iPhone 11 Pro (Image Heavy) 11 Pro Night Mode v.s. Pixel 3 Night Sight (Your thoughts?)

840quadra

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P3-IMG_20190921_194704


PRO-IMG_0105



Since I have both phones at my disposal (thanks to work needing me to be on call and paying for my Pixel) I decided to skip taking the Mirrorless camera on one of my usual outings, and test both phones. In as best as possible, I attempted to duplicate the shots between both phones based on where I held them. Anyone who tests these using a tripod to get perfect placement is (IMO) invalidating this test. Part of the feature these phones are selling is the fact that you can get usable handheld shots in low light.

iPhone 11
  • Good
    • Night Mode is automatic, no need to activate
    • Shots offer good contrast and less blown out highlights
    • Takes shots far faster
  • Bad
    • While it can be disabled, sometimes Flash will be "selected" by the device at the last second and without warning
    • Function does not work on Wide angle camera
    • "streaking effect" where the image is not stabilized, or, other error, creates a dud image. Has happened to me 3 times. Example image is below, and for the record I took the image the same way I have done all of them. What I suspect is happening, the camera is not done taking image samples when it indicates the shot is complete, and is somehow recording my pulling the camera back down.
PRO-IMG_0116


Pixel 3
  • Good
    • Better results in really low light
    • By default Night Sight is a dedicated setting, rules out accidental flash
    • Better control of Auto focus and other settings within the app
  • Bad
    • Shots take far longer than iPhone to complete
    • Camera Suggests Night Sight far earlier (more ambient light) than the iPhone activates it Night Mode
    • Due to the longer process, function is not as useful for moving objects as iPhone
Overall, I like both phones and camera systems for their own advantages. And I have to give a huge kudos to Google offering this feature to older phones when it was released last fall. Apple may provide some software advancements to older phones, but has a poor track record with regards to software or Machine learning additions to the camera app on older iPhones. Quite sad when their processors are usually 1 to 2 years ahead of most Android phones, and The Pixel's Night Sight feature actually works well ported over to non google phones regardless of processor. Hell, Google's Night Sight even works on phones that lack OIS. What's your excuse Apple?

Sample Images

First two are really low light, with no close sources (despite how the shots look). The iPhone really struggled with noise here making its shot look really blotchy as compared to the Pixel 3.

Pixel3_shrub


11 Pro Shrub


P3-IMG_20190921_223620


PRO-IMG_0115


P3-IMG_20190921_222657


PRO-IMG_0109


P3-IMG_20190921_223938


PRO-IMG_0117


The following Images were taken earlier, with the iPhone 11 staying in normal mode, while the Pixel 3 directed that I use Night Sight so I switched to that mode.

P3-MVIMG_20190921_193021


PRO-IMG_0093


P3-IMG_20190921_193616


PRO-IMG_0099


I need to upload full resolution images to the server hosting these. I thought I had completed that task but my computer (at home) must have encountered an error. I will try to update the post with links.

IMO both cameras are close, with myself having picked the iPhone as the winner, but only just! My reasons are more do to with speed as opposed to just image results. The pixel would often need 4-5 seconds longer shot time than the iPhone did, which created quite a few duds for me (not pictured) where the subject or I had to move (damn Mosquitos). Will be curious to see how the Pixel 4 will do in similar tests. And I hope to complete some testing myself if I can get an update arranged ;).

What are your thoughts? Do you have Night Mode shots to share, or comparison shots with your Android and iPhone cameras?
 

ryanmp

macrumors member
Dec 6, 2016
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Fantastic comparison, thanks for sharing.

I’ve never owned a Google phone or Android but was impressed by their night sight feature. It’s great to see Apple catching up. Personally I’m blown away by my 11 Pro’a photos; night and day!
 
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840quadra

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Fantastic comparison, thanks for sharing.

I’ve never owned a Google phone or Android but was impressed by their night sight feature. It’s great to see Apple catching up. Personally I’m blown away by my 11 Pro’a photos; night and day!
I think we are in neat times when the hardware and computational photography are coming together so well in such small products. There are some other great phones out there for Photography too, I just don't have any experience with them.
 

cambookpro

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Feb 3, 2010
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Great comparison, thanks for posting - would love to see the full res if you upload them.

To my eye, the iPhone generally produced slightly more pleasing shots. Will be interesting to see how much the Pixel 4 improves things for Google.
 

840quadra

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Great comparison, thanks for posting - would love to see the full res if you upload them.

To my eye, the iPhone generally produced slightly more pleasing shots. Will be interesting to see how much the Pixel 4 improves things for Google.
Totally forgot to upload and share the gallery last night. Busy day at work.

I do often find the iPhone takes more pleasing shots (to the eye), however in some cases I prefer the Pixel's lighter touch on noise reduction. Big issue with NR, is once you do it, it is hard to undo. In the plant picture, the iPhone went nuts with NR and made for a muddy looking picture.
 

mi7chy

macrumors 603
Oct 24, 2014
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Can you do near to zero illumination comparisons to clear up the confusion if some light is needed or not? For controlled experiment, perhaps use a bathroom that isn't exposed to sun with door partially closed to completely closed.

Also, add motion towards and separately horizontally across front of camera to see how they cope with motion blur?

Without pixel peeping they're close with the exception that Pixel has better HDR such as with metal trailer that looks more metal, second car on left in street view retains the blue paint job better vs black on iPhone 11 Pro, etc.
 

MCLOCO

macrumors member
Mar 21, 2019
31
12
Great comparison. I too have both and have been comparing for a few days now. I have noticed the Iphone 11 Pro does better taking a photo pointed directly at extreme sunlight. I liked the Iphone pics much more but I want to test more. Bottom line is the Pixel photos are cooler and the Iphone photos are warmer. Personal preference with this.
 

Lobwedgephil

macrumors 601
Apr 7, 2012
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Great comparisons, well done.

And I have to give a huge kudos to Google offering this feature to older phones when it was released last fall. Apple may provide some software advancements to older phones, but has a poor track record with regards to software or Machine learning additions to the camera app on older iPhones. Quite sad when their processors are usually 1 to 2 years ahead of most Android phones, and The Pixel's Night Sight feature actually works well ported over to non google phones regardless of processor. Hell, Google's Night Sight even works on phones that lack OIS. What's your excuse Apple?
I understand what you are saying here, but I would disagree that it works that well. I have used Night Sight on a Pixel 3 XL, Not 10+, S10+, and Pixel 2 XL. It is miles better on the 3 XL than on the Samsungs or the older pixels, not really even comparable. Though porting the google cam does make overall pictures better on the S10+, just not really night sight.
 

AppleB

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Oct 18, 2011
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Fantastic photos. Both look great. Some subjects look slightly better on the iPhone some on the Pixel.
 

840quadra

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Can you do near to zero illumination comparisons to clear up the confusion if some light is needed or not? For controlled experiment, perhaps use a bathroom that isn't exposed to sun with door partially closed to completely closed.

Also, add motion towards and separately horizontally across front of camera to see how they cope with motion blur?

Without pixel peeping they're close with the exception that Pixel has better HDR such as with metal trailer that looks more metal, second car on left in street view retains the blue paint job better vs black on iPhone 11 Pro, etc.
Fair points and I agree that pixel peeping is needed for sure. FWIW most people don't go that far, they see a shot on Insta, or Facebook, like it (or not) and scroll to the next. In that case, both cameras do quite well. While I prefer the image reproduction of the iPhone slightly more, the Pixel does an amazing job and can produce better images in some situations.

I can give test you outlined a shot, the goal for me was to test situations where I may use my Mirrorless or SLR camera for a shot, not an extreme edge case like you are requesting. In my mind (maybe I am old) I wouldn't expect any camera to work so it didn't cross my mind to test it.

Great comparisons, well done.



I understand what you are saying here, but I would disagree that it works that well. I have used Night Sight on a Pixel 3 XL, Not 10+, S10+, and Pixel 2 XL. It is miles better on the 3 XL than on the Samsungs or the older pixels, not really even comparable. Though porting the google cam does make overall pictures better on the S10+, just not really night sight.
Interesting,

I did extensive testing with the Pixel 2 and 3 last year before I sold my older phone. shots form the 2 and 3 were almost indistinguishable in my tests. Biggest difference between the two was the time it took to take the shot, and a bit of difference in white balance. I also used the feature on a burner LG phone (on loan) that did not have OIS and saw good results, but not near what the Pixel would do. I think any phone that has the special Pixel Core processor (2 & 3) will produce good results, while others will simply do what they can.

Regardless, the fact that Google offered the feature on older phones was the main point in my bringing it up. Apple could have easily brought the HDR enhancements (last year) to the X, and Night mode (this year) to the Xs and Xs Max from last year. Sure, they would be slightly slower to process, but the computational power is clearly there.
 
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NaimNut

macrumors regular
Oct 28, 2017
123
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Toronto
Would the LightRoom camera app(with CC subscription) outperform the native Apple or Google camera App for these pics?