Night Mode and New Cameras in iPhone 11 and 11 Pro Shown Off

Apple's iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro models both feature upgraded camera systems with some impressive new capabilities, including a Night Mode that's designed to use Apple's machine learning and hardware to significantly improve photos captured in low light.

The feature, which is similar to the Google Pixel's Night Sight mode, was shown off by Apple on stage, but real-world photos have also surfaced today.

Apple's Night mode demo shot

Canadian model and Nomad Management Modeling Agency founder Coco Rocha recently tweeted a night time shot that compares performance between the ‌iPhone 11‌ and the iPhone X.


The photos show a drastic difference, with the ‌iPhone 11‌ shot preserving the full content of the image while the iPhone X produces a photo that's too dark to be usable.

The ‌iPhone 11‌, ‌iPhone 11 Pro‌, and iPhone 11 Pro Max all support ‌Night Mode‌, which is designed to work without the flash to produce natural, bright photos in low light. A key component of the new ‌Night Mode‌ is the updated Wide camera sensor present in both iPhones.

‌Night Mode‌ is activated automatically when it's needed, and Apple has outlined how it works. When you capture a ‌Night Mode‌ image, the camera takes multiple pictures in a row while utilizing optical image stabilization to steady the lens.

From there, the iPhone's software aligns images to correct for movement, discards sections with too much blur, and fuses sharper images together. Contrast is adjusted for balance purposes, and colors are fine-tuned to look natural. Noise reduction is employed and details are enhanced to produce the final images.

On Instagram, Apple has also been sharing photos that demonstrate the different camera modes available in the ‌iPhone 11 Pro‌ and Pro Max, both of which feature triple-lens camera setups.


These shots demonstrate the capabilities of the telephoto, wide, and ultra wide-angle lenses, with the latter lens being the new option.

The ‌iPhone 11‌ has a dual-lens camera setup with a wide-angle and ultra wide-angle lens, so while it can do much of what the ‌iPhone 11 Pro‌ can do, it lacks the telephoto lens and the 2x optical zoom that comes with it.


All of the new iPhones support Portrait mode (and in the 11, you can take portraits of non-people, which wasn't possible with the XR), next-generation Smart HDR, Portrait Lighting, and will soon have a new Deep Fusion feature that Apple says will use pixel-by-pixel processing to optimize for texture, details, and noise.

The new iPhones will go on sale starting tomorrow, September 13, with pre-orders set to kick off at 5:00 a.m. Pacific Time. An official launch will follow on Friday, September 20.

Related Roundups: iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro

Top Rated Comments

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10 weeks ago

Still don't really get the idea of taking photos in the dark. Great photography requires great use of light. Not shooting pictures in a bar.

Don’t be “that guy”. People want to live life. They want to capture moments. They don’t want to be oh let’s not take these pictures in a bar because they light is just not “quite right“. The whole smart phone camera revolution made it so those spur of the moment pictures look a thousands times better than they use to (I’m talking about every brand not just Apple). That’s a good thing.
Rating: 43 Votes
10 weeks ago

Still don't really get the idea of taking photos in the dark. Great photography requires great use of light. Not shooting pictures in a bar.


A 1.4 lens can turn moonlight into daylight but better, because the light is different.

And in any case, sometimes the best photography is with a camera that works with the light you have.
Rating: 27 Votes
10 weeks ago

Still don't really get the idea of taking photos in the dark. Great photography requires great use of light. Not shooting pictures in a bar.

So you’re saying the secret to great bar pictures is to set up lights? Or recreate the bar in a studio?

I like the idea of taking decent pics in a variety of circumstances where the only equipment I have with me is the phone in my pocket.
Rating: 20 Votes
10 weeks ago
Still don't really get the idea of taking photos in the dark. Great photography requires great use of light. Not shooting pictures in a bar.
Rating: 16 Votes
10 weeks ago

Still don't really get the idea of taking photos in the dark. Great photography requires great use of light. Not shooting pictures in a bar.


Because god forbid someone might want to take a picture that doesn't qualify as art.
Rating: 14 Votes
10 weeks ago

Still don't really get the idea of taking photos in the dark. Great photography requires great use of light. Not shooting pictures in a bar.


I don't think you know much about photography.

Great photography is making the best of what you have, anywhere.
Rating: 13 Votes
10 weeks ago
Looks nice. The google-equivalent seems to often make it almost like there’s daylight. This seems more like when you pull details out of black in photoshop using a high-dynamic range camera like the a7s.
Rating: 13 Votes
10 weeks ago

Still don't really get the idea of taking photos in the dark. Great photography requires great use of light. Not shooting pictures in a bar.


The idea is... well more like an example would be... I'm out at a night out with friends, drinking and having a good time and feel like I need to document a moment even if in a dark dingy bar.
Rating: 10 Votes
10 weeks ago

Are you familiar with how Night Mode works? It takes several exposures and merges them together, resulting in a brighter image in which anything moving ends up blurred. Hence my skepticism that this was Night Mode, since the moving subject is not blurred.

Not only do I know how it works, but I'm also a photographer (who has edited using similar techniques manually) and work as a developer and read a lot about computational photography so I probably understand how it works on a deeper level than most people.

Apparently you don't know how it works. I don't usually call people out like this, but you called me out on this without even knowing the facts yourself. I'll allow Apple to explain:


Night mode comes on automatically when needed — say, in a candlelit restaurant. When you tap the shutter, the camera takes multiple images while optical image stabilization steadies the lens.

Then the camera software goes to work. It aligns images to correct for movement. It discards the sections with too much blur and fuses sharper ones. It adjusts contrast so everything stays in balance. It fine-tunes colors so they look natural. Then it intelligently de-noises and enhances details to produce the final image.


Emphasis is mine. They use ML for everything. I'm sure that in the parts that have movement, which they discard, they are applying ML to fill in the details and de-noise so those parts don't look too weird from being boosted. Basically the neural network has enough good data from the parts that aren't moving that it can bring up the parts that are moving (and therefore don't have enough usable exposure info to do noise stacking or expose for shadow detail) to make it look natural with the rest of the scene. But I wouldn't be surprised if you pixel peeped moving objects if they don't look quite as good up close. On Instagram though? Perfect.

People truly underestimate the power of computational photography. It's a game changer to the fullest extent of that phrase. They are doing things on the fly that might take an expert dozens of minutes to hours to get right with careful preparation and editing. And they do it in a fraction of a second. It's nuts. I can't believe how many people I saw who were upset that they weren't adding this for the XS. It's a lot of processing power! Good thing the iPhone 11 Pro has much longer battery life and faster CPU and neural engine.
Rating: 9 Votes
10 weeks ago

Still don't really get the idea of taking photos in the dark. Great photography requires great use of light. Not shooting pictures in a bar.


You really can't imagine wanting to quickly capture a special moment in a low-light situation? Do you really think every photo must be "great photography" to be valuable and meaningful? And you can't imagine such low-light moments happening outside the context of a bar? You need to get out of the house and/or bar more.
Rating: 8 Votes

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