📸 5 Best Low-Light Lenses You CAN´T MISS In 2024 (Guide)

Jan 2, 2024 | Buying Guides

Have you ever wondered what owning the best lens for low-light photography would be like?

If you love taking pictures with your camera, you probably have since lots of exciting activities occur when the light is dim.

Because not all optics are made equal, it can be challenging to find the proper lens that can tackle nighttime or indoor photographic sessions without having to notch ISO values to the sky.

image for low-light photography lenses guide

Even though many photographers do nighttime photography and use various cameras, lenses, tripods, and so forth, the internet still lags in providing profound and understandable buying guides.

With that in mind, I have decided to make a comprehensive guide on the best lenses you can currently find on the market for low-light photography.

Editor's Choice
Best Runner Up
Best Budget

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L Lens

Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 Lens

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 Lens

Exceptional low-light performance & artistic depth. The ultimate tool for capturing stunning wide-angle shots.

Versatile zoom with remarkable clarity. A go-to lens for both landscapes & portraits. Reliable and high-performing.

Uncompromising quality within reach. Ideal for various shooting situations. Sharp and affordable for photographers on a budget.

5.0
4.9
4.7
Editor's Choice

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L Lens

Exceptional low-light performance & artistic depth. The ultimate tool for capturing stunning wide-angle shots.

5.0
Best Runner Up

Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 Lens

Versatile zoom with remarkable clarity. A go-to lens for both landscapes & portraits. Reliable and high-performing.

4.9
Best Budget

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 Lens

Uncompromising quality within reach. Ideal for various shooting situations. Sharp and affordable for photographers on a budget.

4.7
Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 Lens

The Sony lens has a solid build and a top-notch quality, smooth bokeh and a high resolution images while also being weather sealed.

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Sony, 16-35mm f/2.8, has two extreme aspherical elements and high surface precision. It sets the minimum focus distance at 0,28m with a maximum magnification ratio of 0,19x. The lens sports the maximum aperture of an f/2.8 and has eleven aperture blades, with an angle of view of 107°–63°.

The package is exceptionally rich in itself, and in the box, you will get a hood, rear, and front cap along with the solid case. The first thing I noticed with this lens is how fast it locks the autofocus and the level of sharpness it provides across the frame.

Moreover, it also comes with zero chromatic aberrations. The aperture of an f/2.8 was more than sufficient to capture the mesmerizing shots during blue and golden hours, respectively. I was especially impressed at 16mm since seeing such a wide-angled lens capture that incredible amount of light.

Furthermore:

The distortion was nonexistent, and the overall color quality was superb. At 35mm, it gives a smooth depth of field, so it is possible to use the lens for portraits with a solid success rate.

When it comes to the design, it is another reason why it is on the best lens for low light list. Despite being relatively lightweight, the lens is weather-sealed and offers the robustness you would expect from a GM quality.

Pros

  • Powerful aperture
  • Great design
  • Versatility
  • Rich packaging

Cons

  • Relatively big

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 Lens

Flawless sharp images I snapped were of superb quality. It also delivers great shots indoors, even under dim night lighting.

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The Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 offers an angle of view of 84.1° to 34.3° and a minimum focus distance of 7.09’’ inches with a maximum magnification of 0,34x. It sports 19 elements in 15 groups and is designed with 11 diaphragm blades. The given lens is the best for low light if you consider yourself a person who loves to take comprehensive and telephoto pictures.

Since the lens lacks optical image stabilization, you must be careful when shooting at night.

However:

It doesn’t mean that it offers terrible performance. Quite the contrary, thanks to its effective aperture of f/2.8, it can take a lot of light into the sensor, and the fast autofocus that rarely misses does a great job of taking pictures at the right time. The lens offers outstanding sharpness in nearly all weather conditions.

I took it outdoors to shoot in the streets while the sun was waking, and the perfect sharp images I snapped were of superb quality. It also delivers excellent shots indoors, even under dim night lighting.

The only flaw of the lens is the bulkiness which may deter some users, especially those who fancy smaller cameras. However, the design is excellent, and the lens can withstand harsh handling, which is great for travel.

Pros

  • Overall sharpness
  • Overall sharpness
  • Fast focus

Cons

  • Size

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L Lens

You will also get optics that are capable of capturing high-end portraits. The USM focus system is arguably one of the finest on the market.

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The Canon 35mm f/1.4L is designed with 14 elements in 11 groups and has an angle of view of 63°, with the closest focusing distance of 0,92 feet. It sports Subwavelength Coating, which remarkably reduces lens ghosting and flare problems. It supports autofocus with full-time manual shooting and comes with a full and powerful f/1.4 aperture in the “L” body, ensuring the maximum quality you can spot on the market.

Right off the bat, you will see why it is the best lens for low-light photography in Canon’s lineup. The aperture of an f/1.4 takes in a glorious amount of light, and the sensor can’t take a bad picture.

You will also get optics that are capable of capturing high-end portraits. The USM focus system is arguably one of the finest on the market. I didn’t have one problem with missing shots.

It focuses very fast and is quiet and reliable in every situation. At an f/2, I made fantastic shots with outstanding sharpness, and I didn’t have to go to an f/1.4 to battle lousy lighting.

I did portrait shots inside the house with only one halogen light above the subject, and the pictures were well-exposed. The overall color distribution is excellent, and the fringing is entirely off the grid.

Pros

  • Powerful aperture
  • Excellent focus
  • Color distribution
  • Great design

Cons

  • Price

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G Lens

This is one of the best telephoto lenses from Nikon company that is versatile and has great build quality, powerful zoom and fast autofocus.

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  • Lens Type: Telephoto
  • Mounting Type: Nikon F
  • Focal Length Range: 70-200mm
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 1.4 meters
  • Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Dimensions: 8.23 x 3.43 x 3.43 inches

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G comes with a minimum focus distance of 3,6 feet and an angle of view of 34° 20′ to 12° 20′. The maximum magnification is 0,21x, and the lens has nine diaphragm blades. A remarkable thing about the given lens is that it has a focus distance indicator (1.1. am to infinity), and it is compatible with Z-Nikkor lenses, over 360 F-mount Nikkor lenses, and a whole bunch of Nikon system accessories.

I tested the lens with Nikon D750 and D7200, and it produced excellent results with both cameras, respectively. The lens can make sharp and precise shots, even under demanding lighting conditions.

The aperture of an f/2.8, combined with optical image stabilization, is sufficient to prevent shaking and does a solid job performing at night times. I tried it for astrophotography, which is known to be tedious due to lighting.

However:

The low light lens Nikon performed very well, even at 200mm, and even the Moon looked incredibly sharp. I shot at an f/2.5, and with a tripod, I didn’t face any problems with using too much ISO, and the exposure was on point, which is why it got the spot in the low-light lenses list.

The vibration reduction does a great job when you shoot from your hands, and the bokeh effect is solid (not perfect, but more than acceptable for the focal length). In the design compartment, the ergonomic features of the function buttons are fantastic, and the back button is proper when you want to use your thumb to select the focus.

Pros

  • Silent-Wave motor
  • Vibration reduction technology
  • Exceptionally versatile lens
  • Very easy to use

Cons

  • Flimsy and easy to break

Nikon 35mm f/1.4G Lens

An impeccable contrast and high quality images are something you can expect from this high-end lens from Nikon, including many other great features.

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  • Lens Type: Wide Angle
  • Mounting Type: Nikon F (FX)
  • Focal Length Range: 35mm
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 1.0 ft (0.3 meters)
  • Weight: 1.32 pounds
  • Dimensions: 3.54 x 3.27 x 3.27 inches

The last Nikon on the list falls into the ultra-fast, classic wide-angle lens with a minimum focus distance of 1,0 feet and a maximum angle of view of 44° to 63°. The Nikon 35mm f/1.4G lens sports ten elements in seven groups and a maximum magnification of 0,2x. Although it lacks optical image stabilization, its full and wide aperture allows enough light to hit the sensor to achieve outstanding results.

I noticed that the bokeh and color effects of the lens are one of the best you can currently get if you want to buy the best lens for low-light photography. The focus system is another selling point for the lens since I am yet to see a missed shot or a jamming issue.

The aperture of an f/1.4 is great for taking portraits, even for artistic forest photography (or night photography, also known to require an entire gap). The lens does a phenomenal job in cramped spaces where you lack maneuvering spaces.

The overall contrast is excellent, with the superb color distribution. I didn’t notice vignetting or fringing problems, and the only objection goes to a 67 mm filter (I was expecting a 77mm since it is a professional lens). The design is solid, and the lens is excellent for its maneuverability and size since it is easy to carry around.

Pros

  • Great aperture
  • Solid design
  • Excellent bokeh
  • Fast focus

Cons

  • 67mm filter 

Wrapping Up

As you can see, getting the best low-light lenses can be tricky, especially when we have so many choices and not so many helpful guides to navigate the market.

I hope my list will help you pick the best lens suited to your needs.

No matter what kind of photographic style you like or which gear you prefer, if you with any of the recommended optics, you are all set for excellent results in no time.

Now choose the lens best for your style and improve your photography skills. Check out this option if you’re still unsure which lens to choose.

On our website, you can also find various good tips on the best lenses for baby photography and the best lenses for star photography.

Disclaimer: "As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases."

Stacy WItten

Stacy WItten

Owner, Writer & Photographer

Stacy Witten, owner and creative force behind LensesPro, delivers expertly crafted content with precision and professional insight. Her extensive background in writing and photography guarantees quality and trust in every review and tutorial.

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