Can the Pixel 5 camera still compete using the same old aging sensor?

Google’s new Pixel phones are here, as is an annual round of speculation on how their cameras will perform. Pixel cameras have been in a strange place for a few years; In 2017 the Pixel 2 was an incredible leap forward for smartphone photography, but aside from the Knight Sight, 3 and 4 were mostly developed on hardware and software formulas, which sometimes felt subjective as if by a clear improvement in image quality more . It is to Google’s credit that they are still one of the very best phone cameras you can buy.

It is impossible to pass the actual decision on the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A 5G, which share the same front and back cameras, until we are able to test them for ourselves. From what Google has said so far, it seems that they are equally evolutionary upgrades.

For one thing, Google is still using the Sony IMX363 12.2-megapixel primary sensor, just like the previous few Pixel phones. Google reported The ledge In a briefing that this continuity helps its pixel camera team refine the algorithm from generation to generation, and that there was not a part on the market that would have been better suited to the company’s needs.

The importance of sensor hardware has been reduced by Mark Levoy himself, a former Google distinguished engineer who led the team working on most of the Pixel camera software, including breakthrough features such as HDR +. Last month in an interview with The ledge Editor-in-Chief Nilay Patel, Levoy said, “Due to the low returns due to the laws of physics, I don’t know that basic sensors are so high,” indicating that high-resolution parts are dependent on D very small pixels. Display input from.

Those high-resolution phone camera sensors are also physically much larger than what Google has been using for the past four years, though, and I wonder what the Pixel team can achieve with the size of the 12-megapixel sensor at 48- Megapixel or 64-megapixel parts that are common in phones today. Levoy recently left Google for Adobe, so Google has a decision to make about how long it can rely on the same hardware-software pipeline.

That said, we should still expect some improvement in the basic image quality of the Pixel 5. In the announcement video, product manager Sonia Jobanputra stated that HDR +, the fundamental technology behind Pixel’s computational photography, has received a “serious upgrade” to the new phone, which combines Google’s algorithms with technologies such as exposure braking. Along with the ability to take night site portraits in low light, there are also new features such as AI-powered portrait lighting editing tools. We’ll have to see how the results come out, and whether Google has managed to remove another generational upgrade from the years-old sensor.

This is not to say that nothing has changed with the hardware. For the first time, Google is replacing the Pixel 4K telephoto with an ultraviolet lens. Google tells The ledge This is because Pixel phones since Pixel 3 have a super race zoom feature to improve the resolution of digitally zoomed shots, while ultraviolet lenses can capture whole new perspectives. This is … well that’s why I felt the Pixel 4 should have included an ultravide instead of telephoto a year ago, but I’m at least glad that Google is now making the right choice.

(Although I will continue to state that many phones only include both lenses.)

A perennial drawback with pixel cameras is their video recording, which is nowhere near as impressive as their image quality. The iPhone in particular does a better job capturing smooth footage with balanced exposure. This year, Google is introducing three new stabilization modes for Pixel Video, called Locked, Active and Cinematic Pan. Google also tells The ledge That the Pixel team spent a lot of time optimizing video recording capabilities based on feedback, so when we hold the phone in hand, we’ll be looking at it with interest.

What we can say now is that Google has continued to have exceptional confidence in its software team to keep Pixel’s pedestrian hardware at the front of the pack, despite technically impressive competition from the likes of Huawei. And so far, this belief is not wrong. Even the $ 349 Pixel 4A is a great phone camera that matches the Pixel 4 and grabs easily compared to more expensive devices today, so expectations for the Pixel 5 should still be high. Stay for The ledge To find out how it stands up to investigate.

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