The new Google Pixel 3, is a phone that shows off all the features and technologies that Google can offer. It is mostly known though for it’s amazing camera. Is the camera though, so good, that you should buy one just for that reason alone?
Most modern digital cameras rely on a lot of processing. Even your DSLR or Mirrorless camera does a lot of processing after you take the picture. Even the raw files have been edited to remove some noise and some artifacts from the sensor and the lens.
Phones, do the same thing, you take a picture and the phone tries to edit it. Samsung and Apple, do HDR processing, denoising and more as you take a picture. The result is a very clear and detailed image from a very small sensor. The latest phones, take pictures from two different cameras and combine them for even better results.
Photographers use such tricks, but not in the camera. Phones have the advantage of having incredibly fast processors. This means that they can basically do heavy editing instantly. Most modern phones do an HDR like process as you take a picture, meaning they take 3 or even more pictures when you press the button. Some of them are darker and some are overexposed. But when you merge them you can see more in the darker parts and in the brighter parts of the image. The speed of modern processors makes this process very fast.
The Pixel 3
The Pixel 3 does a lot more. First of all, it does have an amazing sensor. But it also manages to take a lot of pictures and uses algorithms that can analyse them, remove noise, enhance contrast and detail. Then it merges those pictures and the result is amazing.
Yesterday, the Night Sight mode, was made available to the Pixel 3 devices. Google had shown some pretty promising shots with this mode when they released the Pixel 3. From what we have seen, those shots can indeed be reproduced and are amazing. The phone can basically see in the dark with minimal noise.
From some of the pictures i have seen using this mode, it seems that the phone does a better job when the subject of the photo is still. When the scene has moving subjects the phone is still way ahead of the competition, but there you can see some noise. Compared to the competition it has the best pictures. More importantly it still does that with only a single sensor.
Some Huawei phones also do have great pictures, but most people agree that the processing looks more natural in the Pixel phones. Maybe it has to do with the market. In the US and EU, customers expect different picture characteristics compared to Asia, where beauty filters are selling points.
Pixel 1 and 2 will be getting this mode too. But it will probably perform a bit worse, since the hardware has aged and especially the processor needs to do a lot of work in the Night Sight mode.
Gizmodo has a great article with some sample shots if you are interested to see them. You will find a link in the sources bellow too. For more tech and science news, follow Qul Mind on Facebook and Twitter.