Last night I took my Honor 8 and Apple iPhone 7 Plus and tested low light to the extreme. At the start of the camera shootout it was already dark. At the end, I couldn’t see a thing, not even my feet. The only light that spilled into the graveyard was from a street lamp outside of the church. Plus the odd ghost or two that got captured accidentally!
So let’s get started.
7.26pm, a test shot of my local church in auto using the iPhone 7+.
The level of darkness is accurately portrayed here by the iPhone. 1/4s and ISO 125.
7.23pm, 3 mins earlier, and not as dark, the Honor 8 in auto mode shows us what is can produce below.
The Honor 8 opts for a shutter speed of 1/17s and an ISO of 1600. Every minute made a difference in these photos. At around 7.50pm it was pitch black in the church graveyard, so the available light was vanishing super fast.
However, all is not lost with the Honor 8, as the default camera app has lots of shooting modes, one of which is night mode. Just for clarity, with all of the photos, a tripod was used. Night mode is brilliant. The Honor 8 calculates how many seconds you need to take the low light/night shot and as the seconds countdown you get to see your photo develop on the screen.
The Honor 8 opted for ISO 100 and a 14 second exposure above. However, it doesn’t look like what my eyes could see. In some ways, the auto shots are more natural, even if the detail is not as strong. However, at the end, I took 3 of the Honor 8 photos and edited them in Lightroom mobile app which improved the final result.
Back to the iPhone 7 Plus. Unfortunately, the Apple default camera app does not have a special night mode, so you have to look at third party offerings. I tried 3 apps last night, ProCamera+, ProCam 4 and Nightcap Pro. ProCam 4 did a really good job and also shoots in RAW. Once the light became non existent, that is , it was near pitch black, Nightcap Pro provided the magic.
So at 7.26pm, ProCam in its night mode opted for 1/4s exposure and an ISO 400. For a comparison, the shot below was snapped with Nightcap Pro.
At 7.28pm, and less light than the shot above, Nightcap Pro opted for 1/3s and ISO 400.
So back to the Honor 8 below.
Using the night mode in the Honor 8 camera app, this was a 15s exposure with an ISO 200. The lighting around the tombstones is too bright versus what my eyes were seeing.
The shot above is also from the Honor 8 using night mode. ISO 200 and an 18s exposure. Again the brightness and colours are over the top versus what my eyes could see. However, as you will see below, Lightroom mobile improves this shot with a few quick edits.
Even darker now, and back to the iPhone 7 Plus. There is no point using the default camera on the iPhone. It is too dark unless flash is used, and I hate using flash. So the rest of the iPhone photos are taken with ProCam 4 or Nightcap Pro.
The above iPhone 7 Plus shot is taken with ProCam 4 at 7.40pm. With a 1/17s and ISO 1600. Whilst the shot looks dark, it is a perfect match to what I could actually see, and I really like the atmosphere captured.
The shot above is at 7.40pm again, but using the telephoto lens with ProCam 4 app. 1/4s and ISO 1250. Again, I really like this photo as it captured the atmosphere and the actual light and darkness.
It’s now 7.46pm. Switching to Nightcap Pro on the iPhone 7 Plus, produced the shot below.
Nightcap Pro used a 55 second exposure. ISO 3200. Moving back to the Honor 8 below.
The shot above, taken on the Honor 8 at 7.48pm was the last shot from the Honor 8. A minute later the photo quality degraded too much (although it still captured something legible). Remember at 7.48pm I couldn’t see my shoes as it was so dark. The Honor 8 used its night mode and a 51s exposure and an ISO 200. The Honor 8 night mode seems to artificially enhance the lighting and colours, so again I tweaked the photo in lightroom. Edited shot at the end.
So now its game over with the Honor 8 as its pitch black practically. All that is left is the iPhone 7 Plus and Nightcap Pro app. Its 7.52pm.
The shot above is a 107 second exposure. This could have been as long as I wanted, as Nightcap Pro allows for crazy long exposure times. Not bad at all. Now in case you have any doubt as to how dark it was, below is a shot from the iPhone using the default camera app.
As you can see above, it was crazy dark and the fact both the Honor 8 and iPhone 7 Plus were able to capture anything is a testament to just how good both cameras performed. The Honor 8’s night mode seemed to artificially alter the brightness and colours, but as you will see below, a quick edit of the white balance which can be done in any photo editing app, makes the final shot better.
As mentioned above, some of the Honor 8 night mode photos seemed unnatural due to the extreme colours versus what my eyes could see. So say hello to Lightroom mobile app, and you now have some improved shots. The main edit was the white balance in all of the shots below.
The above shot is one of my favourite of the camera shootout. Another quick edit in Lightroom mobile and another Honor 8 shot is improved below.
One more edited photo. This was so dark but again a quick edit in lightroom to improve the final result.
So my time with the ghosts in the church graveyard was plenty, plus I couldn’t see where to walk anymore without a torch. I hope you enjoyed the above comparison and more importantly, which shot is your favourite and from which phone.