This is a watershed moment for me: After 11+ years of shooting on iPhones & Canon DSLRs, this is the first time I’ve shot on an Android device that plainly outshines them both at something. Night Sight on Pixel 3 blows me away.
First, some important disclaimers:
- I work at Google & get to collaborate with the folks responsible for this tech, but I can take no credit for it, and these are just my opinions & non-scientific findings.
- I’m not here to rain on anybody’s parade. My iPhone X is great, and the 70D has been a loyal workhorse. I have no plans to ditch either.
- The 70D came out in 2013, and it’s obviously possible to get both a newer DSLR & a lens faster than my 24-70mm f/2.8.
- It’s likewise possible to know a lot more about manual exposure than I do. I went only as far as to choose aperture priority, crank the exposure wide open, and set ISO to Auto.
Having said all that, I think my results reasonably represent what a normal-to-semi-savvy person would get from the various devices. Here’s what I saw:
- Pixel 3 vs. 70D shots (set one, set two), all unedited. CR2 files from the 70D got converted to JPEG using default processing in Lightroom. In many cases the 70D struggled to focus (whereas the Pixel never did), so some of its shots are soft as well as dark.
- Pixel 3 vs. 70D vs. iPhone X shots, all unedited.
- 70D raw default vs. Lightroom-adjusted vs. Pixel 3. I tried to find the best balance I could between noise & sharpness.
- Full gallery from the car show. If you click on each image, you can see which device I used to capture it.
- Pixel 3 vs. iPhone X on a separate evening. With a few subjects (e.g. this one) I tried taking an iPhone shot with default (auto) exposure, then one with exposure manually cranked up, and finally one with Pixel 3 Night Sight. Here’s another triplet. Regrettably I didn’t think to try shooting raw on either phone.
- Neon signs shot with Pixel 3 & iPhone X.
What do you think?
By the way, Happy New Year! Here’s an animation created last night by shooting a series of Night Sight images, then combining them in Google Photos & finally cropping the output in Photoshop.
PS—I love the Queen-powered “Flash!” ad showing Night Sight: