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What is night photography mode and how does it work?

Those who follow the news of the mobile industry, probably heard about the night mode shooting. Each manufacturer calls it differently - Night Sight on Google Pixel smartphones, Bright Night on Samsung , Night Mode on Huawei , etc. Despite the different names, the essence of this mode is the same: to increase the detail and quality of photography in the dark.

We will talk today about how it works and what features it has.


Why is poor lighting a big problem for photographers?

In order to get a photo, the camera needs light - just like a person, she cannot see anything in total darkness. Therefore, the lack of light is considered one of the most difficult conditions for the photographer. Technology has come a long way of development so that today we can enjoy the possibilities of mobile shooting. However, some restrictions still remain.

Important Terms

  • ISO - sensitivity of the matrix or film to light. The higher the ISO value, the higher the sensitivity and, that is, the sensor picks up more luminous flux over a given period of time. Increasing the ISO allows you to capture a detailed image in dim light, but it increases the graininess.
  • The shutter speed (or shutter speed, S) is the time during which the shutter is open and the matrix is ​​exposed to light. Lower shutter speeds increase clarity. Moving subjects when shooting at long exposures are blurry.

In the photo, the physical size of the matrix is ​​of great importance. A large sensor can work with a high ISO value and produce a result with a minimal amount of grain. With a high ISO, there is no need to set a long shutter speed - the frame will be sharp enough anyway.

Most photomatrix for mobile phones are 1 / 1.7 or 1 / 2.3 inches. They are tiny, and this is the main reason why the quality of mobile shooting can not be compared with shooting at a full-fledged camera. Probably, many people now thought: if it's all about that, then why not put a larger matrix on the phone?

It all comes back to size. A smartphone is a small gadget, there is little space inside its case. If one sensor is increased in size, then there will be no space for others. That is why manufacturers continue to use tiny sensors, and improved shooting is achieved through software.

Unsuccessful frame can be corrected by post-processing, i.e. change the exposure, adjust the white balance, lighten dark areas, etc. All these changes somehow affect the final image. But since the lack of light, as mentioned above, refers to difficult conditions, then the settings for it require special ones. Here night mode comes into play.

How does night mode work?

Those who do not understand the intricacies of photographing, it will be difficult to understand how the night mode improves the picture. Therefore, we will try to do in simple words.

In a general sense, this technology works similarly to the HDR mode.

Important Terms

  • HDR - high dynamic range. Used to balance the light levels in the photo. High dynamic range is achieved by creating several images with different exposure settings (as a rule, only the shutter speed changes). Then the photos are combined into one, the shadows are lightened, the brightness of the bright areas decreases, and more details appear on the final photo.
  • Bracketing is a technique in which the camera takes a series of shots of the same scene with different settings, and then combines them using software. Bracketing is required when data from one image is not enough.

When shooting at night in Android scene analysis performs artificial intelligence. It takes into account both the features of the light, and the movement of objects, and the trembling of the smartphone in the hands of the person taking it off. The device makes a series of images with different exposures and uses bracketing to bring as much detail as possible to the final image.

Of course, this is only a primitive description of how the night mode works. Also, the smartphone needs to determine the correct white balance and other settings, but all these tasks fall on the shoulders of the algorithms and are performed invisibly to the user.

The above is more relevant to Google’s night mode. Other manufacturers have their own methods, but the differences between them are insignificant.

How does night mode help the photographer?

If you simply increase the ISO, then the photo will turn out to put it mildly not very: too dark or too faded, with a lot of noise. When using a long exposure, the smartphone must be placed on a tripod or secured in some other way. Otherwise, you will have to hold it in your hands for 5, 10 or even 30 seconds, and due to hand-shake, the frame will turn into a mess. Manual bracketing also requires stability.

Night mode exists mainly to make it easier for a regular user to save him from having to carry a tripod with him, learn professional techniques (or be content with illegible photos taken in low light). In the night mode, the smartphone can be held in hand for a few seconds. Automation removes blurriness, it also performs the reduction of frames in one.

Disadvantages of night mode

Each technology in the photo has both pros and cons. Night mode is no exception.

Its main drawback is the inability to shoot moving objects. Since the technology involves the creation of several frames, everything that is in motion will be blurred or deleted. Conclusion: Night mode is only suitable for static scenes.

Photographing in the night mode takes longer than usual. Life is fleeting, if you do not have the opportunity to spend 3-5 seconds to shoot, refrain from Night Mode. Especially as in the automatic mode the camera of the smartphone is capable of much.

Which smartphones have night mode?

Now that you understand better what night mode is, you probably want to try it out. Unfortunately, not every smartphone is equipped with this feature. The best of the best are listed below. In addition to them, there are also budget devices like Honor 10 Lite and Realme 2 Pro.

Google Pixel 3/3 XL

Price: from 45 000 rubles

All Google Pixel smartphones have Night Sight mode. Most qualitatively it is implemented, of course, in the third generation. Pixel 3/3 XL have a single main camera. In combination with powerful software and optical stabilization (for night shooting, this is also important), it works wonders. And in many other aspects, these gadgets are superior to competitors.

Huawei P30 Pro

Price: 60 500 rubles

The recently released flagship Huawei meets all trends. The Chinese have focused on photography and have not lost: the capabilities of the P30 Pro (like its predecessor) are highly appreciated by experts.

Samsung Galaxy S10 / S10 Plus

Price: from 51 000 rubles

At first, Bright Night on the Galaxy S10 turned on automatically when the camera considered the room not bright enough. But after the April update, the night shooting function can be activated manually. These two devices are also among the favorites in 2019.

Oneplus 6T

Price: from 35 000 rubles

OnePlus calls its night mode Nightscape. The 6T is a flagship smartphone at a relatively affordable price. To say that he is somehow lagging behind the more expensive competitors, it is impossible: the device showed itself perfectly in photography and other tasks.

Source: www.androidauthority.com