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The Pixel 3 camera mode you’ve been waiting for is finally rolling out to all Pixels

Published Nov 15th, 2018 6:50AM EST
Pixel 3 Night Sight
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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When it unveiled the Pixel 3 phones about a month ago, Google dedicated a whole segment of the presentation to the camera experience. That was entirely expected, considering that previous Pixel cameras received many praises. Google even took some shots at the competition when introducing a new low-light camera mode called Night Sight, showing image samples that showed how much better the Pixel 3 is compared to the iPhone. The problem with the feature was that Google needed more time to have it ready for buyers, so the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL shipped without Night Sight support. However, all that changes right now, as Google issued an update for the Pixel phones that enables the feature.

Night Sight is an intelligent low-light photo shooting modes that takes into account various parameters before taking a photo, The Verge explains. The phone looks at whether the camera is in motion, whether the objects in the scene are moving, and measures the amount of light. These variables are all factored into taking the picture, as the phone determines exactly how long a shot should be and how many exposures will be needed. As a result, each Night Sight photo needs up to six seconds and up to 15 frames.

The best part about it is that Night Sight takes these pictures in handheld mode, meaning that you won’t need a tripod to stabilize the device before shooting your pics.

Google is also using a new “more sophisticated” learning-based algorithm to measure white balance that’s been taught to ignore the tints caused by unnatural light.

One of the downsides of the new mode is that some of the resulting images look a lot brighter as if they weren’t taken at night.

The Night Sight mode does everything for the user from the moment you select it in the camera app. The phone will suggest Night Sight if it determines a scene qualifies, and both the regular and selfie cameras support it.

The camera app update is already out and will work not only on the Pixel 3 phones that Google just launched but also on the older Pixel handsets, including the first and second generations. However, Night Sight will work best on the Pixel 3 than older models, as Google developed and trained the algorithm for this particular hardware. The original Pixel lacks optical image stabilization support, so you’d better use a tripod to obtain similar results — camera samples and comparisons are available at this link.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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