Google has updated the camera of their Pixel phones with a new feature: Night Sight, an incredible night vision mode that lets you take photos with almost no light, no flash or tripod required.
The technology giant's latest bet raises the benchmark for computer photography. Night Sight uses a combination of shots taken at very short intervals with a slow shutter speed, and then processes them to reduce noise for an image with detail and quality never seen before.
Although photography often takes photos in low light using long exposure times and a tripod, Google gets results by taking pictures with the device in hand.
Night Vision segments the exposure in a flood of consecutively shot photos that are then regrouped into a single image using the artificial intelligence developed by the company. It is an evolution of the HDR + process that is used on the Pixel camera, with some updates.
Google promises that with this mode you can take pictures between 3 lux and 0.3 lux. Technically, "lux" is defined as the amount of light that reaches a surface per unit area, measured in lumens per square meter.
And how much does it cost 0.3 lux? The company says it's such a low level of lighting that it would be difficult to find the keys if they fell on the floor at this level of illumination.
According to The Verge explains, before taking a photo, the night vision of Google does a ton of multifactor calculations. Using what the company calls motion measurement, Pixel takes into account its own movement (or lack thereof), the movement of objects in the scene, and the amount of light available to decide how many exposures are to be taken and how long they should last . .
At most, Night Sight photos will take up to six seconds and up to 15 frames to capture an image. Google set a limit of one second per exposure if the phone is perfectly still, or a third of a second if it is in the hand.
This means that you can get six one-second exposures with the device on a tripod or up to 15 shorter exposures when the phone is stuck, all feeding a final photo.
"Night Sight not only takes great shots in low light but is also fun to use as it takes photos in situations where you can hardly see anything," says the technology giant in his blog.
"When the scene is dark enough, an icon appears on the screen indicating that you can get a better picture with the Night Vision, but it is not limited to just after sunset, or at shows, or in the city. Night Sight takes clean photos (low noise), and makes them brighter than reality, is an effect that looks magical if done well, "he concludes.
Night Sight is available across the entire range of Google Pixel phones, though at the XDA developer forum they have been able to install it on other devices at their own risk.