Google has come up with a way to make your nighttime photos look less grainy and, frankly, substandard — but unfortunately it’s just an experiment for now.
Florian Kainz, a researcher on Google’s virtual reality software Daydream, was challenged by his colleagues to produce as good a nighttime photo with his smartphone as his professional camera.
The results are pretty good. Kainz explained in a blogpost that he developed a “simple Android camera app” that gave him manual control over exposure time, ISO (how sensitive the camera is to light), and focus distance. When Kainz took a photo, his app would record up to 64 frames in a burst. He then merged these photos to remove the usual grain you’d see in a nighttime shot.
The results look amazing, but don’t think you can replicate them any time soon. Kainz is clearly a talented photographer and, by his own admission, used a tripod and post-processing to make his photos look good. He hasn’t made the app available to the public yet.
Here’s how his photos turned out:
Here’s a shot Google researcher Florian Kainz took with a professional camera on a tripod. It shows the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Kainz wanted to see if he could take photos of a similar quality with his Google Nexus 6P and a tripod. This is what a normal nighttime shot on a 6P looked like. It’s grainy and blurred.
Kainz wrote a “simple Android app” that let him control how much light reached the camera lens. It also let him take a burst of up to 64 frames. When the images were merged together, he came up with less grainy nighttime shots.