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Sep 21, 2019

Apple wasn’t first to computationally enhanced low light photography, just like they weren’t first to multiple cameras or depth effects, or even phones at all.

But, now that they're all-in, they're doing it in typical Apple style: Night Mode on the iPhone 11 doesn’t do everything. You can’t force it on manually. You can’t use it with the focus-pixel-free ultra wide angle. But what you can do, you can do well. With good detail recovery, texture preservation, and tone mapping.

In a really opinionated, maybe even controversial way.

And that’s the point. This is as much art as science. Do you drain color in the dark like the human eye or do you boost it? Do you turn night into day or shine a light in the dark? In the end, some aspects are objectively better on some camera phones. Others... are far more subjective.

To figure it all out, I collab’ed up with my friends Michael Fisher, The Mr. Mobile, and Hayato Houseman from Android Central.

And we shot the sensors off the Google Pixel 3, Samsung Galaxy S10+, Huawei P30 Pro, and the brand-new iPhone 11 Pro.