Economy, Sci & Tech

Camera of Google’s Pixel2 Stuns Customers

Camera of Google’s Pixel2 Stuns CustomersCamera of Google’s Pixel2 Stuns Customers

Google’s single-lensed Pixel2 and Pixel2 XL phones have shot straight to the top of DxOMark’s camera benchmark charts, beating the iPhone 8 Plus and the Galaxy Note 8, both of which feature dual cameras.

With an overall score of 98 points, the Google Pixel2 stands a full four points clear of the iPhone 8 Plus and Galaxy Note 8, now tied for second place, Forbes reported.

Strong camera performance has always been expected from Google, especially given the stunning results from the original Pixel, but its results are especially impressive given that it manages to do with a single camera what competitors can only do with two.

One of the standout features of the Apple’s iPhone7 Plus was ‘portrait mode’ which enables softly blurred backgrounds which make the subject really pop from your images similar to results from a DSLR camera. This feature was refined and improved in the iPhone8 Plus and it matched by a similar feature in the Galaxy Note8.

All of these smartphones rely on comparing and merging the images from two discrete cameras in order to calculate a 3D depth map of the scene. What’s unique about the Pixel2 is its ability to sense depth using only one camera.

This is achieved by using an image sensor with ‘split’ pixels which generate slightly different ‘left’ and ‘right’ views of the scene. It’s not enough of a difference to create a traditional stereoscopic image of the kind you might view with special 3D glasses, but it is plenty enough difference for Google’s image processing techniques to be able to calculate the depth of objects within the scene and work out where to apply a software-based blurring effect to the background.

Unfortunately for the Pixel2, the portrait mode effect is only one of many advantages which can be gained from a dual camera setup - advantages which the Google flagship will therefore miss out on.

One key advantage the iPhone8 Plus and especially the Galaxy Note8 have over the Pixel2 is in their ability to get closer into the scene with a separate telephoto lens. With a single lens system, all you can do is crop into the image, losing pixels and resolution along the way.

This is why the Pixel2 scores only 32 points in DxOMark’s Zoom test, compared to 51 points for the iPhone8 Plus and a stunning 66 points for the Galaxy Note8. The Pixel2 simply loses much more detail the more you zoom in.

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