One of the most jaw-dropping features Google showed off at its 10/9 event was that of “Night Sight.” The Pixel 3 camera feature made huge promises for improving low-light photography, but it also wasn’t set to roll out for a while after the phone shipped. Now, thanks to a modded app, we’ve been able to take Night Sight for a spin, and the results are pretty impressive.

To get it working, there’s a modified APK (courtesy of XDA-Developerswhich works on all three generations of Pixels (note: no Visual Core requirement). You’ll have to install it at your own risk, but we’ve spent the past day with the app installed to test out the new Night Sight mode. Obviously, Google’s full rollout of the feature may differ slightly, but the results so far are astounding.

Google has yet to detail exactly how Night Sight works aside from mentioning that it uses “Machine Learning.” If it’s anything like Huawei’s night mode, it likely gathers a few shots at different exposures and merges them into a final, vastly improved shot. Regardless of how, Night Sight manages to gather much more light in a single shot. The comparisons below speak for themselves, with far more light throughout each shot and a lot more detail as well.

The best way I can explain what Night Sight does is that it makes the image appear like a dark scene would to the human eye. It’s truly impressive.

Some cases work far better than others, as you’ll see below, but regardless, what Google’s doing here is impressive. I did all of my testing on a Pixel 3 XL, but Night Sight does work, at least on this modified APK, on all Pixel devices. A full-size gallery is available here.

Pixel 3 camera (Left) vs Pixel 3 w/ Night Sight (Right)

To access Night Sight within the Google Camera app, you can use the “More” section of the mode slider. Another option is to let the camera app automatically detect a dark scene and give you a quick shortcut to switch modes. You’ll need a steady hand for the best results, but with Google’s AI prowess at work, I’ve not had a shot come out poorly yet. You can check out the full process in the video below.

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Ben Schoon

Ben is a writer and video producer for 9to5Google.

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