Joel Dare

Point and Shoot Camera Comparison for Low Light Shooting

I have an interest in taking photos inside in very low light situations. I was looking for a small camera that would cost me less than $200. I took a look at a set of specs for some of the point and shoot camera’s that are available today and I ranked those based on what I understand to make a difference in low light conditions.

What makes a difference in low light situations? First, max aperture. The lower the number, the wider the opening, and the more light the lens allows in. Second, the sensor size. The larger the sensor, the better. Almost every camera in this class has a 1/2.3” sensor. Third, lower (yes lower) resolution is better. This is a complex subject but basically the sensor captures more light per pixel.

I also added a couple additional specs that don’t affect low light shooting but that were important to me. Those specs are the LCD size and the battery type.

These camera’s are ranked based on my understanding for which would work better in low light. The AZ401 takes AA batteries instead of a proprietary Li-ion pack. I have a feeling that point and shoots are going to become less and less available. The use of AA batteries might be a significant advantage in the long run as the camera’s and their batteries become less available.

Point and Shoots

Kodak Pixpro AZ528
Price: $192 Walmart
LCD Size: 3” (460K Pixels)
Sensor Size: 1/2.3”
Megapixels: 16.35
Max Aperture: f2.8
Battery: LB-060 Li-ion Battery

Kodak Pixpro AZ401
Price: $149 Walmart
LCD Size: 3” (460K Pixels)
Sensor Size: 1/2.3”
Megapixels: 16.15
Max Aperture: f3
Battery: AA (x2)

Canon PowerShot ELPH 180
Price: $159 Best Buy
LCD Size: 2.7” (230K Pixels)
Sensor Size: 1/2.3” (~ 6.16 x 4.62 mm)
Megapixels: 20.00
Max Aperture: f3.2
Battery: NB-11L

Kodak Pixpro FZ43
Price: $62 Walmart
LCD: 2.7” (230K Pixels)
Sensor Size:1/2.3”
Megapixels: 16.15
Max Aperture: f3
Battery: AA (x2)

Kodak Pixpro AZ252
Price: $134 Walmart

Canon PowerShot SX620
Price: $319 Best Buy
Sensor Size: 1/2.3”
Megapixels: 20.2
Max Aperture: f3.2

Nikon CoolPix B600
Price: $329 Best Buy
LCD Size: 3” (921K Pixels)
Sensor Size: 1/2.5”
Megapixels: 16
Max Aperture: f3.3

Other Notes

A larger sensor is better for low light. APS-C is a relatively large sensor. 1/2.3” is a very small sensor.

Lower megapixel count is better for low light.

A larger max aperture is better for low light. Smaller f-stop numbers are better, larger openings. Smaller f-stop numbers also reduce depth of field.

After looking at all these options, I’m kinda leaning towards just using my old Canon Rebel T6 and buying a 50mm f1.8 lens for low-light. The T6 has an APS-C sensor which is significantly bigger than the 1/2.3” in these point and shoot cameras. The wide aperture of the f1.8 would be a big deal in low light too. The down side is that the camera itself is much larger.

Published by Joel Dare on December 23, 2021.