Testing out Night scene mode on Xiaomi Mi 8

It's no Google Pixel 3 or Huawei Mate 20
Xiaomi Mi 8 Night scene sample shot

Xiaomi pushed out the latest MIUI 10 update to several of its devices recently, most notably its flagship Mi 8 series. The 288MB OTA update brings some long-awaited features including 960fps super slow-mo video recording, Night scene and Google Lens support.

If you own a Mi 8, Mi 8 Explorer Edition, or Mi 8 SE, you should probably already be running the new update.

Shooting amazing low-light shots and night scenes seems to be all the rage right now, thanks to the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and Google Pixel 3. The Mate 20 Pro truly sets the benchmark, making full use of amazing optics, artificial intelligence and some cutting-edge software wizardry to accomplish mind-blowing results.

Not to be outdone, Xiaomi’s latest MIUI 10.1.2.0 Global Stable release arms the Mi 8 with a Google Night Sight-like ability for low-light shots.

It’s a lot like how HDR (high dynamic range) works. A camera captures several exposures of the same subject over time then combines them to get a greater luminance level and wider dynamic range. This often results in better exposed photos with better detail and less artefacts and noise.

I got to bring the Mi 8, running the latest firmware for a field test. What better environment to test than the annual Putrajaya Light Festival (Lampu 2018) held at Dataran Putrajaya, Putrajaya, over the weekend.

Off the bat, you’ll notice Night scene is better than normal auto mode, and it can also be used in the day time if you’re looking for more detail in a shot.

Admittedly, overall, Xiaomi’s rendition isn’t mind-blowing like the Mate 20 Pro’s. It doesn’t have the Mate 20 Pro’s handheld long-exposure magic. In Night scene mode, the Mi 8 will take a couple of seconds to capture a scene, so do keep your hand as still as possible.

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Note that even without switching to dedicated Night scene mode, the Mi 8 will enable some sort of night mode when AI is enabled.

In general, what I found with the Mi 8 Night scene mode was that it pushes ISO up as well as lower shutter speed to let as much light in to the sensor. Nothing unusual here.

It’s a little trickery when capturing a scene like at the light festival where there’s myriad moving objects – roving lights, moving people, multiple light sources, etc. But I think the results weren’t at all bad.

As a refresher, the Mi 8 boasts a 12MP dual-camera system (f/1.8 + f/2.4 lens), the same setup that powers the new Mi MIX 3 and Mi MIX 2S. The previous generation Mi MIX 2S scored an impressive 105 points in the photo score on DxOMark. The camera system features 4-axis OIS and 2X optical zoom.

Check out some of the photos shot at Lampu 2018 and elsewhere. Shots are straight out of camera without edits, aside from watermarking. Click on the thumbnail for an expanded view.

Xiaomi Mi 8 Night scene sample shotXiaomi Mi 8 Night scene sample shot
Xiaomi Mi 8 Night scene sample shot
ISO2262, 4.22mm, f/1.8, 1/13s
ISO1024, 4.22mm, f/1.8, 1/25
Xiaomi Mi 8 Night scene sample shot
IS2450, 4.22mm, f/1.8, 1/17s
Xiaomi Mi 8 Night scene sample shot
ISO13504, 4.22mm, f/1.8, 1/10s
Xiaomi Mi 8 Night scene sample shot
ISO8928, 4.22mm, f/1.8, 1/10s
ISO2093, 4.22mm, f/1.8, 1/20s
Xiaomi Mi 8 Night scene sample shot
ISO1491, 4.22mm, f/1.8, 1/25s
ISO2081, 4.22mm, f/1.8, 1/17s
ISO1606, 4.22mm, f/1.8, 1/25s
Xiaomi Mi 8 Night scene sample shot
ISO673, 4.22mm, f/1.8, 1/35s
Xiaomi Mi 8 Night scene sample shot

What do you think of the shots?

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