Google’s Night Sight Feature for Pixel Smartphones is Pretty Impressive

Google’s Night Sight feature, which radically improves low-light pictures via artificial intelligence for its Pixel line of smartphones, looks impressive.

XDA Developers

Much like the Pixel 2 series that preceded it, the Pixel 3 line already produce some of the best images when it comes to mobile photography. However, at the official unveiling event, Google confirmed that another feature called Night Sight mode would eventually roll out to the new devices in the hope of taking things a step further. The new mode is designed to illuminate images at night and allow users to take brighter shots indoors in the dark.

Night Sight is slated to be rolled out sometime this fall, but the latest version of Google’s camera app rolled out with a hidden version of the feature and was leaked earlier this week by members of the software development community XDA Developers. The team at XDA was able to access the camera mode by tweaking one line of code, and their findings revealed that it’s a pretty impressive feature.

The Pixel 3 was advertised to have zero shutter lag, meaning the moment a user presses the shutter button will be the same moment a photo is captured — Night Sight makes use of much slower shutter speeds and HDR+ burst mode to create an enhanced, long-exposure shot.

After pressing the shutter button, users will have to hold the Pixel 3 still as it combines up to 15 frames to produce an image akin to a 5-second exposure. But don’t worry about potential motion blur — since Night Sight doesn’t rely entirely on long exposure users won’t have to hold the phone perfectly still.

Finally, the resulting image is touched up using machine learning algorithms and auto white balance, accentuating the dominant light sources in the picture. This could result in a slight smoothing-like effect for selfies since Night Sight essentially creates a single shot using a collage of other images and then slaps a filter on it.

The new mode is accessed within the Google Camera app, in the “More” section where you’ll find Slow Motion, Photo Sphere, Playground, and Settings. If the lighting conditions are dark enough, the camera app will recommend you try out the Night mode. And yes, it works with selfies too.

The Verge has a number of impressive examples of Night Sight over at their website.