Since Apple added Night mode to the iPhone 11 series, a lot of us have been praising this new camera feature. It has finally made it possible to get amazing low-light shots in complete darkness. But what if you are using an older iPhone that is sans Night mode, and don't plan on upgrading right now? Don't worry, there are some useful apps out there that will help you capture great Night mode photos without having to drop a few hundred dollars.
NeuralCam only came out recently, but it's definitely earned a spot on this list because it's one of the better options out there.
What NeuralCam does is blend computational photography and machine learning to bring the most out of your low-light photos. The app captures a certain number of frames as you hold the phone steady for a few seconds. Then it uses advanced image processing algorithms and machine learning to smartly merge the frames together and brighten up the colors, so you get a single high-quality photo.
The entire process only takes a few seconds, depending on the device that you're using. During these few seconds, you will need to hold the phone as steady as you can, so a tripod is recommended if you want the absolute best shots. The final product is an image that is clearer, brighter, sharper, more defined, and colorful.
NeuralCam works with both the rear and front-facing cameras, so you can even get great low-light selfies without resorting to using flash. The app works on all iPhones going back to the iPhone 6.
Night Camera HD
For those who want an app that can take good low-light night photos, while having some other cool features, Night Camera HD is a nice option.
With Night Camera HD, you get manual setting options for light exposure up to one second, as well as separate residual light and ISO enhancement. With these, you get clear images with less interference and noise due to the extended exposure time.
Night Camera HD also saves in high-resolution PNG format, and there are luminance, luminosity, and RGB histograms to help you see when an image would be over or underexposed. There's also a self-timer, various aspect ratios, and a full-screen mode. For those who need to zoom, there is a 6x digital live zoom.
Night Camera HD will get you some great night mode images and then some.
NightCap is another impressive app that helps you get good night photos, with or without an iPhone 11.
With NightCap, you are able to not only take low-light and night photos, but you can also record video and get 4K time-lapse videos. For astrophotographers, there is also Stars Mode, Meteor Mode, Star Trails Mode, and more, which are great for experimentation. It even allows for 4x higher ISO with the ISO Boost, so you get brighter low-light photos with less noise.
If you are wanting to try some astrophotography with your iPhone, then NightCap is a good addition that can get you potentially great photos of the stars, with nothing more than your iPhone.
While ProCam is just a great third-party camera replacement app overall, it does have an actual dedicated Night mode of its own that is comparable to what you get with an iPhone 11.
With ProCam's Night Mode, the shutter speed gets reduced to allow more light to get captured by the sensor. You'll have four shutter speed options to choose from in the options menu. As you use Night Mode in ProCam, like other apps, you'll need to hold the phone steady while it is taking the photo, which shouldn't be more than a few seconds. Otherwise, you guessed it — the result will be blurry.
Night Mode with ProCam is just one of many powerful features that the app has. Other tools you can use in ProCam include long exposure shooting mode, overexposure warnings, live histograms, 4K video recording, manual controls, focus peaking, RAW, and much more.
ProCam is definitely a powerful camera app that any budding iPhone photographer should have in their collection.
Finally, the last app that you should take a look at is Cortex Camera.
Like other apps, Cortex takes several dozen exposures in order to create a single high-resolution image that is free of noise and distortion. The exposures can be anywhere from 2-10 seconds long, depending on the low-light conditions, and need you to hold the phone steady. While a tripod is not needed, it will definitely help and is recommended if you want the best results.
Cortex Camera is also capable of other long exposure effects like motion blur and soft water. All images taken with Cortex are saved with RAW data when available, so you get maximum sharpness and detail. You can also toggle shutter priority, ISO priority, and full manual controls.
Night mode for everyone
While Apple really seems to have knocked it out of the park with Night mode on the new iPhone 11 lineup, that doesn't mean that older phones have to miss out on the fun. These apps will help you get some good low-light shots with your iPhone 6 up to your iPhone XS, and definitely cost less than a new phone.
So go on and check out these apps, and let us know which one you like best. Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments.
- How the iPhone X camera and Slow Sync Flash work
- How to use Portrait Lighting
- Camera tests: TrueDepth Portrait vs Rear Portrait
- Tips for shooting great Stage Light Portraits
- Ten tips for taking great iPhone photos
- Camera app: The ultimate guide
- Photos: The ultimate guide
- Best manual camera apps that shoot RAW for iPhone
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