Google's impressive 'Night Sight' camera feature rolls out today — here's how it works

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Google’s “Night Sight” feature for its Pixel smartphone cameras rolls out on Wednesday.

The feature that comes with the Pixel’s camera app is rolling out over the next few days, and anyone with a Pixel 3, Pixel 2, or original Pixel can update the camera app to receive the feature.

Night Sight is designed to take better photos in low-light conditions for both the rear and selfie cameras, which most phones simply don’t do that well.

Often, smartphone photos in dark situations end up being as dark or darker than a user’s environment. Some phones let you adjust the camera settings for better night shots, but the results can often be grainy or blurry.

I’ve been using Night Sight on the Google Pixel, and you can see the difference it makes and how it works below:


This photo was taken in a room with very little light.


The camera app will even suggest when to use Night Sight when the surrounding lighting is too dim for a good photo.

Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

You just need one or two extra taps to use Night Sight.

Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

Night Sight is an entirely different camera mode, which means you’ll need to do one or two extra taps to use it. You can either tap the “Try Night Sight” notification when it shows up, or find the “More” option in the camera app and actively select the Night Sight mode.

It’s not as seamless as pulling out a phone and taking a snap, but it’s very close, and better than adjusting the camera settings.


And depending on how much light there is around you, you and your subjects will have to stay still for a few seconds to let the Pixel’s camera capture enough light.

Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

It’s not magic. The Pixel’s camera still needs to do what all cameras need to do in low-light situations: capture enough light. For that to happen, you need to stay very still – as well as your subjects – while the phone soaks up enough light to take a low-light shot.

After you press the shutter button, a progress wheel will show up prompting you and your subjects to “Hold still” while the phone does its thing.

In better-lit situations, the “Hold still” time was much shorter than in very dark situations.


Google also has a few tips for prospective Night Sight users.

  • If you’re taking a photo of someone, ask them to hold still for a few seconds before and after you press the shutter button.
  • Hold the phone steady. If you can, try propping it against a stable surface.
  • Make sure the camera lens is clean. It can accumulate oil from fingerprints, creating blurry and soft photos.
  • Try tapping on or around your subject to help your camera focus when taking photos in very dark conditions.
  • Avoid pointing your camera at bright light sources, which may cause unwanted reflections in your photo.
  • Cameras don’t work in complete darkness, so you’ll still need some light to capture a photo.


I’ve only used the tester’s version of Night Sight, and I’d rather show you the results of the final full release version that everyone has access to.

I’ll be taking photos with the final full release version of Night Sight when it comes out and showing you the results. The tester’s version I was using may only show you what to expect, as it does with my photo above, but the final version may have even more improvements.

NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.