Like a few Android handsets on the market, Apple’s new iPhone models have a built-in Night Mode for shooting in low-light conditions.
If you’re not familiar, Night Mode uses computational photography and camera hardware to make pictures taken in ultra-dark lighting actually viewable. For example, a shot taken on a dark street at midnight may end up looking like it was taken in broad daylight.
Google’s Pixel devices have had a low-light Night Sight mode since last year. With Apple catching up this year, head-to-head comparisons between the two modes were inevitable.
Popular YouTuber iJustine, for example, recently pitted the Night Mode on the iPhone 11 Pro Max against Google’s Night Sight on the Pixel 3a XL.
You can watch the results of the test below.
Across the board, both the iPhone 11 Pro and the Pixel 3 produced really impressive images. The results are even more incredible when you consider that iJustine and her team were shooting in near pitch-black conditions for quite a few of the shots.
It’s worth noting that it’s hard to actually compare the images thoroughly because of YouTube’s compression and processing.
But even just seeing them in the video, you can tell that there are differences in contrast, image detail and processing between the Pixel and iPhone images. Whether or not the results are “better” really comes down to personal preference.
In many of the images, the iPhone-taken shots actually brightened more of the shot — allowing you to see more of the low-light environment. The Pixel shot retained some dark areas in a few of the pictures, which resulted in more dramatic images.
Of course, there are a couple of exceptions between the two devices worth keeping in mind. At one point, iJustine failed to get the Pixel to focus on a dark beach, while the iPhone 11 Pro was able to capture an in-focus shot with relative ease.
Still, both the Pixel and the iPhone 11 Pro performed extremely well in low-light conditions. And Android versus iPhone competition aside, it looks like the days of smartphone cameras suffering in the dark may soon be over.