Photographer calls iPhone 11’s Night mode a game-changer

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Night Mode
Night mode will revolutionize iPhone photography.
Photo: Austin Mann

The iPhone 11 Pro brings what might just be the best camera ever to ship with a smartphone. Travel photographer Austin Mann, who took the iPhone 11 Pro for a spin this week, lavishes praise on the new Night mode.

It’s so good, in fact, that he thinks it will “completely change how everyone shoots on their iPhone.”

Praise for iPhone 11 Pro Night mode

Publishing his initial thoughts on the iPhone 11 Pro, Mann wrote:

“One thing I love about Apple’s approach to Night mode is the strategic balance of solving a technical problem while also caring deeply about artistic expression. It’s clear their team didn’t take the let’s-make-night-look-like-day approach, as some of their competitors have. Instead, it feels more like an embrace of what it actually is (night) while asking, ‘How do we capture the feel of this scene in a beautiful way?'”

Mann calls Night mode the biggest leap forward for iPhone photography since panoramic mode, which Apple introduced with the iPhone 5. “It’s the first time in a long time I’ve looked at an image and said to myself ‘wow, I can’t believe I shot this with my phone,'” he writes.

iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro: Killer cameras

The iPhone 11 Pro packs three cameras in the distinctive bump on its backside: one telephoto, one wide and one ultra-wide. The larger iPhone Pro Max uses that same configuration, while the more affordable iPhone 11 comes with two cameras (omitting the telephoto).

All three models feature Apple’s powerhouse A13 Bionic chip with a Neural Engine, along with software that fuels eye-catching new capabilities. When Apple unveiled the iPhone 11 lineup last week, Apple VP Phil Schiller said the combination of advanced hardware and cutting-edge software enables “computational photography mad science.”

Capture Outside the Frame is great, too

Well-known travel shooter Mann put all that photographic firepower to the test in China. He said he likes the iPhone 11 Pro’s new Capture Outside the Frame feature. It works like this: If you’re shooting with the wide lens, the iPhone Pro will also capture the image from the ultra-wide lens. You get to decide later which version of the image you like best.

The iPhone 11 Pro gives you options
The iPhone 11 Pro gives you options.
Photo: Austin Mann

Mann does, however, think Apple could do a better job with the camera’s software interface.

“I didn’t love the live preview of what’s outside my frame. When working on a tripod and meticulously composing an image, I sometimes had trouble looking at the frame for the visual balance of what was actually IN the frame, instead of being distracted by what is just outside of the frame.”

There’s a lot more to check out in his iPhone 11 Pro camera review, which is also full of stunning images.

Ultimately, Mann thinks this is a year to upgrade for anyone who is serious about iPhone photography. So much for that boring incremental update some people were worried about!