Quick Comparison: Pixel 4 vs. iPhone 11 at Night

[Please note: I don’t work on the Pixel team, and these opinions are just those of a guy with a couple of phones in hand, literally shooting in the dark.]

In Yosemite Valley on Friday night, I did some quick & unscientific but illuminating (oh jeez) tests shooting with a Pixel 4 & iPhone 11 Pro Max. I’d had fleeting notions of trying some proper astrophotography (side note: see these great tips from Pixel engineer & ILM vet Florian Kainz), but between the moon & the clouds, I couldn’t see a ton of stars. Therefore I mostly held up both phones, pressed the shutter button, and held my breath.

Check out the results in this album. You can see which camera produced which images by tapping each image, then tapping the little comment icon. I haven’t applied any adjustments.

Overall I’m amazed at what both devices can produce, but overall I preferred the Pixel’s interpretations. They were darker, but truer to what my eyes perceived, and very unlike the otherworldly, day-for-night iPhone renderings (which persisted despite a few attempts I made to set focus, then drag down the exposure before shooting).

Check out the results, judge for yourself, and let me know what you think.

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Oh, and for a much more eye-popping Pixel 4 result, check out this post from Adobe’s Russell Brown:

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