I’ve been asked a lot of times whether GoPro cameras work well in low-light situations. The short answer to this question is: It Depends.

If you use your GoPro camera with all the recommended night mode settings, you’d be surprised by the amazing results you could get! GoPro cameras, especially the latest ones including the Hero 8/9/10 can produce decent night footage or low-light photos with a couple of tricks that I’m about to share with you in this article.

However, you must keep in mind that capturing the night sky is not an easy task with these cameras! There are a lot of settings, like ISO settings, shutter speeds, movement blurs, etc. that you need to take into consideration.

So in this post, I’ll go through some of the best GoPro night mode settings to achieve better low-light photos as well as videos. Are you ready?

Use Night Mode in Low Light


All the newest GoPro models – GoPro Hero 5 or newer – now have night modes. So, if you own one of these models, you’ll have a great experience shooting night scenes with your action camera. But, if you own the latest GoPro Hero 10 Black, you’ll notice that the night mode shots have improved immensely.

Therefore, if you want to shoot quality nighttime footage, then I recommend going with the Hero 10 Black.

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Hero 10 is capable of shooting both Night Photo and Night Lapse.

  • The Night Photo mode automatically adjusts the shutter speed of the camera. It’s ideal for dark and low-light scenes. However, please note that you’ll need to mount your camera on a tripod or other mounting setting for best results.
  • The Night Lapse mode is best for shooting time-lapse videos in low-light scenarios. In this mode, the shutter speed automatically adjusts to give you the best results. Like the former, you need to mount the camera to something when using this setting.

 

Best GoPro Night Mode Settings for Low Light


Like I mentioned in the introduction, if you want to get the best results with your GoPro in low light, you have to use all the right settings.

 

Best Night Mode Video Settings

Here are some of the rules you must keep in mind to get the best possible night-time GoPro footage:

1. Keep the ISO and Frame Rate as low as possible.

I prefer setting the ISO min at 100 and ISO max at 800, because anything higher than that may cause too much noise in the resulting footage. A low frame rate (preferable 24fps) also results in clearer low-light footage.

2. Choose SuperView instead of Wide.

GoPro SuperView reads the full sensor, while GoPro Wide lens does a crop. When you crop the footage, it usually means bigger pixels. And, bigger pixels make noise all the more visible. So, GoPro SuperView essentially makes the noise less obvious by reading the full sensor.

3. Use GoPro Color.

When the color profile is set to Flat, the GoPro tries to brighten the shadows when you shoot in low light. This makes noise much more visible and causes a blurry image. On the contrary, if the GoPro Color profile is used at night, all the noise in dark shadows gets hidden because the camera does not try to unnecessarily brighten the shadows. Therefore, you must use GoPro Color for the best low-light footage.

4. Shutter Speed should be twice the Frame Rate.

For quality low-light footage, the shutter speed should be twice the frame rate. For example, if you’re shooting the video at 24fps, you should set the shutter speed at 1/48. Otherwise, if the shutter speed is set to auto or below twice the frame rate, you’ll notice that the image will get a bit too bright. This, in turn, will introduce too much motion blur and make your video look somewhat weird!

Recommended GoPro Night Mode Video Settings:

  • Resolution/FPS: 4K/24fps
  • Lens: SuperView
  • HyperSmooth: On
  • Bit Rate: High
  • Shutter Speed: 1/48s
  • White Balance: Auto
  • ISO Min: 100
  • ISO Max: 800
  • Sharpness: Medium
  • Color: GoPro

 

Best Night Mode Photo Settings

The GoPro Night Photo Mode is, literally, a gateway to long exposure and low-light astro-photography. In the latest models, it allows you to select shutter speed longer than 1/125th of a second, which is pretty awesome!

Here are some of the best GoPro night mode photo settings that I recommend you to use in different low light scenarios:

Scenario #1: Dark Sky Without Moon.

When you’re shooting under a dark sky with no moon, it’s advisable that you expose the shot for 30 seconds at ISO 1600.

Night Sky without Moon

Recommended Settings:

  • Mode: Night Photo
  • Shutter: 30s
  • ISO Min + Max: 1600
  • Output: RAW

 

Scenario #2: Dark Sky With a Dull, Waning Moon.

When you’re shooting the dark sky with a dull & waning moon, you should expose the shot for 30 seconds at ISO 1600 if you are shooting against the moon.

GoPro Night Photo

Recommended Settings:

  • Mode: Night Photo
  • Shutter: 30s
  • ISO Min + Max: 1600
  • Output: RAW

In case you are shooting with the moon behind you, expose the shot at ISO 800 for 30 seconds. You can also use ISO 1600 for 15 seconds if you want to shoot for a lesser duration.

 

Scenario #3: Dark Sky With a Bright Moon.

During a full moon night or a night with a bright moon, photography gets a bit tricky! You need to pay close attention to the high-contrast areas.

If there are a lot of shadows, expose the shot at ISO 1600 at 20 seconds.

Dark Sky with Bright Moon

Recommended Settings:

  • Mode: Night Photo
  • Shutter: 20s
  • ISO Min + Max: 1600
  • Output: RAW

In case you need faster shutter speed, use ISO 3200 for 10 seconds.

Recommended Settings:

  • Mode: Night Photo
  • Shutter: 20s
  • ISO Min + Max: 3200
  • Output: RAW

On the other hand, if the lighting is consistently bright throughout the scene you’re capturing, you should expose to ISO 800 for 15 seconds. For even better image quality in this scenario, expose to ISO 400 for 30 seconds.

 

Scenario #4: Skyline Shots.

For scenes like cityscapes at night, you don’t need to keep the ISO too high if you’re okay with a bit of motion blur in the foreground. In such cases, using a low ISO allows you to capture the maximum image quality!

Night cityscape

 

However, If you don’t want any motion blur, then you should go for the regular Photo Mode with a faster than usual shutter speed and an ISO set up to 3200.

 

Pro Tip: There are a lot of benefits of Shooting RAW images with your camera rather than in the JPEG format. So, always turn RAW ‘on’ in Protune when clicking pictures during nighttime. The resulting image file will contain more data as compared to what you’d get with the regular JPEG image. It’s a great idea to use RAW especially if you plan to post-process your photos.

GoPro_News_NightPhoto_RAW

 

Best Night Lapse Settings

The latest GoPro models, including the Hero 9 Black & Hero 10 Black have vastly improved Night Lapse Video and Photo modes.

Use the following settings for these modes to achieve the best possible results:

Scenario #1: Night Lapse Photo – Sunset/Sunrise

For best night lapses of sunrise/sunset, it’s recommended that you use a tripod. You should set Shutter Speed and White Balance to AUTO, and set the capture interval to 5s or 10s, depending on how fast the scene is unfolding. Also, set output to GoPro RAW (GPR) when you are planning to edit in post, and stick with ISO 100 to get the highest image quality.

Other than that, modify the settings according to the prevailing situation, as mentioned below:

  • Pick a shorter interval if shooting fast-moving objects like fog/clouds
  • Pick a longer interval (not shutter speed because you already set that to Auto) if there are fairly clear skies when shooting sun/light, set ISO to 100.

GoPro_News_HERO10_Sunset

Recommended Settings:

  • Mode: Night Lapse Photo
  • Shutter: Auto
  • Interval: 4 seconds
  • White Balance: Auto
  • ISO Min + Max: 100
  • Color: Natural
  • Sharpness: Low
  • Output: RAW/Video (4K 4:3)

 

Scenario #2: Night Lapse Photo – Sunset/Twilight

For night lapse of sunset/twilight, set the Shutter Speed and White Balance to AUTO. For longer exposures, set the capture interval to 10 seconds or more. Lastly, Set an ISO range of 100 to 800. This helps to capture darker scenes, like twilight.

GoPro_News_HERO10_Night-Lapse

Recommended Settings:

  • Mode: Night Lapse Photo
  • Shutter: Auto
  • Interval: 10 seconds
  • White Balance: Auto
  • ISO Min + Max: 100 and 800
  • Color: Natural
  • Sharpness: Low
  • Output: RAW (Video: 4K 4:3)

 

Scenario #3: Night Lapse Photo – Night Sky

For appealing and clear night lapses of the night sky, it’s recommended that you pick a shutter speed (10, 15, 20 or 30 seconds) depending on the light availability. Please note that darker skies require slower shutter speeds. The ISO should be set to either 800 or 1600, depending on how dark the conditions are. Lastly, the output should be set to RAW photo. This allows you to stack individual images in post-production.

GoPro_News_Lightning

Recommended Settings:

  • Mode: Night Lapse Photo
  • Shutter: 15 seconds
  • Interval: Auto
  • White Balance: 4000K
  • ISO Min + Max: 800
  • Color: Flat
  • Sharpness: Low
  • Output: RAW

 

For more GoPro Settings Tips watch this tutorial:

Final Words


If you use the settings mentioned above at the right time, you’re sure to get some amazing low-light shots with your GoPro. However, don’t expect your low-light GoPro photos and videos to be as good as from a DSLR or mirrorless camera. This is because the small sensor in GoPro cameras is still a limiting factor. Therefore, even if the results provided by GoPro in night mode are pretty usable, they aren’t comparable to other much-advanced cameras.

Lastly, if you want to shoot a vlog at night with your GoPro, I would definitely recommend bringing an LED light source with you.

 

Thanks for reading! ?

I hope this guide helped you learn some of the best GoPro night mode settings to achieve wonderful low-light photos as well as videos. 🙂

 

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