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Top 21 Best Low Light Photography Cameras 2020 - Best Aps-c

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Best APS-C Cameras

All of the cameras listed under this heading feature an APS-C sized sensor, also known as crop sensor. Even though their Full-Frame family members tend to offer better low light performance, APS-C cameras shouldn't be ignored as low light performance is still good and the cameras under this umbrella are often more compact and cheaper than Full-Frame models. 


Nikon D7500

Nikon D7500 DSLR

  • Sensor: 20mp APS-C CMOS sensor
  • ISO Range: ISO50 to ISO1640000
  • Lens-based optical image stabilisation

With the same sensor as the D500, low-light performance is the best in class. Essentially, you are getting the same D500 image quality, at a lower price point, and in a more compact camera body. This means you can benefit from the best-in-class noise performance, giving usable ISO up to ISO25600. However, for high-speed shooting, the D500 is still the quicker option.

The Nikon D7500 produces images that are sharp straight from the camera, with low levels of noise and good levels of detail from the base ISO setting, all the way up to ISO6400 and ISO12800. You may find images taken at ISO25600 usable when resized, or depending on what subject you are shooting. At ISO51200 noise is stronger, but colour saturation remains good. At ISO102400 noise becomes much stronger again, although colour saturation for some of the brighter colours is reasonable. Above this noise becomes particularly ugly.

Photos taken with High ISO NR set to Normal (Default). The options are Off, Low, Normal and High. 

Read Our Nikon D7500 Full Review 

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Nikon D7500 ISO test images


Sony Alpha A6500

Sony Alpha A6500 With Lens Angle


  • Sensor: 24mp APS-C CMOS sensor
  • ISO Range: ISO100 to ISO51200
  • In-camera image stabilisation

The Sony Alpha A6500 produces images with low levels of noise, and good levels of detail from ISO100 to ISO1600. There's a slight drop in fine detail at ISO3200, but results are still good. Detail drops again at ISO6400, but noise is well controlled, and this should provide good images. ISO12800 is on the edge, as noise increases, and detail is reduced. You may find these images usable if resized, or further processing is applied. ISO25600 and above is best avoided if possible. 

There is a slight improvement over the A6300, with a little more detail retained as the ISO speed increases. ISO6400 produces usable images, and there is much better noise reduction at ISO12800, compared to the A6300. 

Overall, colour is good, even when shooting at higher ISO speeds, and the camera produces good photos. Plus, the camera features in-camera 5-axis sensor-based image stabilisation which helps with both photos and video.  

Read Our Sony Alpha A6500 Full Review 

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Sony Alpha a6500 ISO test images



Fujifilm X-H1

Fujifilm X H1 Outside (3)

  • Sensor: 24.3mp APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor
  • ISO Range: ISO100 to ISO51200
  • In-camera image stabilisation

The X-H1 has an ISO range that goes from ISO100 up to ISO51200. We took these test shots using the default noise reduction options. Detail remains good until the ISO speed gets quite high, however, colour saturation remains good even at the higher ISO speeds. There is impressive noise performance up to and including ISO12800. ISO25600 also produces good results, and it's only the highest ISO speed of ISO51200 that you need to avoid. Noise reduction options can be set from -4 to +4, with the default being 0. We took these shots on the default setting and used +0.3 exposure compensation. To access the highest ISO speed of ISO51200 you have to go through the menus to customise the H setting on the ISO speed dial, otherwise, this defaults to ISO25600.

There's a slight but noticeable improvement in noise performance at these higher ISO speeds of ISO12800, and ISO25600 compared to the Fujifilm X-T2. The results are pretty much on a par with the class-leading Nikon D500 / D7500.

Plus, with the introduction of in-camera image stabilisation, Fujifilm has joined Pentax, Olympus, Panasonic, and Sony by giving customers improved shooting possibilities for stills photography, allowing sharp shots to be captured at slower shutter speeds.

Read Our Fujifilm X-H1 Full Review 

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Fujifilm X-H1 ISO test images



Budget APS-C Camera:  Nikon D3400

Nikon D3400 DSLR (3)

  • Sensor: 24.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor (no OLPF)
  • ISO Range: ISO100 to ISO25600
  • Lens-based optical image stabilisation

Noise performance is very good up to ISO3200 and at ISO6400 noise becomes more noticeable, but still provides usable results. The noise in images is quite "grainy" or "film-like" which gives images with noise a fairly pleasant look. ISO12800 shows quite high levels of noise, but if you wanted to use these images you could simply resize the JPEGs or process the raw files yourself. ISO25600 shows the highest level of noise, and this is best avoided.

There's a further high ISO mode, under the Effects setting on the mode dial, called "Night Vision" mode and the ISO setting will go up to Hi.2. The Nikon D3400 gives better noise performance at ISO6400 than the Canon EOS 1300D and is also slightly better than the K-S2, and A68. There's also a slight improvement over the D3300.

For those looking for DSLR image quality then noise performance is very good and better than much of the competition at this price point.

Read Our Nikon D3400 Full Review 

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Nikon D3400 ISO test images


To find more APS-C Cameras, have a look at our 'Top 13 Best APS-C Digital SLRs' list.


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banehawi Plus
16 2.4k 4217 Canada
10 Feb 2020 6:52PM
Ive read many times in numerous articles, sites, that Fujifilms way of measuring ISO is uniquely different to everyone else, - such that, for example, a Fuji ISO 200 is the same as another APS-C at ISO 320, so noise will always appear lower, but its not apples to apples? Any comments?

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