At Google’s hardware event in October this year, they shared a new Night Sight camera feature coming to Pixel smartphones. A photo comparison showed how much better the Pixel 3 performs over the iPhone XS in low-light conditions. It looked unreal. You might have thought the test photo was carefully chosen to favour the Pixel 3.
I had the opportunity to test Night Sight. The magic is real. It is unbelievable, but it is real.
So many smartphones have talked about low-light photography. Larger sensors and larger pixel sizes are some ways to achieve better low-light performance. Google doesn’t just address the issue with hardware, but also with software and AI.
Night Sight takes photos without using flash. AI and machine learning is used to figure out how to brighten up the image, including to fill in the right colours based on the content of the images. We want to avoid using flash because it tends to make for very unnatural-looking photos, with uneven exposure and strange shadows.
The results that Night Sight achieves is simply spectacular. Look at the sample above. The photo on the left is taken in the Pixel 3 XL’s default camera mode, while the one on the right is with Night Sight mode. The gravel on the ground, which you can’t make out in the first photo, is quite apparent in the second.
Take note that in all the sample pairs of photos, the first is the default camera mode, and the second if with Night Sight mode.
The following shows below are indoors.
Night Sight even works with the front-facing camera.
Night Sight is truly awesome. It’s magic.
The Night Sight magic is not limited to the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. It will come to all Pixel smartphones, i.e. all of the first and second generation ones included.
By the time you read this, Night Sight should have launched. If you have a Pixel smartphone, any one of them, check your Google Play Store for updates!