Google Pixel 3 Camera Review

The Google Pixel 3 smartphone is mostly acclaimed as “the best phone camera” interjection to a near-legendary program stack. Legend or reality, a Image Quality (IQ) research will strew some-more light into real-world camera performance.

Learn more: what is a Camera IQ score?

Google Pixel 3 Camera Specifications and Uber-G Camera HW score

  • Rear Camera System (1 camera)
    • Primary: 28mm, f/1.8, 12 Megapixel, OIS

Google’s Pixel 3 is one of a singular high-end smartphones ($799 / $899 XL) that still has a single-lens setup on a primary camera. When compared to a Google Pixel 2, a back camera hardware seems near-identical to a pixel 2.

Note that both a Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 have a dedicated picture processor called Pixel Visual Core that we don’t (yet) take into comment in a Uber-G Camera HW score. This chip helps with a picture estimate that happens after images were prisoner by a camera and can be compared to complicated digital vigilance processors (DSP) or Neural estimate units (NPU) from a heading SoC vendors.

Learn more: what is a camera hardware score?

Image Quality Analysis

Important: let’s explain some vernacular we’ll be using:

  • “image processing”: software work that improves the image information quality
  • “image filtering”: software work that changes the style (aesthetic) of a photo.
  • context photo: a great approximation of what we see
    • Including how dim a stage indeed is
    • Only to produce the context of a shot.
      • Not a peculiarity benchmark

A note about the Uber-G Camera IQ Score: a camera scoring complement is formed on 4 “Pillars” or sub-scores that provides much-needed nuance: day, night, zoom and ultrawide photography.

Daylight Photography:

In extended daylight, a Google Pixel 3 captures superb photos that mostly (but not always) captures a tone hues, though additional tone filtering and copiousness of details.

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The stage above is a good illustration of a Pixel 3 camera opening in illumination conditions. The usually critical thing in this stage is that a Pixel has increasing contrariety when compared to a some-more natural-looking shot of a Galaxy Note 9 (and OnePlus 6T) when it comes from areas in a shade. This happens comparatively frequently, and it might be partial of a Pixel 3 print style.

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Talking about style, a cropped picture also shows that Samsung is regulating a unequivocally effective noise-reduction and sharpness filter, while Google opts for reduction estimate though a bit some-more noise. This is unequivocally a style choice since Google could have used identical filters. Without regulating filters, a Pixel 3 has somewhat softened hardness preservation, though overall, it will come down to personal preferences for many users.

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The Oneplus 6T manages to container some-more details, interjection to a somewhat aloft fortitude (16MP), nonetheless it comes with a filtering character that creates a picture seem a bit reduction natural-looking.

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Below, this print with a orange buildings is an instance of how a Pixel 3 boosts tone superfluity over what’s natural. In this example, a OnePlus 6T has a some-more accurate and healthy tone rendering.

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In conclusion, a Google Pixel 3 is good in illumination photography though has a bent to over-contrast or over-saturate. It faces unbending competition: for bright-light photography, a disproportion between high-end phones is unequivocally tight: a Uber-G Camera IQ measure shows a movement of usually ~5% between a top-10 mobile cameras.

It will come down to that character we prefer, and maybe what’s a altogether opening of a cameras in other situations, that leads us to a subsequent chapter.

Low-Light Photography:

Often dubbed as a “best low-light mobile camera,” a Pixel 3’s low-light shots were utterly engaging to us.

Context Shot during 0.5 LUX

In impassioned low-light situations such as this 0.5 LUX shot of these bottles, a closer demeanour during a picture shows sincerely manifest sound and detriment of details. For example, a Pixel 3 is only behind a Huawei Mate 20 in these conditions when it comes to sound and details, though does a softened pursuit of preserving a tone hues.

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However, we can see that a Galaxy Note 9 simply outpaces a Pixel 3 in formidable lighting situations, utterly if we demeanour during sum from a cropped photos. Pixel 3 does a many softened pursuit than Pixel 2 with colors, and we need to regard Google for a progress, though a sound turn and settlement are identical between a dual phones.

In a city skyline shot, a Pixel 3 overshoots again with a tone saturation, and if it wasn’t for a context shot, we would never have known. However, being means to constraint healthy colors is critical since it creates a print user knowledge controllable and predictable.

Context Shot

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Secondly, a turn of sound in a sky is manifest and many aloft than a Galaxy Note 9’s. In a stage like that, a Pixel 3’s filtering-style might demeanour considerable on a tiny screen, though on a PC monitor, a sound turn can be distracting.

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When compared to a iPhone XS, a Pixel 3 has a starting advantage since of a increased colors. However, with a simple filter, a iPhone XS can demeanour as colorful and reduction noisy. The iPhone XS is some-more disposed to fact detriment in low-light, though a Pixel 3 doesn’t kick it by much.

Overall, a iPhone XS scores somewhat aloft than a Google Pixel 3 in low-light with a caveat: a XS will shot night photos with softened sound though colors that are duller (but salvageable), while a Pixel 3 cinema are sharable right divided for amicable media where a sound and sum aren’t as important.

Context Shot, Crop

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In this Pixel 3 crop, we can even see on a yellow wall a shade that’s not there in a context shot. That’s substantially entrance from one of a high-ISO multiframe shot used to harmonise a final image.

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For night photos, a Galaxy Note 9 (and S9/S9+) continues to browbeat a marketplace during a time of publishing. Right behind it are a Huawei Mate 20 Pro and P20 Pro.

A note about Night Sight

Although Night Sight is not now taken into comment in a Uber-G Camera IQ measure (see because here), we should discuss it, generally for those who have not attempted it yet. In low-light, Google’s Night Sight will constraint an endless array of photos for 4-6 seconds, afterwards combine them to build a final photo.

The thought is to accumulate some-more information regulating multi-frame photography and use picture estimate algorithms to build (hopefully great) picture data.

Context photo: as if we were during a scene

Pixel 3 Night Sight

Taking a print in 0.3 seconds and watchful 4-6 seconds is a large disproportion in use model. Secondly, a outcome varies A LOT depending on a scene. For example, we found that night steer worked best with regularly illuminated scenes though could produce unequivocally assumed photos in some-more formidable lighting. Check because Brighter isn’t always softened for night photos.

Night Sight is an glorious apparatus to have, though only like other “modes” such as panorama, or food mode, many people won’t use it scarcely as many as a involuntary mode.

Zoom Photography:

Context shot, what a stage looks like when zoomed in

With a single-lens categorical camera system, a Google Pixel 3 is removing tighten to a stream best 2X visual wizz though doesn’t utterly conduct to kick them, let alone kick a tip 3X visual wizz cameras.

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Context Shot, we’re going to wizz on a travel art

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Pixel 3 uses an ingenious multi-frame photography technique to grasp near-2X visual wizz peculiarity by image-processing.

Don’t forget that merely carrying a 2X visual wizz lens isn’t adequate to perform greatly. The peculiarity of a electro-optics complement (lens+sensor) is still essential. For example, demeanour during this iPhone 7 Plus 2X visual wizz print compared to a Galaxy Note 9:

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Ultrawide Photography: N/A

Although a Google Pixel 3 has a neat ultrawide Selfie camera, there is no such choice for a back camera system. Hopefully, a Pixel 4 will underline one!

Conclusion and Uber-G Camera IQ Score

Learn more: what is a Camera IQ score, and full rankings

The Google Pixel 3 really earns a place among a high-end mobile cameras. What is many considerable is how Google’s program has softened on a Pixel 2, while regulating unequivocally identical camera hardware. As such, a Pixel 3 is a best single-lens camera, and presumably a final single-lens complement during a high-end.

Google’s singular photography character also has revolutionary supporters who suffer a specific tuning of a camera. This is a plain bottom that Google count on, though on a other hand, it might make it harder to attract a iPhone user bottom that likes a some-more neutral proceed to photography.

With prices of $799-$899, users have a lot of options that can perform possibly softened in comprehensive terms (Galaxy Note 9 during night, iPhone XS for daylight), or be some-more versatile (LG V40’s / Mate 20 Pro ultrawide).

Filed in Cellphones Reviews. Read some-more about Editorspick, Google, Google Pixel 3 and Mobile Camera Reviews.

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