iPhone X iPhone X night shots

Cjallen

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 28, 2012
42
5
Can any other iPhone X owners tell me if they have this issue? The lights seen were not terribly over powering, just small stall lights, but in photos they aren’t close to a true representation of reality. I’m not sure if I’ve a faulty iPhone, or this is now it just is.
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fred98tj

macrumors 6502a
Jul 9, 2017
574
379
Central Luzon, Philippines
The camera is increasing the exposure in an attempt to get more of the screen in basically “correct” exposure and thus is overexposing those lights (blowing them out).
Adjust the exposure down some as you’re taking the shots. Tab and hold to set focus and exposure then slide your finger up and down and you’ll see you can change the exposure before you make the pic.
 

Cjallen

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 28, 2012
42
5
If I reduce the exposure the glare will maybe reduce on the lowest setting, then my photo is too dark, and requires flash when flash should not be necessary. This seems intermittent and does drive me crazy. This picture taken in the restaurant was terrible, then fixed itself a little after a reset. This is my 7th iphone and the only one with this issue. It’s now on iOS 12 and still the same. In daylight shots are fine but only get an issue with any artifical lights. Surely i’m not the only one with this issue.
 

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jabingla2810

macrumors 68020
Oct 15, 2008
2,271
937
These are incredibly hard photos for a sensor small enough to fit into a phone to capture.

The Xs has massively improved in this aspect, capturing a much wider dynamic range in these situations.

There is nothing wrong with your phone, it just can’t deal very well with these scenarios.
 

Cjallen

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 28, 2012
42
5
There were several phones taking pictures the same night, some position, same lights, but mine is the only one like this. The phone just fails with any light directly in the shot, previous iphone’s and competitors do not.
 

sean000

macrumors 68000
Jul 16, 2015
1,603
2,021
Bellingham, WA
Adjusting exposure or using HDR will help some, but what you are seeing is the dynamic range limitation of the sensor (the ability to capture a range of shadows and highlights). The XS appears to improve on this, but I don’t know if it’s through better HDR software, sensor improvements, or both.

Dynamic range is one of the areas where larger sensor cameras still have an advantage. A full frame DSLR or mirrorless camera would easily capture the photo you want, and even my six year old Olympus OMD with its m4/3 sensor (half the size of full frame) will capture more highlight and shadow detail for a scene like this.

One trick that might help is to use a tripod or other stabilizer to take multiple photos of the scene at different exposures, and then combine them using HDR software. This essentially what HDR mode does automatic, but the manual approach will let you capture more samples with a wider exposure range that you can combine later.

The long time rule of digital photography has been that you are better off slightly overexposing, because it’s usually easier to recover highlight detail than shadow detail, but with such a small sensor you can’t recover much highlight detail even when shooting raw... so you can’t push the iPhone X sensor too much. Based on the comparisons I’ve seen, better HDR is the most compelling reason to upgrade to the XS. I probably won’t bother since I have my Olympus and Nikon gear, but it is tempting.
 

Cjallen

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 28, 2012
42
5
It seems that the first one is from 6, it shows a lot more noise, the second one, from X I guess, is cleaner but it has too much lens flare?
Correct, the sky also looks far better in the iphone 6 picture too. I just think it sends the X haywire when any sort of bright light is in the shot.

Two shots again, both with the camera app killed, then opened and an instant shot taken with no adjustments to settings.
 

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sean000

macrumors 68000
Jul 16, 2015
1,603
2,021
Bellingham, WA
Correct, the sky also looks far better in the iphone 6 picture too. I just think it sends the X haywire when any sort of bright light is in the shot.

Two shots again, both with the camera app killed, then opened and an instant shot taken with no adjustments to settings.
Something weird is happening. I generally don’t see issues like this shooting similar shots with my X. This article has lots of night photography shots from the X that look better. https://9to5mac.com/2017/11/20/iphone-x-diary-camera-review/

I would try cleaning the lens again, and try different camera apps to compare... including one that lets you shoot raw and control ISO equivalency and shutter speed. If you really want good nighttime and dark interior shots, a dedicated camera and lens system with a tripod will seriously up your game, but your iPhone X should be producing better results than what you are posting. I would contact Apple about a repair or replacement if nothing else works.
 
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Cjallen

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 28, 2012
42
5
It seems that the first one is from 6, it shows a lot more noise, the second one, from X I guess, is cleaner but it has too much lens flare?
Correct, the sky also looks far better in the iphone 6 picture too. I just think it sends the X haywire when any sort of bright light is in the shot.

Two shots again, both with the camera app killed, then opened and an instant shot taken with no adjustments to settings.

Something weird is happening. I generally don’t see issues like this shooting similar shots with my X. This article has lots of night photography shots from the X that look better. https://9to5mac.com/2017/11/20/iphone-x-diary-camera-review/

I would try cleaning the lens again, and try different camera apps to compare... including one that lets you shoot raw and control ISO equivalency and shutter speed. If you really want good nighttime and dark interior shots, a dedicated camera and lens system with a tripod will seriously up your game, but your iPhone X should be producing better results than what you are posting. I would contact Apple about a repair or replacement if nothing else works.
I got in touch with Apple on a livechat, shared the same photo’s, and they agree something is’nt right. I currently live in Bangkok and there is no Apple store at the moment, although one is being built and due to open before the end of the year. They do have some authorised repair centre’s and hopefully they can offer the same level of service. I’ve tested it Lightroom pro mode, exposure at -3.0 and still you can see the issue from just a ceiling light.
 

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