Tips and Frequently Asked Questions
Use a tripod
Tripods come in all shapes and sizes, including very cheap pocket sized devices designed to hold an iPhone.
The darker it gets, the slower it gets
In very low light NightCap’s AI assisted focusing helps (you’ll see “AI FOC” at the top of the screen) for fast, reliable focusing. You can manually adjust the focus by simply sliding your finger left and right near the bottom of the picture.
No camera works in complete darkness
If it’s still too dark, you’ll have to use the flash or other lighting.
How can I get better focus in very low light?
When to use Night Mode or Light Boost
Night Mode slows the camera down, giving the camera more time to capture more light. It’s only available for video (it’s automatically enabled by AI for photos). Night Mode produces brighter, less grainy video. It reduces the smoothness of the video recording to accomplish this.
Where possible it uses a special camera mode too. This isn’t available on all devices, but where available it uses a special lower resolution camera mode that provides much better performance in low light.
Use Light Boost when your shot looks a little dark, or when you want to brighten shadowed areas.
Light Boost simply boosts brightness. There is no downside to using it, and it’s available for both photo and video.
When to use extended exposure (Star) modes
This produces a natural long exposure effect – moving objects show motion blur, and you’ll get very very low noise levels. Use for:
- Low noise photos in low light
- Motion blur
Light trails mode (extended star)
This preserves the brightest parts of anything moving. Use for:
These modes are designed to help you photograph stars, star trails, meteors and the International Space Station. They set the camera up for you automatically, and also show a popup explaining how they work before you start the shot.
Which iPhone is best for low light photography with NightCap Camera
In bright light, the latest iPhone model is almost always the best, but that changes in very low light (for example when photographing the stars).
This is because newer phones may have more megapixels, meaning smaller pixels that absorb less light, or a shorter maximum exposure time limiting the amount of light the camera can collect.
As a rough guide, in the very darkest conditions these are the best iPhone models (best first):
- iPhone XS / XS Max and XR
- iPhone 8 / 8 Plus and iPhone X
- iPhone 6 / 6 Plus and iPhone 7 / 7 Plus
- iPhone 5S
- iPhone 6s / 6s Plus and iPhone SE
- iPhone 5
The iPhone XS / XS Max and XR perform best in low light. Please note that with these models iOS 12.2 or later is required for best performance.
Read our tutorials to learn more!
Frequently asked questions
Why does it take so long to focus?
In very low light the AI assisted focusing will activate automatically, making focusing quick and reliable. If needed there’s also full manual control, so you can simply slide your finger left and right near the bottom of the camera view to adjust focus.
Why isn't Night Mode available for photos?
When should I use the flash?
If you’re shooting something further away, or you want the background to be visible or you want to capture natural lighting, turn the flash off.
What's the difference between standard photos and Long Exposure mode?
That means the “camera” exposure time is limited, but you can get much longer exposures in practice. It also means that you can take long exposures in daylight without needing any camera filters.
In Long Exposure it doesn’t get brighter like it does on a traditional camera, because that quickly blinds the camera and you don’t actually gain much light sensitivity. Instead, the technique we use reduces image noise while preserving detail, so you can use much higher ISO than normal in low light (you’ll get decent quality shots even at ISO 4000). You’ll also get long exposure effects like blurring for anything moving past the camera.
How do I photograph the moon?
Why is access to the camera / microphone / photo library / location required?
Camera and Photo Library: Access to these is required when you first open the app. It can’t work without access to the camera, and without access to the photo library it can’t save or display photos or videos.
Microphone: Access is required for recording video (without it the video will have no sound). This is requested when you first use video mode. If you refuse access, videos will be recorded without sound.
Location: Only required if you turn on geo-tagging in the settings. This tags your photos and videos with the location you took them at, allowing you to search for photos by place or view them on a map.
We don’t use these features for anything other than making the app work, and we have no access to any of your data at all. NightCap Camera doesn’t need or use an internet connection.
Why is infinite (100) focus slightly blurry?
However, because the camera in every iPhone is slightly different, the AI needs to learn about your camera before it’s perfect. As it learns, it improves, and focusing gets more and more accurate.
You can help it to learn quickly by using NightCap Camera outdoors in daylight. Doing so helps the AI to quickly learn the exact properties of your camera so it knows exactly how to get best focus.
Can I use the volume button, headphones or bluetooth remote to take photos?
Photos or videos appear rotated when they're saved
NightCap Camera is crashing, what should I do?
Remember to tell us what iPhone or iPad model you are using and try to describe what happens. This will help us to find out what the problem is and get it fixed quickly.
Is an Android version available?
Supporting Android really wouldn’t be practical because of the wide range of devices, and not all Android devices are capable of running the app. As a small company it’s not viable in terms of resources and development costs so we’re not planning an Android version at the moment.