Google will soon release Night Sight feature to the Google Camera app, a technology for the Pixel camera that helps you capture vibrant and detailed low-light photos without a flash or tripod.
Over the next few days, Night Sight will be coming to the front and rear cameras on all three generations of Pixel phones.
Google says that Night Sight constantly adapts to you and the environment, whether you’re holding Pixel or propping it on a steady surface. Before you press the shutter button, Night Sight measures your natural hand shake, as well as how much motion is in the scene. If Pixel is stable and the scene is still, Night Sight will spend more time capturing light to minimize noise; if Pixel is moving or there’s significant scene motion, Night Sight will use shorter exposures, capturing less light to minimize motion blur.
If your subject moves during the capture, Night Sight can adapt to prevent a modest amount of motion from ruining the shot. Instead of capturing one bright and blurry photo, Night Sight captures an equal amount of light over a burst of many photos that are dark but sharp. By merging this burst, Night Sight prevents motion blur and brightens the photo, giving you a bright and sharp photo.
Google says that Night Sight is designed to capture true-to-life photos, adapting to the various lighting conditions you’ll see at night. Using machine learning, Night Sight balances the color of your photo so that objects show their natural color at night.
If you’re taking a photo in low light, Pixel will suggest using Night Sight. You can enter Night Sight by tapping this suggestion or manually navigating to the mode. After you tap the shutter button, try to hold still until Night Sight finishes capturing the photo.
Night Sight builds on Google's multi-frame-merging HDR+ mode but takes things a few steps further, merging a larger number of frames and aiming to improve image quality in extremely low light levels between 3 lux and 0.3 lux.
One key difference between HDR+ and Night Sight are longer exposure times for individual frames, allowing for lower noise levels. HDR+ uses short exposures to provide a minimum frame rate in the viewfinder image and instant image capture using zero-shutter-lag technology. Night Sight waits until after you press the shutter button before capturing images which means users need to hold still for a short time after pressing the shutter but achieve much cleaner images.
The longer per-frame exposure times could also result in motion blur caused by handshake. This problem is solved by measuring motion in a scene and setting an exposure time that minimizes blur. Exposure times also vary based on a number of other factors, including whether the camera features OIS and the device motion detected by the gyroscope.
In addition to per-frame exposure, Night Sight also varies the number of frames that are captured and merged, 6 if the phone is on a tripod and up to 15 if it is handheld.
Night Sight will be rolling out over the next few days with an update to the Google Camera app.