Photography drives smartphone technology in a variety of ways, with image signal processors, camera sensors, machine learning and other components constantly evolving in the name of better photos and videos.
While these hardware and software advances are not felt as deeply as in low light areas, tonight’s modes are essential on any phone if you want high quality images as the sun sets.
Smartphone makers have taken things a step further, and we’ve seen more specific low light modes like night portraits, night videos, light painting, and night panoramas. But there is a low-light mode that I have realized over the last few years and as special as it is, I don’t think I’d upgrade to a phone without it. Enter astrophotography mode.
Astrophotography mode: niche, yet striking
Google introduced astrophotography mode in late 2019 with the Pixel 4 series, which lets you take pictures of the night sky. The mode works by combining and aligning multiple 15-second exposures of up to four minutes to create some stunning images. Check out some examples below with the Pixel 4 and Vivo X60 Pro Plus.
It goes without saying that it is a very niche and demanding camera mode in the first place. You need a tripod, a sky with low light pollution, and one or four minutes to capture each shot. Obviously, you need more than just a normal night mode. But today’s astrophotography modes still work much less than the traditional way.
Prior to this mode, astrophotography shots require extensive editing and / or knowledge of manual camera settings. Today, the phone will automatically capture and align all the frames so that your Straker spots will not be where the stars should be.
Astrophotography modes aren’t something you use every day, but you’ll find photos that aren’t easily accessible on your phone otherwise.
I certainly found the Astro Mode images worth the effort of setting up a tripod and waiting a few minutes while on vacation. These images remind me of a tiny blue marble floating in space, showing our stars, the Milky Way, the nebula, and even satellites across the sky.
I also like the idea of astronomy, but I didn’t really bother to learn about the various constellations and events around me, so to speak. So beautiful, in addition to taking pictures of other worlds, an astro mode also helps me to know about my night sky.
How important is the astrophotography mode to you?
It is worth noting that there is a way to get astrophotography mode on the phone without the option, as this mode is often included in the unofficial ports of Google’s camera app. Although these ports are not a guarantee of a stable experience. So upgrading to a phone without mode in the hope that an unofficial port strategy will do is a bit of a gamble. It only pays to take the official route and get a phone with this mode in the first place.
Fortunately, there are several brands that incorporate astrophotography modes into their camera app. These brands include Google, Realme, Vivo and Xiaomi 7 So I’ve got my fair share of devices to choose from now that I’m thinking of an upgrade. That said, I would like to see that Samsung also offers an Astro mode on its phones. That way, I can get the S22 Ultra’s great camera setup And A niche in a device but great camera features.