Google Pixel 3: king of the cameras? 

16 October 2018

Smartphone cameras keep getting better. Dual-pixel, telephoto, triple-lens cameras and even quadruple lens smartphones have upped the ante.

But Google has built a reputation for having one of the very best cameras out there – even though there’s only one rear-facing camera on their Pixel phones. You can find more megapixels elsewhere, but the images that a Pixel produces are always incredible.

So how does the new Google Pixel 3 do it? We take a look at the smartphone’s impressive camera features.

Visual Core and HDR+

The Pixel 3 has a built-in chip dedicated solely to taking great photos. It’s called Visual Core and it uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to enhance your pictures.

Google has a huge library of images at its disposal and they’ve studied millions of them to know when your photos are in need of a little enhancement, such as brightening up. The high-dynamic range (HDR) is turned right up, so everything can be seen in vivid detail. It’s HDR+.

Top Shot uses machine learning to pick out the best photo of the bunch

A split-second can make all the difference when you’re taking a photo. A fraction too early or too late and that special moment could be ruined or lost forever.

A slow shutter speed might mean missing the perfect shot of that fast-moving subject, while blinks, gushes of wind and foreign objects flying into the frame can all lead to you tapping that trash can icon soon after viewing your photo.

Top Shot is the answer. It records a burst of images shortly before and after you press the shutter button, then selects the best one – or you can choose one of the images yourself – so you never miss a moment. It automatically swaps photos with blinks and awkward facial expressions for ones with big smiles and laughs.

Night Sight helps you see subjects clear as day

Night-time shots can come out looking like a big noisy mess. The ultimate goal is for a smartphone to take low-light shots that look just as good as daytime ones.

Night Sight will be launching soon, so time will tell if the Pixel 3 can achieve this. The feature uses machine learning to correct colours, fill in the gaps and brighten up the shot – all without using a flash, which is pretty remarkable. 

Google showed an example of Night Sight in action during their recent launch event and the results were pretty impressive.

Group Selfie Camera gets all your friends in frame

Shooting a selfie is pretty straight-forward if it’s just you in the frame, but if you want to capture a shot with your friends and family, or even an image with an expansive landscape or famous landmark in the background, things can get more complicated.

Stretching your arms out, posing at an awkward angle and using a selfie stick might do the trick, but Google has found a better way to produce group shots and selfies with beautiful backgrounds.

The Group Selfie Camera on the Pixel 3 is wider than other front-facing cameras, so it fits more into the frame. And a simple slider lets you adjust the width of the frame, so you can keep the image tight or broaden the edges.

It’s a great option to have for parties, nights out and sightseeing.

Super Res Zoom gives you detailed close-ups

Ever tried zooming in on your phone at a concert or sporting event? You don’t always get the best results. Images can come out grainy and lacking in detail. Super Res Zoom on the Pixel 3 fixes that.

Super Res Zoom takes a burst of photos, each one slightly different to mimic the tiny movements of your hand. Then artificial intelligence is used to merge the set of photos together and produce a beautiful zoomed-in shot.

Photobooth makes taking selfies simple

The Pixel 3’s Photobooth feature acts like a selfie timer. The front-facing camera automatically takes shots whenever your face (or a bunch of faces) appear within the frame.

It’s useful for event photography, like birthday parties, where you want to quickly capture lots of photos on the fly and throughout the day.

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