Night Mode on iPhone 11: Everything You Need to Know

anticipate

macrumors 6502a
Dec 22, 2013
511
276
The wide camera's sensor is significantly larger than the telephoto (which appears to have the same sensor as the ultrawide), so it's still the best one to pick for these photos. The tele has a much better lens than last year's though, so it's still usable in night mode. But the winner for sensor goes to the wide. If you see ifixit or techinsider they have pics of the dies. The wide is a lot bigger.

(they're all small compared to full frame mind you, so it's all relative)
 

Mabus51

macrumors 65816
Aug 16, 2007
1,342
830
A major “F You” Apple for not giving even a semblance of this feature to owners of last years $1000 phone. They officially lost me as a customer with this move. After seeing how Google handled this with Pixel, Apple is giving a clear as day middle finger to their customers by making this new phone exclusive. Next phone will be a Pixel for me.
Yeah I guess it was a major F You to the X owners when Apple launched the Xs with stereo sound and a faster processor. Next year when the 12 launches with the new camera it will be another F You moment. 🙄

You’re not missing anything really. The camera is alright. But I haven’t noticed much difference with a few night shots I made that my old X couldn’t do. Even the wide angle camera, it’s not that much wider of a shot.
 
  • Like
Reactions: FlyingDutch

paul4339

macrumors 65816
Sep 14, 2009
1,385
628
The first set of photos of the carnival rides is inconsistent with the next set of photos of the carnival ride- or they are mis-labelled.

The picture of the ride with the brighter BLUE sky is iPhone and the darker blue sky is Pixel.



Pixel 3 XL (left) vs iPhone (right), image via PCWorld



If you go to PCWorld (source), "The Pixel 3 XL (top right) beats the iPhone 11 (top left)"

The next of photos seem correct - the brighter blue sky is iphone.
 

Arndroid

macrumors 6502a
Oct 3, 2013
899
449
A major “F You” Apple for not giving even a semblance of this feature to owners of last years $1000 phone. They officially lost me as a customer with this move. After seeing how Google handled this with Pixel, Apple is giving a clear as day middle finger to their customers by making this new phone exclusive. Next phone will be a Pixel for me.
Lol
Are these photos artistic? Yes, for sure. Are they actually accurate? That’s what I’m not sure about. As someone with 4 kids it’s of limited use to me as well as most of my night photos are of subjects that won’t hold still for 3+ seconds :)
Lots of Benadryl will solve that.
 

jclo

Editor
Staff member
Dec 7, 2012
1,537
2,995
California
The first set of photos of the carnival rides is inconsistent with the next set of photos of the carnival ride- or they are mis-labelled.

The picture of the ride with the brighter BLUE sky is iPhone and the darker blue sky is Pixel.



Pixel 3 XL (left) vs iPhone (right), image via PCWorld



If you go to PCWorld (source), "The Pixel 3 XL (top right) beats the iPhone 11 (top left)"

The next of photos seem correct - the brighter blue sky is iphone.
Thank you! Fixed the labeling, apologies for that error.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ptfuzi

HiRez

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2004
5,827
1,775
Western US
Dude. Really?? lol.

you may need to learn how to use your Sony camera instead of setting it to automatic.
Without a tripod, you can't get anything close to these photos handheld with a DSLR. Not even image stabilization and a full frame sensor with high ISO capability can do it without the computational part. It really is miraculous. Yes, in good light a FF DSLR is going to smoke any phone. But in near-dark conditions, phones really have pulled ahead. I'm waiting for DSLRs to start integrating more computational processing, at which point they should be able to once again be superior in all conditions, but they're very slow to change (also, most people keep their phones for 1-3 years, but their DSLRs for 5-10 years...or even longer for lenses).
 
  • Like
Reactions: haruhiko

shanson27

macrumors 65816
Nov 27, 2011
1,143
983
The first set of photos of the carnival rides is inconsistent with the next set of photos of the carnival ride- or they are mis-labelled.

The picture of the ride with the brighter BLUE sky is iPhone and the darker blue sky is Pixel.



Pixel 3 XL (left) vs iPhone (right), image via PCWorld



If you go to PCWorld (source), "The Pixel 3 XL (top right) beats the iPhone 11 (top left)"

The next of photos seem correct - the brighter blue sky is iphone.
Of course, Google's Pixel 4 is right around the corner and will surely improve on Night Sight. But at the moment, Apple’s Night Mode is the one to beat. In one fell swoop, Apple went from the sidelines to stardom, and every other phone maker should take notice.
 

StyxMaker

macrumors 68000
Mar 14, 2010
1,859
461
Inside my head.
This is great. I'm going to Universal Studios and Disneyland next week and I'm super excited about being able to try the iPhone 11 Pro there. Lots of opportunity for nice shots in areas that have lots of lights.
I have a collection of pictures of the night parades taken with iPhone 7 and 11” iPad Pro. I will also be in Disneyland next week and I’m looking forward to seeing what the night mode on my 11 Pro will do.
 

dantroline

macrumors 6502
Oct 28, 2016
353
494
Why is it I can’t seem to find any night sight photos of people at a dark bar or restaurant?
I’d love to know how well it works on spur of the moment photos

-AE
Given that all this is software, it is a pure R&D competition. May the company with the fastest supercomputer win! Android and Apple are both a software update away from topping each other.

For example, there is enough information from the phone's motion sensors to construct an image that not only produces high resolution night vision but with correct use a full depth image for VR use. As long as the device memory is large and fast enough, background post-processing means the possibilities are truly endless.
 

cgs1xx

macrumors newbie
Jun 10, 2018
21
8
London, UK
The night mode is awful. There is no way to turn it off permanently and the setting (when you manually do it per photo) is never preserved on the camera app. The problem is the night mode comes on automatically even when there is really not need for it (try taking photos at a concert, it's a disaster). And all photos are unbelievable grainy, even when the light is more than sufficient to start with and at a close range. :(
 
Last edited:

Ferry74

macrumors newbie
Nov 3, 2014
11
6
I hate it. Most pictures are horrible. And I don't want my iPhone to decide everything has to be bright. Took my iPhone 11 Pro to a concert, and just stopped taking pictures because every shot was a disaster. And you can only shut it off per picture – which isn't really an option for taking photos quickly. Horrible. I hate my brand-new phone for it. Why can't I just shut it off, Apple? Why forcing something on me?
 

manu chao

macrumors 603
Jul 30, 2003
6,485
2,458
Night mode takes advantage of the new wide-angle camera that's in the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro models. It's equipped with a larger sensor that is able to let in more light, allowing for brighter photos when the light is low.
Not really, all reports so far indicate that the sensor [of the 26 mm equiv. camera] in the iPhone 11 is the same size as that of the Xs, 1/2.55” with 1.4 μm pixels. It is larger than that of the iPhone X (1/2.93” and 1.22 μm) though.
What exactly does 100% focus pixels mean?
That about 100% of the frame is covered by phase detection pixels. On-sensor phase detection means that a small percentage of the pixels only record light arriving at an oblique angle. A pair of such pixels allows us to determine whether that part of the frame is in focus and if is not, how far it is out of focus (and in which direction it is out-of-focus). Usually used to focus the lens, it also enables/helps with building a depth map. It recently has also been used to align multiple shots that will be merged (whether that happens via the depth map or on a lower level, I don’t know). It might even feed into an algorithm that determines whether there is movement in that part of the frame.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: smuzzy

840quadra

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 1, 2005
8,155
3,413
Twin Cities Minnesota
Paisley Park at night. Unfortunately I could only get the shot from across a busy highway. But it was completely dark out.

View attachment 864246
There is a walking path in your shot near the other side of the highway. I bike it often. Wow didn't know you were in my neighborhood ;) .

Feel free to share your Night mode photos in the comments. Would love to see them.
We have a thread with quite a few test images in it, I also did a comparison with the 11 Pro Max, v.s. the Pixel 3.

Night Mode is the real deal - post your photos here [MERGED]

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

manu chao

macrumors 603
Jul 30, 2003
6,485
2,458
Without a tripod, you can't get anything close to these photos handheld with a DSLR. Not even image stabilization and a full frame sensor with high ISO capability can do it without the computational part. It really is miraculous. Yes, in good light a FF DSLR is going to smoke any phone. But in near-dark conditions, phones really have pulled ahead. I'm waiting for DSLRs to start integrating more computational processing, at which point they should be able to once again be superior in all conditions, but they're very slow to change (also, most people keep their phones for 1-3 years, but their DSLRs for 5-10 years...or even longer for lenses).
Check out the recent Olympus OM-D cameras (with 5-axis sensor-based stabilisation). You'll find quite a number of one second and up handheld exposures that are pretty sharp. And they start with much faster equiv. f-stops on top of that. The fastest lens on an iPhone Xs, Xr, and 11 has f/11 as equivalent f-stop. On m43, you'll have AF prime lenses as fast as f/2.4 equiv. (and zooms with f/5.6 equiv.). For the primes that is 4.5 stops faster than what the iPhone offers.

Image stabilisation on FF mirrorless cameras is not quite as effective but then they have about 2 stops additional advantage in equiv. lens speed.

And that is all with mechanical stabilisation. If you added electronic stabilisation on top of that, they'd be even further ahead. The software and processing capabilities of the latest smartphones are great but their mechanical image stabilisation is also limited by the size constraints (on top of the much smaller entrance pupil of their lenses).
 
Last edited:

Rainshadow

macrumors regular
Feb 16, 2017
119
316
A major “F You” Apple for not giving even a semblance of this feature to owners of last years $1000 phone. They officially lost me as a customer with this move. After seeing how Google handled this with Pixel, Apple is giving a clear as day middle finger to their customers by making this new phone exclusive. Next phone will be a Pixel for me.
I’ve heard this from a few people and I don’t understand it. You purchased a phone for a price last year knowing the capabilities. Apple has said, and this article reiterates, That their particular form of night mode requires 100% Focus Pixels. Also, the pixel, from what I’ve read and watched doesn’t do real time rendering, so they don’t need as much computational power. I also don’t think their pictures are quite as realistic.

Apple has always been an experience focused company. If their new headline capability would be hampered by last years processor or less effective without their “100%” Focus Pixels - they aren’t going to want people trashing or comparing their night mode with old hardware to current gen competitors.

I have NEVER bought a product with the expectation that NEW (not refined) capabilities would be released... pump through breaks there.
 
  • Like
Reactions: thasan and haruhiko

Rainshadow

macrumors regular
Feb 16, 2017
119
316
Yeah I guess it was a major F You to the X owners when Apple launched the Xs with stereo sound and a faster processor. Next year when the 12 launches with the new camera it will be another F You moment. 🙄

You’re not missing anything really. The camera is alright. But I haven’t noticed much difference with a few night shots I made that my old X couldn’t do. Even the wide angle camera, it’s not that much wider of a shot.
I think that first paragraph of yours is right on! But As someone who has the iPhone 11, I couldn’t disagree more about the limited benefits of the new camera. I was able to take stock photo app shots of the Milky Way. It brightens up a room in a natural and simple way. The ultra wide angle lens - as someone who takes photos of houses and expansive scenery... it’s like having a whole other tool with me capturing a better sense of the surroundings and space. If I hadn’t upgraded due to my planned cycle - I would be upgrading for the camera alone.
 

icrude

macrumors regular
Dec 29, 2006
167
100
Still don’t understand why we are comparing the iPhone to the pixel and other phones when this is an apple site. Why doesn’t MR show an 11 night mode picture next to a XS with NeuralCam? Doesn’t anyone want to see a great picture taken by the 11 next to a great picture taken by the XS? Aren’t we all apple fans here? Why does anyone care what a pixel phone can do?
 
  • Like
Reactions: G5isAlive

fmcshan

macrumors regular
Apr 8, 2019
220
743
New Hampshire
I noticed the same thing. Putting the iPhone on a tripod yields longer exposure times when using night mode. I'm still shocked how good photos in low light look.
 

dantroline

macrumors 6502
Oct 28, 2016
353
494
I’ve heard this from a few people and I don’t understand it. You purchased a phone for a price last year knowing the capabilities. Apple has said, and this article reiterates, That their particular form of night mode requires 100% Focus Pixels. Also, the pixel, from what I’ve read and watched doesn’t do real time rendering, so they don’t need as much computational power. I also don’t think their pictures are quite as realistic.

Apple has always been an experience focused company. If their new headline capability would be hampered by last years processor or less effective without their “100%” Focus Pixels - they aren’t going to want people trashing or comparing their night mode with old hardware to current gen competitors.

I have NEVER bought a product with the expectation that NEW (not refined) capabilities would be released... pump through breaks there.
Take a step back for a second. This is a software feature. Apple surely could provide an upgrade to the photo app on older phones to provide night vision photography. People would still buy the new phone because it has better sensors (I assume) and faster processing, but it would improve vendor lock-in of old phone users by winning their loyalty. So it's a reasonable thing to be asking. As for user experience, have you forgotten Apple's processor-crippling for old batteries to "improve experience"? If the battery life dies, users can replace it, but Apple doesn't want environmentally responsible activity like that, they want you to upgrade.

I think Apple might be in denial with the fact that mobile phones are on the cusp of becoming a commodity and unless they get this they could rapidly lose a lot of market share in this space.
Still don’t understand why we are comparing the iPhone to the pixel and other phones when this is an apple site. Why doesn’t MR show an 11 night mode picture next to a XS with NeuralCam? Doesn’t anyone want to see a great picture taken by the 11 next to a great picture taken by the XS? Aren’t we all apple fans here? Why does anyone care what a pixel phone can do?
Because anyone who is in the market for an 11 is also in the market for anything else.
 
Last edited:

Rainshadow

macrumors regular
Feb 16, 2017
119
316
Take a step back for a second. This is a software feature. Apple surely could provide an upgrade to the photo app on older phones to provide night vision photography. People would still buy the new phone because it has better sensors (I assume) and faster processing, but it would improve vendor lock-in of old phone users by winning their loyalty. So it's a reasonable thing to be asking. As for user experience, have you forgotten Apple's processor-crippling for old batteries to "improve experience"? If the battery life dies, users can replace it, but Apple doesn't want environmentally responsible activity like that, they want you to upgrade.
1. That’s what I’m saying - I see no evidence it’s a software only feature. Yes, Apple could design a software only feature like the pixel but from what I’ve read, there are hardware differences in Apple’s implementation.

2. No I haven’t forgotten about the battery fiasco. I had one of those old phones that were “crippled”. I’m not an Apple apologist usually but that was a perfect example of Apple prioritizing experience. It was a far better experience for me to have the speed pulled back (which I and most people don’t use fully) than to have a phone restart or shut off intermittently. The only negative aspect of that story was Apple was not up front about that fact. However - it was still Apple prioritizing experience over clicked speed.

As far as replacing the batteries... Vs upgrading... ? I don’t see how that fact would lead more people to upgrade than the alternative. If I had an iPhone that intermittently shut off or otherwise stopped working, I would be FAR more likely to upgrade than a moderately slower processor speed which as I said earlier is imperceptible under normal circumstances (ie web browsing, emails, simple pictures, etc).

I still have that “crippled” phone and it’s the longest one I’ve ever owned. I don’t see the assumed correlation with forced obsolescence.