Google's "Night Sight" Mode on the Pixels

So, it hasn’t officially rolled out yet - but some clever chap over at XDA forums decompiled the Camera APK file from the Pixel 3, flipped a boolean value somewhere in the code and managed to get it working ahead of time.

I installed it last night on my Pixel 2 XL and… God damn. This is like some crazy wizard magic. Apple, Samsung, and everyone else have been left in the dust. I literally took a picture under my desk of all my cabling in a pitch black room in the middle of the night and the photo looks like it was taken in the day with the lights on.

I was about to show you some comparison pics of my own, but then The Verge did it for me.

Honestly, if camera quality is one of your top choices for your phone you should already own a Pixel, but this mode alone is a selling point too. Just, absolutely ridiculous. I’ll take some more pictures myself in the dark later and post some, maybe when my sister walks her dog in the early evening :dog:


Hat’s off to Google :tophat:

That’s super clever, the improvement is way more than I expected. I hope to see Apple and others catch up in this area.

My only question is why use this over the built in flash, as surely this would provide better results?

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Using a flash introduces highlights and reflections. The new “Night Side” mode is mindblowingly good with the results it produces and far preferable.


As a non photography expert, I rarely get decent photos using the flash - The subject may be sharper, and in more focus - But the overall quality looks a bit… meh.

The photos on the Google Keynote, highlighting the Night Sight looked amazing, so I’ll be interested to see if it’s as good as they made out.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that a flash would do nothing for a landscape shot (I’m thinking of dusk on those Welsh rolling hills of your @Jackcrwhitney).


You can also use it in situations where a flash would be no good, e.g. landscapes or where the subject is too far from the camera.


Good point all,

Never passed my mind about reflections (very annoying). I’ve generally never attempted many outdoor night photos because they don’t come out well, but I guess this fixes that :smile:

Since it’s not quite finished I’ll be looking forward to seeing the final results + more examples!

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Wow. That is all.


I’m a huge Google fan and it looks awesome, I’m really jealous. BUT, I would love to see some photos of say, concerts and stuff, not some still-life objects that I could just as easily turn a light on to take the picture?


It’ll be great for bonfire night - flash obviously does nothing when you’re pointing at the sky.


This is an excellent idea however the photos are still terrible. There are some which are pitch black and you can barely make out what it is.

Edit: I maybe should have read this instead of just looking at the pictures! :flushed:

Are you referring to the article? You’re aware that some of the photos are comparison shots without the new mode switched on, aren’t you?


Pretty cool. I rarely take photos in the dark (especially super dark) and never have the flash on anyway so I doubt I’d use it but very good technology.

Not quite enough to pull me away from my iPhone but it’s getting there :wink:

Jealous :frowning:


Who would have thought Google would be absolutely killing it in photography the same way Apple are with SOCs.

I spent years using pretty much every Nexus device and it was always a case of great phone, mediocre camera.

The 6P was such a massive step up from anything they did before and from then on they just haven’t looked back.

I’ve just switched from an OG Pixel XL to a 7 Plus and while the general performance is way snappier the camera is definitely a marked step down IMHO.

It weird that Apple just can’t seem to compete despite having much better hardware plus deeper software integration.

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I’ve tried the APK on my 2 XL and I’m impressed.
The girlfriend has been giving me concerned looks as I’ve been going around photographing in the pitch black

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Got it now on my Pixel 2 on the stock camera app. Took these pictures earlier this morning.

Standard pic, no flash:

Standard pic, with flash:

Night Sight:


I’ve been playing with this on my OnePlus 3T. It’s a really smart feature :smiley:

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I did some night sight shots on bonfire night… it worked too well, leading to the impression that someone was releasing fireworks in daylight :stuck_out_tongue:

It also showed it isn’t just longer exposure times - fireworks are very fast moving things and yet it was perfectly sharp… they’re using processing of the darker image rather than trying to get more light in.

Interestingly my Oneplus has a decent night mode also

I tried Night Sight for the first time a couple of days ago and was blown away! Without it, the photo is just pitch black. With it turned on, it’s as if I’ve got the bedside table lamp on. Crazy good :open_mouth:

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