Google software engineer Florian Kainz has devised an app for taking DSLR-quality nighttime photos with one’s cell phone. Building on the work of his co-worker’s SeeInTheDark app, Florian built an app that can manually regulate his phone’s exposure time, ISO, and focus distance.

“How far can we go? Can we take a cellphone photo with only starlight – no moon, no artificial light sources nearby, and no background glow from a distant city?”

Setting focus distance to infinity, ISO to 2800, and taking 64 bursts of 2-second photos, Florian was able to achieve some incredible shots, examples of which can be found here.

Darkness reigns.

Still, at 9 to 10 Mpixels, the resolution was relatively low. It also required a tripod and lots of careful post-processing, a procedure, Florian admits, “too cumbersome for all but the most dedicated cellphone photographers.”

Nevertheless, this is hopeful news for those of us trying to point-and-click in our favorite nighttime hangouts. Read Florian’s full write-up here.