Is it a good night mode to shoot the night brightly?

Once upon a time, self-priming large exhaust was the mainstream of performance cars, and the nonlinear acceleration of turbocharged made people less fun to drive.

▲ Jeremy Clarkson. Picture from: motoroids.com

The unobstructed "gorilla" Clarkson even bluntly stated in the show, "Turbocharger is for the weak."

But with the maturity of turbocharging technology, under the same fuel consumption, internal combustion engines with turbines have higher power and torque output. In other words, turbocharged engines have a better price/performance ratio, both in terms of engine costs and fuel costs.

▲ Golf GTI is called "the best steel gun in the world" by Jeremy. Image from: randystern.net

Even though Clarkson looked down on the small row of turbines so much in the show, he still failed to stop his favorite golf GTI, and failed to escape the law of true fragrance.

▲ The comparison at the Pixel 3 conference, I didn’t look at the pictures of the iPhone, and thought it was daytime.

When Google released the Pixel 3 in 2019, it compared low-light photos with the iPhone XS in order to promote the Pixel's Night Sight (night vision mode).

Judging from the proofs, the iPhone XS presents a typical naked-eye photo, while the Pixel 3 proofs look like daylight.

Later, Google Marketing Vice President Marvin Chow shared a set of more exaggerated comparisons. iPhone XS is still to restore the atmosphere of the naked eye, while Pixel 3 relies on "algorithms" to show more details, a bit like a picture of our brains.

(Of course, from the current point of view, the Pixel 3 picture is not so qualified, and the face is too iron.)

Stepping into the iPhone of computational photography, the stylization is more prominent

In Aifaner's " iPhone Photographing "Left"? "In the article, iPhone camera development was divided into four stages, iPhone~iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4~iPhone 6, iPhone 7~iPhone XS, iPhone 11~now.

▲ Enter the iPhone 11 series of computational photography. Picture from: TheVerge

The most recent watershed was the iPhone 11 series, and in terms of functionality, it was actually the beginning of the iPhone’s shift to computational photography. That is, on the iPhone 11 series, the "night" mode has also become a key upgrade point for the camera at that time.

▲ Night mode at the limit. Picture from: 9to5Mac

Before the iPhone 11, the iPhone's camera style was restoring, faithfully recording what you saw with the naked eye. After the iPhone 11, it has been relatively "radical" a lot, and its stylization has become more obvious.

The most obvious change is the "Night" mode. The result is more like the Pixel 3 at that time. It relies on the increase of the processor's computing power, lengthens the shutter, and shoots multiple pictures at once, noise reduction, alignment, and finally synthesis into one photo. .

Similar to the previous iPhone in the era of non-computational photography, which advocated the idea of ​​turning it on, the "night algorithm" is also automatic. It does not require the user to think, just press the shutter, and the rest is left to the camera.

This is somewhat similar to the shooting scenery tour of the "Elderly Photography Group". After setting up the camera at the golden position in front of the snow-capped mountains, the "group leader" will shout with a loudspeaker, aperture F16, ISO 100, shutter 5s, white balance 5000K, press the shutter when you are ready.

With such an operation, everyone will shoot a nearly perfect scenery blockbuster.

▲ Accessories are rarely used in daily life, and more are taken casually. Picture from: pexels.com

But unlike the above-mentioned "landscape" limitation of grandpas and aunts, the iPhone is a device for taking photos with a wide range of subjects. Relying on the machine to recognize the scene to determine the three elements of taking pictures will bring a lot of problems.

One is "things go against one's wishes", and the other is "transitory."

▲ This is not the case with the naked eye (of course you still need to wipe the lens clean before shooting). Picture from: Macrumors

The "Night" mode has its own formula. The elongated shutter will brighten the overall picture. If you prefer the dark style of night, the automatic night mode will hardly show the dark style.

The shutter is also elongated, and the ability to freeze the "moment" becomes weak, making it difficult to complete the task of recording the moment.

▲ Picture from: Mashable

Perhaps after listening to users’ suggestions, Apple set a switch for the "night" mode in the iOS 15 Beta version. After turning off in the camera settings, turning on the camera again will remain closed, similar to the setting of "Live Photo".

Compared with Smart HDR and Deep Fusion, the iPhone's night mode effect is more obvious, and the stylization is more prominent.

Don't make night mode as a "night vision device"

Originally speaking from the traditional optical point of view, the "small bottom" of a smartphone is difficult to get a dark light photo with sufficient effect. But from the perspective of "computational photography", there are no small sensors, only algorithms that are not powerful enough.

From Pixel's Night Sight to iPhone's night mode, it is not a simple extension of the shutter. In fact, it is closer to the HDR algorithm, where multiple shots are continuously shot for synthesis, the highlights are reduced and the dark parts are reduced, and then the color is restored.

Similar to the early HDR algorithm, the brightness of the photo will be deliberately increased in order to please the eye in the current night scene mode, which is like a layer of unrealistic filter.

▲ Austin Mann used iPhone 11 Pro's "Night Mode" to shoot. Picture from: Apple

But shooting the night scene brightly and showing all the details does not mean that the "night scene" function is good enough. The charm of night scenes, or the charm of images, is the restoration and presentation of light and shadow. With the light and shade of light and shadow, a photo shows enough texture.

The clues can also be seen from the winning works in the "Night Mode" contest organized by Apple. Almost all of the award-winning works set off the low-light environment, while also controlling the overall staggered light and shadow. Obviously, some creators have suppressed the highlights in order to obtain a silhouette and dark tone atmosphere.

▲ Konstantin Chalabov used iPhone 11 Pro to shoot. Picture from: Apple

However, compared with these general aesthetic perceptions, manufacturers prefer to increase the brightness of the photos with the algorithm adjustment of the night scene mode, taking the evening into the day and the night into the evening.

With the maturity of computational photography algorithms, it is almost difficult to open the gap in the restoration of the scenery under the sun, and the night scene capability has become a battlefield for widening the gap between products.

Therefore, in order to be able to set off a sufficiently powerful night scene performance, the "night vision"-like night shooting effect is more conducive to comparison with the opponent, just like the previous Pixel 3 compared to the iPhone XS, and it is also more conducive to spreading.

Just as Marvin Chow, Google's vice president of marketing, commented on Night Sight that "photos tell you everything." Bright enough photos are enough to show the night scene performance.

▲ Picture from: cnet

Including moving images, the rules of images are almost always developed from shooting to free creation. The same is true for computational photography represented by night mode.

So, now it’s enough to turn the night into a daytime "night" mode. It’s time to gradually turn to the real-life night scene with interlaced light and shadow.

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