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Camera Comparison: Night Mode on Pixel 6 vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S21 Ultra

Camera Comparison: Night Mode on Pixel 6 vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S21 Ultra
What is the greatest phone for taking nighttime photos? Pixel 6,  iPhone 13 Pro Max, Galaxy S21 Ultra How does the Pixel 6 Pro stack up against the iPhone 13 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra? We set out on a frigid November night in search of the answer. Using the primary cameras, we shot a slew of images in night mode, showing alleyways and summer bars teeming with cats, especially at this time of year and at such a late hour. We think we’ve figured out which phone is ideal for nighttime photography after taking a lot of photographs, so check out the images and our verdict below.

On or Off for Night Mode

It’s not always a good thing that the Pixel is so heavily dependent on processors for its functionality. Even though we knew going into test that the Google Pixel would be the one to rely on so-called computation photography the most, we shot the identical picture on all three phones with night modes set on and off in order to properly appreciate how reliant the Pixel is on its night mode. Below, you’ll find the results, which are very eye-opening.

Pixel 6

Camera Comparison: Night Mode on Pixel 6 vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S21 Ultra

iPhone 13 Pro Max

Camera Comparison: Night Mode on Pixel 6 vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S21 Ultra

Galaxy S21 Ultra

Camera Comparison: Night Mode on Pixel 6 vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S21 Ultra In this image, you can clearly see that when you disable the Pixel 6 Pro’s automatic night mode feature, the photo you take comes out abysmal; the phone is nearly unable to “see” at night, and the shot you take is useless. With their automatic night mode disabled, the iPhone and the Galaxy are able to capture a very realistic image. Images taken with night mode off from these two are more accurate to what my eyes saw at the time than photos taken with night mode on. We’d say that the Pixel’s night mode is the most dramatic, and we’d also say that it lifts shadows a little too much, so you don’t get the real “night” sense. This year’s iPhone has a very subtle night mode that strives to keep the authenticity and night ambience to a far greater extent than Samsung’s or LG’s night modes do. An even darker and shadier corner serves as an excellent test case for the benefits of using night mode, as shown in the following comparison shot taken with and without the feature activated: It’s clear to me that the “night mode off” images from my iPhone and Galaxy are closer to what my eyes would perceive and thus provide a more realistic representation. Using night mode makes the photo more appealing and shareable, but it’s unrealistic in this scenario. Additional photographs are shown below when we manually disabled the night mode to compare it with the phone’s built-in night mode features.

Scene Optimizer, Night Mode, and Night

The pictures taken with the Pixel are noticeably brighter, as can be seen in the examples above. Whether you like them or not is a matter of taste, but after witnessing them, we were left with the impression that they were overly bright and unrealistic, turning night into day and detracting from the eerie atmosphere you get at night. However, even if photographs from these devices don’t quite “pop” as much, the iPhone and Galaxy are significantly more balanced in this regard. If you look closely, the Galaxy does the reverse of the Pixel and captures images that are a little too dark, whilst the iPhone appears to be the most consistent. Additionally, the iPhone has a narrower lens, while the Galaxy and Pixel both have a broader one (the iPhone has a 26mm lens vs 24mm lenses on the Galaxy and Pixel). If you’re looking for a more natural look, we like the look of the Pixel and the Galaxy over that of an iPhone because the iPhone images are artificially oversharpened. In the end, it’s difficult to pick a winner, but if you ask us, we’d choose the iPhone and Galaxy over the Pixel, which gets way too much publicity.

At night, an ultra-wide camera?

Camera Comparison: Night Mode on Pixel 6 vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S21 Ultra Camera Comparison: Night Mode on Pixel 6 vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S21 Ultra Camera Comparison: Night Mode on Pixel 6 vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S21 UltraCamera Comparison: Night Mode on Pixel 6 vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S21 UltraCamera Comparison: Night Mode on Pixel 6 vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S21 UltraCamera Comparison: Night Mode on Pixel 6 vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S21 Ultra The Galaxy’s 10X periscope lens may be the ultimate zooming champ in the daytime, but at night, you need a considerable quantity of light to even use the periscope lens. Without a 3X telephoto lens, however, the Galaxy would automatically use a digital zoom. When comparing native 4X on the Pixel and 3X on the Galaxy and iPhone, it’s clear that the iPhone comes up short, resulting in a mushy photo that you won’t want to share. Notice how much brighter the exposure is on the Pixel (again) and on the Galaxy. This is a dead heat in terms of specifics, with a slight edge going to the Galaxy. Zooming in with the iPhone at 10X will result in terrible images, whereas using the Pixel or Galaxy will yield acceptable results. As a result, the Galaxy’s native 10X periscope lens is unable to be used, and it instead uses a digital magnification from the 3X camera. When comparing the two cameras side by side, the Pixel is noticeably noisier yet offers sharper images.

Shooting photos in the dark with the Night Mode

For the Pixel, this is when it all falls apart. As a last note, I’d want to touch on the experience of photographing these subjects. When it comes to phones, this is generally a section we don’t cover because they’re all so identical. However, this time around, we have to focus on the Pixel. Unfortunately, Google’s sophisticated processing behind the scenes results in EXTREMELY sluggish capture timings at night, which is a major drawback for many. It takes a long time to shoot a long exposure on the Pixel, when other phones require you to hold the phone still for a short period of time in order to achieve the brighter colors. In the end, we weren’t able to take any pictures of folks who wouldn’t even sit still for a photo for 10 seconds! With the Pixel, this situation has gotten out of hand. Even the most patient photographers find it difficult to capture shots at night with it. Simply put, it’s difficult to endorse the Pixel. When photographing at night, a Galaxy or an iPhone provide a considerably more hassle-free photography experience.

When it comes to taking photos at night, there’s no better phone than…

They all perform an outstanding job at night, and we’re happy to report that. Despite the fact that we once considered this Pixel’s domain, we don’t believe it is any longer. When it comes to night photography, the Pixel is a nightmare to use. It’s really slow, and photographs taken with the main camera look artificially bright and unnatural. When it comes to photography, the iPhone and the Galaxy have a much more enjoyable experience than the Pixel. In addition, the colors are more accurate to night photography; you could say they are more realistic. In a photography world full of nuance, we haven’t ranked these phones, but if we had to do so, the iPhone would come out on top, followed by the Galaxy, and the Pixel, with a larger margin between the Pixel and the other two. In any case, what did you make of them? It’s up to you. Which one is your favorite.  

Orizu Augustine
Orizu Augustine is an experienced crypto writer working for Alltechcraft. Having passion for writing, he covers news articles from blockchain to cryptocurrency and iPhone and Samsung related articles.