Google Pixel 3 Camera review
Camera Performance - 10/10
Camera App - 8.4/10
Camera Features - 9/10
Video Performance - 9.6/10
Image Quality - 9.5/10
If you are looking for the best camera performance phone along with durability then Pixel should be in your pocket.
- Portrait mode
- Nightlight performance
- Motion Image capture
- UHD support
- Lens Integration
- Bokeh effect
- No Manual mode
- UHD only supports 30 fps
Multiplying the lenses in a smartphone is now the trend, first, dual camera, then tri-camera and now it becomes enough when four camera smartphone start existing in the market. Just think what would be the next, is our smartphone backside is full of camera lenses, one day. Needless to say, never. And that has shown by the recently launched Google Pixel 3 smartphone. For example, nature has given us only two eyes but far better than any camera.
In the current smartphone market, most high-end rear camera integrates two lenses like iPhone XS; three can be seen in Huawei P20 Pro and LG V40 like smartphones and for four you can look at the recently launched Samsung 2018 Galaxy A9. But what makes, Google’s bet on a single camera design and be so confident that “the quality of one of their single rear camera is better than the multiple cameras”. Also, it is worth to point out that the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL front-facing cameras consist of dual 8-megapixel cameras.
Mobile phone manufacturers, including Samsung and Apple, typically configure a dual camera config. for the higher-end models (rear cameras). For example, the Galaxy S9 rear camera contains only one 12 megapixel camera, while the Galaxy S9 Plus rear camera includes two cameras; the Apple iPhone XR rear has only one camera, and the iPhone XS series there are two cameras on the rear side. However, the 5.5-inch Pixel 3 and the 6.3-inch Pixel 3 XL are identically configured with a 12.2-megapixel camera, and the more expensive models have no advantage in terms of the camera. Google’s Pixel 3 rear camera only “needs” one camera module to show the power of its software. With its seemingly unlimited resources, Google is far ahead of other mobile phone manufacturers in advanced photo processing technology. However, before getting deep into the Google Pixel 3 camera features and photo samples, let’s talk a bit more on the smartphone camera.
Samsung Galaxy A9 rear camera contains 4 cameras along with good battery and better image quality in low light conditions. Additional features such as portrait photos, dramatic lighting effects, wide-angle selfies, scene detection using artificial intelligence technology, etc. Such features present in the Samsung A9 could help the mobile phone manufacturers stand out in the market competition, but not too far away from their opponents.
There are several reasons why the mobile phone rear camera integrates the second and third cameras. Many mobile phones are equipped with a telephoto camera lens that adds depth of field to portrait photos and improves the quality of the image while zooming in on the subject. The monochrome camera allows users to take black-and-white photos without using any filters, or add more detail to color photos. The Huawei P20 Pro rear camera includes such three cameras configuration.
In the three cameras of the LG V40 rear camera, each camera can take a photo at the same time, from which users can choose their favorite photos. This is more of a software gimmick, and the actual meaning is not great.
In addition to the “Depth of Field Camera”, the telephoto camera and the 24 megapixels “main camera”, the Samsung Galaxy A9 rear camera also has a super wide-angle camera lens to capture wide scenarios; comprised the all and it will become a four lenses setup.
Now come to the Google Pixel, it offers more or enhanced modes such as Super Res Zoom uses multiple photos to create an enlarged photo; portrait mode allows users to finely adjust focus, depth of field and color saturation.
When the Animation or Motion mode is turned on, Top Shot can be selected by the user to get the best…
When shooting in low light, no need to use flash and the image quality is still quite good as compared to the previous generation Pixel 2. To take the brightness and image quality to the next step, Google soon will release a feature via OTA update known as “Night Sight“.
While writing this article Google yet have not released the Night Sight update but soon it will. However, the xda-developers used the modded Google camera app to test this feature before its launch and it really unbelievably improved the light intensity without creating too much grains.
Here is one sample which has taken from the XDA. We will also test and post the samples as soon as it officially rolled out the by the Google because that would much better in terms of performance.
In particular, artificial intelligence and machine learning are two advanced technologies using by the Google in their smartphones that enable it to make their own decisions such as increasing the brightness of photos taken in dark weather conditions. And eventually, this is the secret behind the Pixel 3 and 3 XL single cameras.
Of course, despite Google mend its single rear camera so powerful with a perfect amalgamation of the software, still, we can’t condemn the value of dual cameras when it comes to capturing the wider background or scenarios. That’s the reason for giving two 8-megapixel cameras on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL front-facing to capture more friends or backgrounds in a selfie.
How about Pixel 3’s front camera with dual camera design?
The Pixel 2 released last year contains only one camera. In pixel 3, the front camera can achieve beautiful bokeh effects without any struggle This achievement is realized by Google through software. You can see in the below selfie image, the background is enough blurred to make out the subject more prominent or give a pop-out feel. The edges around the subject are really clean without any deformation which gives DSLR like bokeh effect to selfies. This clearly shows how Google has optimized their software to make the phone photography more subtle. The colors are also accurate without any overtone or saturation.
Below selfie image sample had taken in the evening during the sunset and that yellowish tint can be seen in the background clearly.
Google Pixel 3 selfie/front camera image samples
Is it necessary to add a second camera to the front camera?
Google said that the addition of a wide-angle camera is because pixel 3 & 3 XL phones can take 84% wider selfies than the iPhone XS front camera. It is designed to include more friends (or more background) in the photo. The user can take wide selfies with the help of zoom slider given on the camera app while capturing selfies.
Here are one more selfie sample with standard and bokeh (portrait mode) difference. Both have taken from the Pixel 3.
Now let’s talk about the performance of the rear camera which is of 12.2 megapixels (f/1.8 aperture). It is a single lens camera with HDR, HDR+ and portrait kind of modes. The pictures I clicked from the Google Pixel 3 were stunning. They were vibrant, top-notch color accuracy, and the best thing is the camera focus on the subject in no time.
The Dynamic range of the color between Dark and light is great that can be seen easily in the dark scenes without much grains.
This clicked around 7 ‘o clock in the very low light scenario but the outcome in the picture is really commendable. The sky doesn’t have any kind yellowish or neon tint, it is as it should be in the dusk time without any over-saturation effect on the other elements present in the picture.
Another feature which is quite intriguing and also present in the previous Pixel versions is the motion images. If you on Motion image mode then while clicking and focusing an image it captures few seconds of movement or shall I say a couple of frames together those can be converted into GIF, Videos or simply used to take out the best moment as JPEF.
Google Pixel 3 or 3XL rear camera image samples
The portrait mode in the Google Pixel 3 produces a top level of blur in the background which is smooth and silky too around the subject of the image. The camera generates two images while clicking in portrait mode that can be used to adjust the bokeh effect later.
Images captured in standard or auto mode of the camera:
Google Pixel 3 Zoom camera image samples.
The Zoom images without any second lens didn’t lose the quality. They are enough to clear to identify each and every element. Like I said above, The Google called this a Super Res Zoom which compensates the lack of secondary camera. By using the software the Google combines multiple shots together to improve the digital zoom technology without losing many details in the photograph.
Samples of different levels of zoom.
Low light and Nightlight samples images samples
For videos, the Pixel 3 cameras offer UHD 4 (30 fps), HD 1080P & HD 720p for rear and HD 1020P, 720P and SD 480 for the front one. The quality of the videos needless to say, impressive too, however, the user can capture 4K res. at only 30 fps and somewhere it feels that the 60fps option should be there; which is missing. Nevertheless, whatever resolution and fps are available to make a video, is backed by the Video stabilization feature that helps a great to produce shake-free footage.
The camera interface is quite clean with all basic features that need for a phone photography such as Panorama, Portrait mode, Photo Sphere, Slow motion, Lens (Image recognization feature), Beauty mode, filters, timer, grid Type and HDR. It also has one feature that warns the user, in case the lens is dirty before capturing the photograph. One thing which I felt missing is the “Manual mode photography or Pro mode” option which is quite handy for professional photographers.
Google Pixel 3 Camera review verdict:
Now the long story in short, yes, no doubt, the Google Pixel 3/ pixel 3XL camera is one the best smartphone cameras available in 2018 but there is a catch; for such quality, you have to shell out a heavy price. The 64 Gb model costs you around $799 in the USA and ₹ 71000 in India, on the other hand, the 128GB model is $899 and in India ₹ 80000. So, the prices of both the models are quite high while the rest of the hardware configuration of the phone is available in other smartphones at a quite low price if you go market wise. Other way around, if you are just looking for the best camera performance along with built quality then Pixel should be in your pocket.