Our smartphone cameras have come a long, long way since the first time cameras were introduced into phones. These days and to a certain extent, smartphone cameras can go head-to-head with some compact cameras, and in some instances even winning thanks to the fact that your phone is with you all the time.
That being said, nighttime photography is still an area in which most smartphones do not perform that well in, but Google begs to differ. In a post on the Google Research Blog, Google software engineer Florian Kainz details how with an experimental app, it can push cameras on devices like the Pixel and Nexus 6P to the limit where it can snag some pretty impressive nighttime photos.
To push the limits of the phone’s camera, Kainz built a simple camera app that allowed him to control exposure time, ISO, and focus distance. While the end results were impressive, Kainz notes that a lot of takes careful post-processing done on a computer, which is something that not all casual photographers would be willing to do.
According to Kainz, “However, with the right software a phone should be able to process the images internally, and if steps such as painting layer masks by hand can be eliminated, it might be possible to do point-and-shoot photography in very low light conditions.” If you’re interested Kainz has uploaded photos to an album where you can see the results of his experiments.