People holding up phone cameras in low light

Best phones for low light photography

Whether you’re an avid photographer or just getting started, chances are you’ll end up taking photos in low light. And as you might already know, if you don’t have the right equipment, your photos could come out grainy, blurry, or completely black! 

With that in mind, here’s the best phones in 2022 for low light photography. 

Jump to the phones

What do you mean by low light?

Low lighting refers to the poor lighting that is often inside our homes, in bars and clubs, and when outside at nighttime. Low light is usually the darkest light level that you can still take a photo in and have it come out ok.

What do you need for low light photography?

  • High megapixel cameras to capture detail (particularly in darker lighting where edges can blur)
  • Special camera features such as Night mode
  • Wide aperture range to let in as much light as possible
  • Shutter speed control to best capture the sharpness in the image
  • A tripod to stabilise the camera as much as possible. Any movement will blur the photo. 

Other than that, you should consider more general features that could help, such as: 

  • Big screen for the best view of your photos or videos
  • Large storage capacities to keep all of your photography
  • Decent battery life so your phone doesn’t die while you’re taking long time-lapse videos or shooting for hours

 

Best phones for low light photography

 

Samsung Galaxy S21 ultra

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G

Price: From £1,144.99

Display

6.8 inches

Cameras

Rear

108MP

12MP

10MP

10MP


Front

40MP

Video

8K

Storage

128GB or 256GB

Battery

5,000mAh

Photography features:

Night mode allows for improved photography in dim lighting

Laser AF sensor enhances the performance and appearance of images in low lighting conditions

Optical image stabilisation is automatically activated on every photo and video, reducing motion blur 

Good zoom capabilities: 3x or 10x optical zoom, and 100x super resolution zoom

Slow-motion on videos to capture every minute movement

Blink detection so photos aren’t ruined by someone having their eyes closed

Panorama mode

Portrait mode for selfies

AI technology employed as image suggestions to turn an amateur into a professional 

Comes with an AI scene optimiser that recognises and enhances your photos depending on the subject. There’s 30 modes, including Dog, Cat, Food, Beaches, Sky, Mountain, Sunrise, Sunset, Snow, etc.

If you’re interested in other Samsung phones, there’s plenty of options to find the right one for you.

If a good battery is the most important feature for you, skip straight to our list of the Samsung phones with the best battery life.

 

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Price: £700

Display

6.9 inches

Cameras

Rear

108MP

12MP

12MP


Front

10MP

Video

8K

Storage

256GB or 512GB

Battery

4,500mAh

Photography features:

Ultra high resolution megapixels make photos clear, colourful, and detailed in every light

Laser AF sensor is ideal in low lighting

Night mode enlarges pixels, so photos taken in low light are well-lit and crisp

ISO ensures the image is blur-free and stabilised

Shutter speeds allow you to capture all the sharp, minute details in each photo

Manual focus means you can control and adjust the camera lenses to make sure your low-lighting photos are picture-perfect

Cinematic style lets you shoot up to 120 frames per second for a super smooth video

Multiple zoom options: 3x hybrid optic, 5x optical zoom, 30x or 50x super resolution zoom

Video effects like Blur, Big Circle, Colour Point, and Glitch allow you to enhance and edit your work

Advanced AI technology can take a single photo and turn it into multiple formats

Super Steady mode keeps videos clear and shake-free, even while you’re moving

 

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Price: From £1,07.99

Display

6.7 inches

Cameras

Rear

12MP

12MP

12MP


Front

12MP

12MP

Video

4K

Storage

128GB, 256GB, or 512GB

Battery

3,678mAh

Photography features:

Night mode aids photos being taken in dim lighting without needing to use the flash

Advanced red eye correction on photos - especially useful at nighttime when camera flashes can affect people’s faces

12x digital zoom, 2.5x optical zoom in, 2 optical zoom out, 5x optical zoom

Auto image stabilisation so photos are clear and blur-free

Burst mode takes multiple photos at once

Portrait mode and lighting with six effects: Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage, Stage Mono, High-Key Light Mono

Panorama mode

Geo-tagging on photos, so you can remember where you were when looking back

To learn more about the other 12s in the iPhone range, check out our guide.

Or, if you want an Apple iPhone but aren’t sure which model would suit you best, use our list to find out which iPhone is right for you.

 

Google Pixel 6

Price: £599

Display

6.4 inches

Cameras

Rear

50MP

12MP


Front

8MP

Video

4K

Storage

128GB or 256GB

Battery

4,614mAh

Photography features:

Built-in sensors allow you to capture more colour, detail, and 150% more light than the Pixel 5

Night Sight with Astrophotography and Night Side mode removes the need for a flash, making photos look rich and colourful

Dual exposure controls lets you adjust the brightness and shadows independently of each other

Portrait light lets you highlight different parts of the face or focal subject

HDR+ technology automatically adjusts lighting and colour to make photos appear more professional

Magic Eraser can remove strangers and objects from the background

Live HDR+ feature previews a copy of your image before you take it 

Portrait mode

AI recommendations for better shots

If you like the look of this Google model, check out what else the brand has to offer.

 

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro

Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro

Price: £266.99

Display

6.67 inches

Cameras

Rear

108MP

8MP

5MP

2MP


Front

16MP

Video

8K

Storage

64GB or 128GB

Battery

5,020mAh

Photography features:

Amazing light sensitivity due to the 9-in-1 binning technology and enlarged pixels

Night mode 2.0 delivers sharp and clear images in dim or dark lighting conditions

2x zoom on the Telemacro camera

ISO provides automatic noise buffering, dynamic colouring, and more vivid details for the best photos

AI technology aids with long exposure shots and clear portraits

Manually adjust camera settings to get the best picture

ShootSteady feature keeps videos blur-free

Dual video option allows you to film two shots simultaneously

 

Huawei P40 Pro

Price: £699.99

Display

6.58 inches

Cameras

Rear

50MP

40MP

12MP

Sensor


Front

32MP

Video

4K

Storage

256GB

Battery

4,200mAh

Photography features:

Night mode for photos in dim lighting

RYYB colour filter array brings in 40% more light, range, and low noise

Ultra Vision sensor picks up everything clearly, even in low lighting

 AI Portrait Studio generates 45% better colour precision, lighting, and clarity

Automatic image stabilisation

5x optical zoom, 10x hybrid zom, and 50x max zoom let you capture the smallest details 

Cinematic features on video, like slow-motion and time-lapse

Distortion correction

Autofocus

AI technology can remove people or objects in the background, as well as suggest better shots or angles

Check out our list of the best Huawei models to date.

 

OnePlus 9 Pro

Price: From £829

Display

6.7 inches

Cameras

Rear

48MP

50MP

8MP

2MP


Front

16MP

Video

8K

Storage

128GB or 256GB

Battery

4,500mAh

Photography features:

Night mode enhances any images taken in dim or dark lighting conditions. Helps ensure every colour and detail pops without looking hazy or grainy

Video Nightscape means you can record in 8K in the dark and still see what’s going on

Vibrant Colour Effect Pro provides accurate colour reproduction 

Super Stable feature stops photos and videos from blurring in all light conditions 

Autofocus

Smart Scene Recognition

Portrait mode ensures the main subject of the piece is in focus while the background is blurred

Timelapse and hyperlapse capabilities 

Cat/Dog focus

Panorama mode

 

Keep reading

Check out our masterlist of the best camera phones in 2022. Or, if you’re on a budget, you might want to browse our recommendations of the best camera phones under £400.

Learn how to take great photos and edit them.

You may also be interested in reading about vlogging.

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