The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL have a ‘Night Sight’ camera mode in Google’s Camera app which does wonders in low light, and thanks to a new Google Camera mode port, that mode is now available for both the OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T. This port comes from a developer called Arnova8G2, and that developer is actually responsible for a number of previous Google Camera modes that you had a chance of using on various devices. In any case, Arnova8G2 had released a number of Pixel 3 and 3 XL camera modes thus far, but the Night Sight mode did not work on a single one of them, for devices that are not the Essential PH-1 and Xiaomi Mi 5 in some cases. Well, that mode now works on the OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T as well, as long as you download the right version of the app. This was bound to happen, as both the OnePlus 6 and 6T are now running Android 9 Pie, not to mention that both of them also run OxygenOS, which is closer to stock Android than a ton of other skins out there. You can download this camera port from the link provided below the article, just make sure to download this version -> ‘GCam_Pixel3Mod_1_build.6.1.013.apk’ that was published on November 5.
We did not have a chance to test the camera just yet, but folks over at XDA Developers did, and in the gallery down below you will notice three images. The first image was taken using OnePlus 6’s Nightscape mode which became available via the latest firmware update for the device, OxygenOS 9.0.2. The second image was taken using the Google Camera mode (with Night Sight activated) on the OnePlus 6 (the one that you can download from the provided link), and the third one was captured using the Google Pixel 3, and with a selected Night Sight option. As you can see, the Night Sight option allowed way more light into the image, compared to Nightscape, but the image is still not on par with what the Pixel 3 was able to capture, at least in this particular example, but you’ll need to take it out yourself during the night and try it out. In any case, it seems like colors are a bit off, while it’s not as well balanced as the one on the Pixel 3, but it’s possible that you’ll get different results in different scenarios. The development of this app doesn’t stop here though, so Arnova8G2 will probably improve the app further in the near future. Now, if you’d like to test this out, once you manually download the app, and install it, you will need to run it, select the ‘More’ menu, and there you will see the ‘Night Side’ option which you can select.
Background: The OnePlus 6T was announced last week, and along with the device, OnePlus also announced a number of new software features, including some camera-related ones. One of those features is a new mode called ‘Nightscape’, which is supposed to improve image quality that the phone can shoot in low light. This mode actually rolled out to the OnePlus 6 as well, in the latest firmware update, OxygenOS 9.0.2. The two devices actually have the same camera sensors, all three of them, so they should, effectively, be able to shoot the same-looking images. In any case, Nightscape is basically OnePlus’ dedicated mode for shooting pics in environments where there is not much light, but Google’s Night Sight still has the upper hand, at least based on what we’ve seen thus far. Truth be said, pictures taken with Night Sight may look a bit unreal considering how much light they’re able to pull out of the image, but that’s actually what people prefer, as it’s far better than having a picture which is underexposed. In any case, Google’s Night Sight mode actually uses hand shakiness to its advantage, as it takes a number of images and then blends them into one. The camera combines up to 15 frames in order to produce an image akin to a 5-second exposure. The thing is, Night Sight does not rely on long exposure, at least not all the way, so holding the camera perfectly still (using a tripod) to get the best shot is not a pure necessity, as it is on a number of other low light camera modes where is best to use a tripod. The OnePlus 6 and 6T probably will never be able to produce identical results as the Pixel 3 in terms of Night Sight images, but another update or two of this Google Camera port, the two devices may be able to come extremely close, though, which is something users will probably appreciate.
It is worth noting that the OnePlus 6 and 6T have a noticeably different camera setup than the Pixel 3, as the Pixel 3 relies on a single 12.2-megapixel sensor with 1.4um pixel size and an f/1.8 aperture, while the OnePlus 6 and 6T come with two cameras on the back. On these two phones, you will find 16 and 20-megapixel cameras, the first one offer 1.22um pixel size and an f/1.7 aperture, while the second sensor comes with a 1.0um pixel size, and an f/1.7 aperture. Truth be said, both devices are probably using only one sensor when shooting images in Google’s Night Sight mode, as that is the way this mode was created, so Arnova8G2 probably only optimized the app to work on a different sensor.
Impact: It’s always good to have options when it comes to taking images, that’s for sure, having two camera apps is not ideal, and OnePlus’ offering is already able to great really solid images, but if you really need that additional boost in low light, if you really need to pull out more light out of an image, and you don’t have a tripod with you, Night Sight may be your best bet. Truth be said, OnePlus will probably further tweak its Nightscape mode, and it may actually become a lot better than it is now, and may even be able to compete with Night SIght, we’ll see what happens down the road.