Google has set the benchmark extremely high on the mobile camera front and it has no plans to slow things down. After demonstrating brilliant photography skills with the Pixel 3 XL, the web search titan is finally adding a new element that will redefine camera experience on smartphones forever.
Google Pixel 2 XL, as we reviewed last year, demonstrated excellent low-light photography skills, which was then excelled by Pixel 3 XL this year. Now, Google has rolled out its critically-acclaimed Night Sight feature, which is like nothing you've ever seen in a phone. It takes low-light photography to a whole new level, setting new goals for rivals like Apple, Samsung, and Huawei.
We've had the chance to test out Google's best camera feature yet, the Night Sight, on its best flagship yet, the Pixel 3 XL, and the results are mesmerizing. Google's Night Sight feature puts Pixel 3 XL's cameras to the best use possible. But if you have one of the older Pixel phones, Night Sight feature can be used by updating the Camera app on Play Store.
Leveraging the 12.2MP sensor with a f/1.8 aperture on the back and two 8MP sensors (one with f/1.8 aperture and another ultra wide sensor with f/2.2 aperture), Google's new low-light camera feature delivers bright photos with punchy colours even in really dark rooms. All that without using the LED flash.
Let the photos do the talking from here: (Check the next image in the slideshow to see the difference)
Google's Night Sight feature basically merges multiple frames for brighter and details-rich photos. The company shoots up to 15 photos in burst with a shutter speed of 1/3s and then merges them together to remove the grains. The camera hardware setup is pretty standard, so the brilliant machine learning techniques come into play here in correcting the image to a level where it is hard to convince anyone that it is really shot in a dark area.
As you can see from the photo samples above shot in both Night Sight mode and regular mode, the details retained to an unimaginable level. The noise has been reduced to its maximum potential, and the colours are as natural as they would appear in a well-lit room.
What's more exciting is that the Night Sight feature works on front cameras as well. Taking selfies and group selfies (thanks to the ultra-wide lens) in a really dark area cannot get better. I'm personally not a fan of using LED flash on smartphones for clicking in low-lights as it would eliminate the natural element, but what Google does with the Night Sight is mind-blowing.
The front camera displayed noise even with Night Sight feature, but the result was better compared to the photo taken in regular mode. It's worth pointing out that the room was really dark where the photos were taken to give our readers an idea of how the feature actually works in real world.
At this point, it's worth noting that Google Pixel 3 XL's regular mode shoots excellent low-light images, like capturing starry nightscape photos. The Night Sight works best when there is minimal light and photos taken in regular mode produce grainy images. In fact, the Pixel 3 XL prompted us many times to switch to Night Sight when it found the image could be better taken with its special mode. Also, photos taken using Night Sight will take longer to capture, due to the multiple frames, but the results are well worth the wait.