In this part of the Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone test, I would like to reveal a night photography feature, which has been widely developed in this device.
First of all let’s through very basic and common photography, which is provided by Photo and Square mode. If you don’t know what modes I am writing about, refer to the 1st part of my article. A Xiaomi Mi 8 enables us to take photos in 4 options, from which 3 of them are commonly known and there is no point to elaborate about them. You can take photos without flash, with automatic flash and with flash turning on. That’s fair enough. It’s good to keep your camera tidy, otherwise, your images taken under floodlit conditions will be fuzzy in places (Pic. 3).
Anyway, in my opinion, the flash could work better in this device. Once you are taking a picture with flash, you can see some brightening in the top left corner of the frame, where flash is located. It can be disturbing, however, it doesn’t impact your image so much, when you are capturing a distant object (Pic. 4).
In the case of closer objects this issue is more discernable, making a photo literally out of question (Pic. 5). Although I believe, that you may have a better effect than mine. I was taking these photos under misty conditions, so possibly this is a culprit of the general quality.
Aside from these common night photography options, there is another one, the most interesting. This is a torch in order to bright up your area under low light conditions, which is a really good altitude.
The torch will be useful when the photographed object is close enough to the user (Pic. 8). You need to gauge the distance on your own, taking into account some external lights around like street lamps, etc. In my opinion, the maximum distance, when the torch will be really useful is about 5-7 m.
Another fact is, that all this stuff you can use when doing some zoom. Read my previous part of this article on how to do it. Unfortunately due to low light conditions is harder to set a proper focus. Even, when you will get some tripod, the images can be quite noisy. However they look still far better, than those, taken by cheaper smartphones (Pic. 9-10).
To be honest zoom, bigger than 2x may not be really useful at night conditions. Pictures zoomed more than 4x may be a nightmare.
A basic thing in zoomed pictures is autofocus, which can be not accurate enough in low light conditions. Sometimes you even cannot block it, when the device is not sure of the sharpness of the objects beyond. For this purpose, you can switch the “Peak on” option, available for Manual mode only. The “Peak on” option shows you the brightest objects in the frame, which can work as an autofocus reference for the device. In places, where the red dot density is the lowest is really hard to set autofocus (Pic. 11).
When you are pretty much confident about your autofocus (the device will “tell you” about it, when a yellow circle disappears), then you can start doing decent photos for sure. Next to the typical photos, you can make panoramic ones too, which is an interesting option not only in daylight conditions but also during the night. The process is exactly the same as during daylight conditions (Pic. 12). However, you must be more careful and not rush, because the sharpness can be lost quickly due to longer exposure, which in the night conditions is required. Moreover, you can have visible borders between the stitches, as discussed previously (Pic. 13).
In general, the panoramic photos taken during the night can be quite noisy, but if you have enough time to keep your device in slow motion, then you can make a pretty good image. Bear in mind, that as same as during the daylight you can also use a 2x zoom feature for night panoramas (Pic. 15, 16). I this case the aperture and ISO is lower, making the picture a bit darker, but prevents from losing sharpness (Pic. 14).
There all things necessary to raise up in terms of standard pictures taken in low light conditions. If you want to make a better, more extravagant night pictures, the device allows you for it, although the tripod is needed. To be honest it cannot be a standard phone tripod, like mine, because the mount is quite uncomfortable (Pic. 17, 18).
On top of that this is quite high risk, that your smartphone will pop out in the meantime. As long as you have placed it above some soft surface, like grass or not high above the ground, it is fine. In the worst-case scenario, you will damage your phone. Better buy a proper tripod, as proposed in the links at the bottom.
When you set your tripod properly, then you can try to make a decent night pictures with longer exposure. If you read my 1st part of the article, then you know more about the exposure, aperture and ISO options offered by Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone.
I just would like to remind, that maximum exposure is 32s and max. ISO 3200, which is amazing. Now see a few examples of night images below:
The Xiaomi Mi 8 6GB 128GB Global version is also good for astrophotography. Unfortunately, I couldn’t test it properly due to the high light pollution in the city centre. Anyway device is capable to take a decent picture of stars and constellations. Below I have prepared a small comparison between the ISO value featured by this device. Up to 800, your pictures will be fine. When your iso is 1600 and 3200, then you may have your pictures a bit noisy (Pic. 28).
Now let’s through some example photos, as I have done recently. If you decide to do a night sky picture with 32s exposure, bear in mind, that stars will look like dashes because the sky is in motion (Pic. 29).
In my opinion, Xiaomi Mi 8 6GB 128GB (Global version) smartphone works really fine under low light conditions. This device offers you a wide spectrum of night photography from common photos through night panoramas, even to astrophotography. If you get a proper tripod, then you will take better pictures than me.
- Tripod & selfie sticker for Xiaomi smartphones
- Original selfie sticker for Xiaomi smartphone
- Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite tripod mount