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Four mirrorless cameras with exceptional low light performance

If you find yourself shooting in low-light conditions often and worry about noise in your images, check out these cameras that laugh in the face of high ISOs.

Sensor and image processing technology in cameras has improved tenfold over the last few years. For many cameras, shooting up to and past ISO 6400 has been challenging. However, many cameras on the market now perform miracles when shooting at high ISOs. This leap in performance has solved many problems for sports, wildlife, and event photographers who often have to crank the ISO dial to capture the images they need.

In this roundup, we’ll look at a few cameras that produce immaculate images at ISOs above 6400. In fact, the cameras listed here can create clean photos up to ISO 12,800 and beyond. So, if you need a camera that handles high ISOs like a champ, check out the suggestions below.

Canon EOS R5 — A low-light magician

high ISOs

For a camera with such a large full-frame sensor (45 megapixels), you might think that the low light performance of the Canon EOS R5 would be hampered. However, you’d be wrong. Shooting at high ISOs with the R5 will bring nothing but joy. I have used the Canon EOS R5 on many occasions and have pushed this camera to the extreme in challenging conditions, and it rises to the task like a champ. Shooting up to ISO 12,800 is no problem for this powerhouse mirrorless camera.

The Canon R5 is packed full of tech, which makes it an excellent choice for photographers who shoot multiple genres of photography. There are dual card slots (one CFexpress and one UHS-II), a fully articulating screen, a class-leading IBIS system, a gorgeous EVF, outstanding ergonomics and an easy-to-navigate menu system. Battery life is terrific, and the Canon EOS R5 has a ton of weather sealing. The EOS R5 laughs in the face of high ISOs. Check out high ISO image samples in our full review.

Panasonic S5 — Incredible high ISO performance

high ISOs

The 24-megapixel Panasonic Lumix S5 is a camera that receives less attention than many other full-frame cameras on the market, and that’s a real shame because this small mirrorless camera packs a huge punch, especially when it comes to shooting at high ISOs. This camera was my main driver for event photography, and I was amazed at how clean images were at high ISOs. I could shoot up to 12,800 and not worry about noise in my pictures.

High ISO shooting is just one trick the Panasonic Lumix has up its sleeve. The IBIS in this camera is exceptional. The ergonomics and the camera’s low weight make it a delight to hold and use. You’ll find dual card slots, a fully articulating screen, and weather sealing. The battery life is fantastic. In addition, the Lumix S5 is the only full-frame mirrorless camera to feature live composite modes. Check out high ISO image samples in our full review.

Pentax K-3 III — One of the best DSLRs for high ISOs

high ISOs

The Pentax K-3 III may stand out in left field by itself due to being a DSLR, but this camera is still one that low-light photographers need on their radars. The Pentax K-3 III is a low-light monster that performs magic at high ISOs. The 25.7-megapixel sensor and the processor it’s married to soak up light and crush noise with ease. Images look clean up to ISO 12,800, and images up to 25,600 are still a cut above images from other cameras.

On top of this, the Pentax K-3 III has an IBIS system that delivers up to 5.5 stops of stabilization. There’s a quick autofocus system, insane amounts of weather sealing, a responsive touch screen, incredible ergonomics, a self-leveling sensor, a digital moire filter, dual card slots and a gorgeous 100% coverage Pentaprism viewfinder. If you shoot at high ISOs often, check out the Pentax K-3 III. You can see high ISO images in our full review.

OM System OM-1 — Small camera, big low light performance

Micro Four Thirds cameras have come on in leaps and bounds in 2022. Thanks to the new stacked sensor found in the OM SYSTEM OM-1, shooting at high ISOs is now easier than ever. The OM SYSTEM is now my daily driver. I always use it in challenging conditions and have been impressed with its low-light performance. I often shoot up to ISO 8000 and have no problems at all with noise.

The 20-megapixel stacked M4/3 sensor offers improved dynamic range and higher ISO performance over previous models. The autofocus system is seriously impressive thanks to its speed and incorporated AI. The OM-1 is built like a tank. It has IP53 weather sealing. There are dual card slots, a fully articulating screen, and a beautiful 5.76 million dot EVF. Because of these features, the OM-1 might just be the best wildlife and adventure camera on the market. See high ISO image samples in our full review.

Sony a1 — Sony’s best performing camera for high ISOs

Sony hit it out of the park with the a1. This full-frame mirrorless camera is a technological powerhouse and is easily the best-performing camera in the Sony lineup when it comes to high ISOs. The reason for the improved low light performance is the stacked 50-megapixel sensor.

Whether you’re an event photographer, a birder, a wildlife photographer or a sports photographer, you’ll be able to create excellent images up to ISO 8000 without worry. Even ISO 12,800 images are clean with just a hint of color noise. Of course, you’ll find all the usual mod cons like IBIS, a stunning 9.44 million dot EVF, dual card slots and pleasant ergonomics. Battery life is excellent too. So if you often find yourself in challenging lighting conditions, pick up the a1, and you’ll have nothing to worry about when it comes to using high ISOs. Read more about the Sony a1 in our overview.

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Rafael Jones

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