Going with the GoPro Hero used to be the obvious decision, but to make it more interesting, others have stepped up in the world of action cameras to make a choice much harder than it used to be.
Choosing an action camera isn't about the video quality alone anymore. You have to look at other factors like image stabilization, durability, low light performance, and many more.
Luckily for you, we have tried out a multitude of action cameras to check their performance in both water and motion to make this list of the best low light action camera.
Let's get started!
TL;DR – Our Top 3 Low Light Action Cameras
As a rule of thumb, we have decided action cams under $50 don't usually have good low light performance or the stability you seek in them. So, we've left them out of this list.
1. GoPro HERO9 Black
A near-perfect upgrade to the much sought after GoPro Hero 7 and 8, the GoPro Hero 9 is way ahead of its time with the 5k video that captures videos in scintillating details that you didn't even know were there.
Whether you're zoomed in or going for time-lapses, the quality will be top-notch from this action camera, which is considered to be one of the best cams of its time. You can capture stills with its 14.7 MP sensor while shooting in 5k mode.
While recording videos, extracting high-quality images is something others are still struggling with but not brands like the GoPro. But perhaps the most exciting upgrade on this version is the image stabilization.
Your video will come out great in full HD with the hyper smooth video tech even while recording on jittery paths. On top of that, with the 20 MP camera, this will be excellent for photography as well.
You can be as deep underwater as low as 33 feet and capture stunning slow-motion clips. Go out in the night to capture a better low light photo with the additional accessories, all of which can be added to their reasonably priced bundle.
While the software and build have substantially improved, the battery life, although better than before, still leaves much to be desired. So, carry a couple of extra batteries with you when going for adventures.
GoPro HERO9 Black
2. SJCAM SJ10 Pro
Steadily pursuing the GoPro is this stunner from SJCAM camera. While brands like Sony are still trying to figure out what they want out of their action cameras, the SJCAM camera takes the safe route to offer itself as an affordable GoPro alternative.
Their very own super-smooth technology offers steadiness that even amateur eyes can distinguish. The footages are clear and shake-free owing to the high-tech image stabilization. And as this is among the action cameras of the season, its waterproof shell behaves as if it's meant to be used underwater only.
You can record videos in 4K at 60 FPS; the high frame rates also mean this is the camera for slo-mo videos. With a less renowned brand, the durability and overall ergonomics tend to be less sophisticated but not with SJCAM.
The smooth-running software and the 2.33 IPS touch display make for a big and smooth screen with responsive touch. If you're an adventurer looking for an action camera for diverse situations, this SJCAM pro is worth looking into.
It places itself right between the GoPro camera and the DJI Osmo action camera considered the current giants of action cameras. Another perk of this camera is its 1300 MAH battery. With its long battery life, this is the device to take out with you on your journeys.
SJCAM SJ10 Pro
3. DJI Osmo Action
The other big name currently challenging the reign of GoPro Hero, the DJI Osmo action is now big enough to be known as the competitor and a brand that others compete with. What makes their action cameras give GoPro or Sony a run for their money is its compact and rugged body.
Their latest action camera creates an image product that will amaze you while the camera itself can fit in any small pocket. Apart from upgrading the usuals, the DJI Osmo action stands out for the dynamic details you can see in the footage, so it stands so high on this low light action camera list.
We like it because it almost has an auto low light feature that captures video with much more clarity and crisp contrast to bring the electronic image to life.
An interesting feature they have added to the menu is the quick switch button. The quick switch button gives quick access to all the options and settings, making it easier for you to take shots in a pinch.
Much like the GoPro, this, too, can ensure you don't miss your shot. The snapshot feature allows you to start recording within seconds of pressing the button.
Although not as perfect as the GoPro Hero, it still features powerful software with a CMOS sensor to take quality pictures with strong post-processing abilities.
Other features of the DJI Osmo Action include electronic image stabilization, powerful hydrophobic coating, and a high-tech lens. But another breathtaking feature is the Mimo app, which you can connect to via Wi-Fi and instantly edit or share your photo.
DJI Osmo Action
4. Campark V30
Sporty people fancied action cameras for their ability to capture stable videos and aesthetic photos. They also came for a hefty price tag that meant many couldn't get their hands on it but not anymore because Campark has the best low-light action camera for the budget.
Disregarding the light conditions and the jitters, you can help yourself to some quality photography with this camera. The camera shake is almost non-existent with the powerful video stabilization of the device.
You don't have to take our word for it, you can go read the comments anywhere; you will see everyone is basking in the Campark's amazing features.
Speaking of the lighting conditions, this is a great camera for your underwater adventures as well. The low light capabilities of this action camera are way ahead of your usual $100 devices.
Further, the camera performs exceptionally well underwater as well. With its rugged body, the build is made to last way deep in the waters while ensuring the video stabilization is working fine.
Moreover, the RoadCam app can be used with this, which is more than just an editing or sharing app. With Wi-Fi connections, you will be able to use the action camera from far away.
5. AKASO V50X
The problem with cheaper action cameras is that they don't have the build quality to back them. However, Akaso has managed to put up more than a decent camera to come into the competitive list of action cameras riding on the back of its accessories and features.
When someone buys an action camera for under $100, they should set their priorities straight. You need to look at the image quality, which the Akaso action camera handles mighty well.
One thing all can agree on is that the accessories are part of the reason for buying this. Two spare batteries, underwater housing, remote shutter, and mounts give you more than enough reasons to try out their action camera. But you're only rewarded for it by their active customer support.
Whether it's through their comments or calls, they always reach out to answer your concerns. But more importantly, it's the quality of this action camera that rewards you for the faith. A two-inch touch screen with a good response will help you to switch between the options and settings easily.
Shoot 4K videos in good frame rate and with superb image stabilization. But for best results, good lighting conditions are needed. Experiencing more to life doesn't always have to be expensive. That's the idea with this action camera.
6. AKASO V50 Pro SE Action Camera
An action camera can be used to record anything as mundane as a daily commute or as exciting as sea exploration. Capture all the glory in life with this unnerving 4K action camera, which is one of the best action cameras for the budget.
You will be able to shoot stunning underwater video that eliminates the red light itself during post-processing. No need to buy a separate red filter, but you will need a cover. You won't be able to use this without a case when in contact with water.
Facing the screen, you will notice an intuitive touch screen, which will enable you to shift shooting modes with ease. Whether you're facing the screen or not, your shots will be of high quality as this is an action cam. This also features image-stabilizing options and slo-mo options.
But what this action camera is best for is shooting high-quality 4K video regardless of the light conditions. Being a product on the cheaper end, we were surprised to see how stable and detailed the 4K video recordings were.
What we did notice, though, is after filming a certain amount, there's a blip as it moves to the next clip. However, if you're not capturing a long continuous commute, this is something you can ignore in a camera of this price.
AKASO V50 Pro SE
7. YI 4K+ Action Camera
Coming at the last but far from being it, YI 4K action camera is one of the others besides Osmo action that is narrowing the gap with GoPro for the title of the best action camera. This is an action camera with sleek looks and image quality to boast for.
The compact size and elegant design of the action camera put it ahead of DJI Osmo's action, but it's a lot pricier than it too. They have ensured a quality lens with a 12 MP CMOS sensor by playing right by the price.
Capturing the electronic image was never more fun as now for the multitude of features. Besides filming amazing slow motion and time lapses, this will let you film videos and take time-lapse or live photos simultaneously. So, photography and video recording don't have to be separate instances if you own this camera.
Another aspect of this action camera that sets it apart is the voice control technology. You can control the actions with your voice even if you don't have a clear accent.
But perhaps the most amazing technology on this is the auto low light sensor that uses the CMOS sensor to adjust to its surroundings to ensure high performance from this low light action camera.
In terms of features, there's no shortage of it. The build, too, is sturdy and rugged, but the price is higher than what most people would be inclined to pay for this. That is why it somewhat falls behind in the competition.
YI 4K+ Action Camera
Why Action Cameras Suffer in Low Light
There is a very reasonable explanation for this. You can buy the best action camera out there with great low light capabilities and battery life, but you will still not find the result to your likings.
Image Sensor Size Is Too Small
Call it the image sensor or the CMOS sensor, the size of the sensor is too small. The sensor is what digital cameras use to make an image. It is the same chip that handles low light issues.
But with any action camera, be it the GoPro or the DJI Osmo, one thing in common is the sensor's size. It's much smaller than what you see in a DSLR or any other digital cam. That's because action cams prioritize action use over low light features.
The Size of the Camera Doesn’t Leave Space for Much Else
Action cams are compact, so there isn't enough space to make them function in low light because that is not the intended purpose.
However, some cameras do make some amendments by increasing exposure to make the falling low light seem more alive. Another technique is used in the auto low light function, which uses slower frame rates to give more time to let the light fall on the image.
That's all on this. Since we included the GoPro Hero 9, we excluded other ones like the GoPro Hero 7, which could've easily made a list and are still great low light options to look into.
These were our picks for the best low light action camera. We hope you found the guide helpful, and if you want to, you can leave comments or opinions.
You may also like: