- The Google Pixel 3 has the best smartphone camera, beating the iPhone XS and Galaxy Note9.
- Google uses software features like HDR+, Night Sight, and Super Res Zoom to capture amazing photos.
- The Pixel 3 even has an excellent portrait mode.
- Business Insider takes a look at the features that make the Google Pixel 3 the best smartphone camera.
Google’s Pixel phones are known for having an amazing camera. And the Pixel 3 is no exception. But, it’s not just the photo quality that’s impressive. Google introduced a ton of new features that really improve the camera experience. Here are all the features that make the Google Pixel 3 the best smartphone camera.
The secret sauce behind the Pixel’s amazing camera is Google’s HDR+. HDR+ is what gives the Pixel its incredible dynamic range. Instead of taking one photo, the Pixel takes several shots at different exposures and then combines them into one final image. This happens in the background so you don’t even have to think about it. But you can turn it off if you think the effect is too distracting.
The most discussed feature of the Pixel 3’s camera has to be Night Sight. This wasn’t available at launch, but now that it’s been released it’s one of the most impressive features of the Pixel 3. Night Sight allows you to take photos in low light without a flash. The pictures appear a lot brighter than photos taken with other phones. But it does require you to hold the phone steady for a few seconds. If you move your hands too much, the image might come out blurry. Just like HDR+, Night Sight takes several shots but at longer exposures. This allows more light to hit the camera’s sensor. The more light the sensor gets, the brighter the image can be. These multiple exposures are combined to produce one brighter image. There is less detail and more noise compared to normal photos, but when you don’t have enough light, Night Sight can really save the day.
The Pixel 3 only has one lens, but it still has a really good portrait mode. Subject separation is really accurate and the detail is great. You can even adjust the blur amount and position after you take the photo. Another neat feature Google added is called Top Shot. The Pixel camera takes what they call motion photos. It’s a lot like live photos for the iPhone, where many pictures are taken when you press the shutter. If Google thinks another picture looks better than the one you took, a suggestion will pop up. Because this happens after the fact you don’t have to think about it until you’re reviewing your photo. Unlike the iPhone, the Pixel doesn’t have a zoom lens. Instead, the Pixel uses software to improve the quality of the digital zoom. And it happens automatically when you zoom in. Another fun feature Google added is called Photobooth. Basically, when you take a selfie the camera can tell if people are smiling, and it won’t take the shot until it detects everyone is smiling.
Google also improved the AR features of the Pixel’s camera. They call it Playground. It’s fun and it works without too much lag or stuttering. If you like to add stickers and characters to your photos you’ll definitely enjoy Playground. One of the unique features of the Google camera is Google Lens. Using the power of the Google Assistant AI, Google Lens will try to detect what’s in your frame and suggest links, store websites, or related videos. The coolest features are live text copying and live translation. This next feature is actually hardware, not software. The Google Pixel 3 has an ultra-wide selfie camera. Just zoom out on the front-facing camera to get a lot more in your frame. Finally, if you’re a camera enthusiast who loves shooting RAW, you’re in luck. The Pixel 3 will let you save RAW files alongside JPEGs. By saving a RAW image you can avoid JPEG compression, and gain improved editing controls after the image is taken.
A lot of other phones have similar features, but the Pixel does each one really well. And a lot of them work in the background without requiring any extra effort. These new features combined with Google’s powerful image processing help the Pixel maintain its status as the best smartphone camera around.