony FDRAX53/B is pretty versatile as it has the XVAC S3 Dual Recording feature that allows you to shoot in two popular formats, both AVCHD and MP4 codecs.
The Zeiss Vario Sonnar T lens works wonders and it makes you feel like you are in control of everything and it has also 20x optical zoom to help you out. In addition to that, I should mention the advanced features and modes like the 4K time-lapse, slow motion, trimming playback, and night shooting which is perfect in low light conditions. Definitely one of the best low light camcorders out there.
1. Canon XA40
If you want the best camcorder for low light conditions than you definitely need to check out the Canon XA40. This is a small but super powerful camcorder that has some perfect features and great low light performance that will make every user happy.
It is definitely a bit more expensive than the other low light video camera options on this list but it has all the performance to justify its price. While using this camera, i was finally able to get rid of my photography ring light, because i kept using it all the time with my cheap DSLR. On top of that Canon has never disappointed us with its excellent products.
The Canon XA40 is actually a professional UHD camcorder, an entry-level model though. I can recommend this one even to cinematographers as well. If you have seen the Canon’s Vixia range you will definitely recognize the Canon XA40. It has a similar design to the HF G50 which is a great camera overall. It looks a bit too professional for regular use right out of the box, however, you can definitely remove the handle and get a pretty casual look from it
In terms of inputs and connectivity, the Canon XA40 has plenty of selections that will make any user happy. For example, this camera has two XLR audio inputs, in addition to this perfect in-body microphones. It also has a 3.5mm stereo mic input and with that, you complete a four-channel setup that is what pros use. I was annoyed to find that there is no charger in the package of this device, but you have to buy a third-party model which is pretty cheap. While you are at it buy some extra batteries to have some more use for the camera. I can say that this camera works perfectly with accessories overall.
The Canon XA40 is equipped with a great 20x lens that is of the 29-601mm equivalent on the 35mm format, meaning that you get plenty of range. It is packed with a 1/2.3-inch UHD CMOS sensor that the company knows how to make properly. I was extremely impressed with the performance of this camera. The low light performance thanks to the sensor and the processing unit was exceptional and the colors came out livid. Canon has definitely hit the sweet spot with this high quality model when it comes to low light conditions.
As you have seen there are some excellent options at your disposal when it comes to camcorders for low light scenarios. I have tried to include low light options from different manufacturers and different price ranges so you can choose the one that fits your needs and budget. If for some reason you don’t like camcorders, you can look for a budget video camera instead. I think that you will definitely find a great HD camcorder for yourself and will have plenty of fun with your new low light camera. Good hunting.
If you are unable to find anything you like, then i recommend you take a look at alternatives, such as getting an on-camera light. These are devices which can be attached to your camera to improve the lightning conditions.