Google Pixel

Google’s Visual Core might soon give Pixel 2 HDR+ processing a boost

Google’s Pixel 2 launch event on October 4th put a lot of emphasis on the new smartphone’s camera capabilities. However, the presenters at the event left out one very interesting detail: Google Visual Core.

Visual Core is a system-on-a-chip, designed to power and accelerate the Pixel 2 phones’ much-lauded HDR+ function that achieves better dynamic range and reduced noise levels through computational imaging.

The new Pixel 2 phones already come with the chip built in but it has not been activated yet. It appears Google ran out of time before the Pixel 2 launch to fully optimize Visual Core implementation in the device.

The good news is it will be activated at some point “over the coming months” which should make HDR+ processing on the new devices even quicker and smoother than it already is. According to Google it will then be 5x faster and use less than 1/10th of the the energy”, a real advantage over the current general purpose processing. In the future the chip could also take over additional image processing tasks.

The company will also enable Pixel Visual Core as a developer option in its Oreo 8.1 preview, allowing access to HDR+ for the developers of third-party camera apps. All of this is currently of course limited to Google’s Pixel 2 devices but there’s hope other manufacturer will pick up the Visual Core technology and associated software in the future.

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From:: DPreview

Google Pixel 2 sample gallery

Sample photo

The Google Pixel’s camera is among the best we’ve reviewed, and the Pixel 2 has already been hailed as class-leading by DxOMark. So even though the bar was high when we set out to shoot with it, the Pixel 2 (and the guts-are-the-same Pixel 2 XL) has left a very positive first impression on us. Take a look at our sample images – unless otherwise noted, they’ve been shot using the stock camera app with auto HDR+.

See our Google Pixel 2 sample gallery

Sample photoSample photoSample photo

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From:: DPreview

Google’s unlimited full-res photo storage for Pixel 2 owners ends in 2020

Google is offering Pixel 2 buyers a special perk that allows them to store an unlimited number of full-resolution photos and videos through Google Photos, but it comes with a catch. Fine print listed at the bottom of Google’s Pixel 2 product page notes that the free unlimited full-res storage is only available until 2020; at that point, the handsets will revert to Google Photos’ typical ‘high-quality’ unlimited storage option.

‘High-quality’ is the term Google uses to denote a 1080p video resolution and 16MP image resolution.

Google Photos allows any user to upload an unlimited number of photos and videos at up to this high-quality threshold; anything that exceeds it is compressed when uploaded and that compressed version is stored. The Pixel 2 will sidestep this restriction, but only for a couple years.

Non-Pixel phone users can upload full-resolution videos and images for free up to a 15GB threshold. Once that threshold is reached—or, for Pixel 2 owners, once 2020 arrives—additional storage space can be purchased starting at $2/month (depending on location).

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From:: DPreview

Nine things you should know about the Google Pixel 2

Nine things you should know about the Google Pixel 2

With all the hype surrounding the release of the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL and their “world’s highest rated smartphone camera,” it’s easy to lose the forest for the trees. What’s important about this new phone? Where did Google leave us wanting more? How is this phone’s camera better than its predecessor? And why should photographers care about the technology baked into Google’s new flagship?

After covering the launch in detail and spending some time with the Pixel 2 in San Francisco, we’re setting out to answer those questions (and a few others) for you.

Dual Pixel AF

The new Pixel phones sport a very clever feature found on higher-end Canon cameras: split left- and right-looking pixels behind each microlens on the camera sensor. This allows the camera to sample left and right perspectives behind the lens, which can then be used to focus the camera faster on the subject (it’s essentially a form of phase-detect AF).

It’s officially called dual pixel autofocus, and it has the potential to offer a number of advantages over the ‘focus pixels’ Apple phones use: every pixel can be dedicated to focus without any impact to image quality (see this illustration). We’ve been impressed with its implementation on the Samsung Galaxy S7 and on Canon cameras. So we’re expecting fast autofocus for stills, even in low light, as well as very smooth autofocus in video with little to no hunting. Given how good the Pixel 2’s stabilized 4K video is, you might even make some professional-looking clips from these new phones.

We’re also happy to see the laser autofocus on the original pixels go: it would often force the camera → continue…

From:: DPreview

Throwback Thursday: Google Nexus One

On October 4th Google introduced two new smartphones: the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. These phones pack the latest 8-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processors and large displays, along with the impressive AI systems that make these devices stand out from many of their peers.

You have to be a real phone aficionado to remember the Nexus One – Google’s first smartphone (codeveloped with HTC) – which debuted in 2010. In 2017 terms the One’s specs are almost laughable, with its single-core processor, half gigabyte of RAM, 5MP rear camera and whopping 3.7″ display. The Nexus One actually had two different displays. It initially shipped with a PenTile AMOLED display but later switched to a Super LCD that promised better power efficiency and color accuracy (though saturation and deep blacks got worse as a result). It also had a trackball reminiscent of Blackberry phones of that era.

The phone launched with Android 2.1 (Eclair) preinstalled and supported voice-guided navigation and voice-to-text transcription. Not long after the One got upgraded to Android 2.2 (Froyo), which added support for Adobe Flash (which was short-lived), a new home screen and Wi-Fi tethering. The final update the Nexus One received was to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), as its hardware couldn’t keep up with subsequent versions.

Were you one of the lucky few who owned a Google Nexus One? Let us know in the comments.

View our Google Pixel 2 launch coverage

Product mockup by Zach Vega.

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From:: DPreview

Google Pixel 2 earns highest ever DxOMark score of 98, bests Apple

It’s been a couple weeks of amazing camera phone tests over at DxOMark. First the iPhone 8 Plus beat all former phones with a score of 94. Then the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 came in and earned the same overall score, beating the iPhone 8 Plus in the Photo category but falling short in Video. And now… now we have a new proper king.

After testing the brand new Google Pixel 2, DxOMark has awarded the flagship phone its highest ever marks for a smartphone camera with an overall score of 98.

As usual, you can read the full review over on DxOMark’s website, where they pit the Pixel 2 against its main rivals in a few head-to-head challenges, but the overall score results can be seen below:

In the Photo category, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is still the best phone out there, besting the Google Pixel 2’s score of 99 by a single point. But when it comes to video, the Pixel 2 is totally and completely unmatched. Its Video score of 96 makes Samsung’s paltry 84 seem a bit weak, and even Apple’s respectable 89 is nowhere close.

Ahead of doing our own tests with these phones, we’ve been looking closely at the results in the DxOMark tests, and we are very intrigued to say the least. Some of the numbers themselves are rather subjective, and we don’t entirely agree with DxO’s assessment in every category.

For example, in their outdoor bokeh comparison, the Pixel 2 fares the worst. And the sometimes overly tonemapped (flat) images HDR+ renders may or may not suit your taste: the Pixel 2 vs. HTC U11 high contrast scene demonstration shows the Pixel 2 preserving more overall detail → continue…

From:: DPreview

Here’s Google’s impressive OIS + EIS video stabilization demonstrated

Optical image stabilization is a welcome update in the Google Pixel 2, but what’s really impressive is that it can be used in tandem with electronic stabilization in video mode. If Google’s demo at its launch event today is any indication, it’s pretty darn effective and makes for super smooth clips. We’re eager to give it a try ourselves when we get our hands on a review unit.

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From:: DPreview

Google unveils Pixel 2 phones: Adds OIS, Dual Pixel powered Portrait Mode and more

Ever since the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X were announced, we’ve been waiting for Google’s response. When the original Google Pixel came out, it quickly became one of the most raved about smartphone cameras in the world… would the Pixel 2 follow suit? The short answer, at least according to Google, is yes.

Just this morning, we sat down in the SF Jazz Center and, after an hour of other updates, Google finally unveiled the 5-inch Pixel 2 and 6-inch Pixel 2 XL.

The new phones house a 12.2MP sensor with 1.4um pixels, Dual Pixel phase detect autofocus and an F1.8 lens on the back, and an 8MP camera with 1.4um pixels, fixed focus and an F2.7 lens on the front. Video specs for the rear camera max out at 4K 30fps while the front camera can do up to 1080p at 30fps.

As we hoped, the whole phone is encased in an IP67 water and dust resistant aluminum unibody, and is powered by the latest and greatest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor.

More impressive than the base specs are how Google uses its hardware in concert with software and machine learning technology to deliver a better photography and video experience.

Instead of opting for a dual camera on the back of the phone, the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL uses just one camera, and combines this with Dual Pixel technology and computational photography to create the now-ubiquitous fake bokeh Portrait Mode effect. And since stabilization is incredibly important, they’ve worked out how to use both optical and electronic image stabilization at the same time when you’re shooting video, which should deliver incredibly smooth footage. (more on that from San Francisco shortly…)

Unfortunately, in our brief time with the cameras so far, we discovered that → continue…

From:: DPreview

Google Pixel 2 Reviewed: Sets New Record for Overall Smartphone Camera Quality

By Canon Rumors DXOMark has published their review of the Google Pixel 2 camera and it has been awarded the highest score for a smartphone ever. The first Pixel had a score of 89, the new Pixel camera has received a score of 98. Fron DXOMark: We’re in danger of running out of superlatives when describing the major … → continue…

From:: Canon Rumors

Live coverage of the Google Pixel 2 launch on DPReview

Hot on the heels of Apple’s own smartphone announcement, Google is taking on the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X with its own release. In T-minus 30 minutes, Google is set to unveil the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL (among a few other things) and we’ll be covering the launch live from San Francisco on Twitter and on this page.

Watch the livestream with us, and keep refreshing this page for up-to-the-minute takes on all things photography related from the Google event.

We’re on the scene at the SF Jazz Center! Stay tuned here for live updates from Google’s launch event.

— DPReview (@dpreview) October 4, 2017

This story is developing…

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From:: DPreview

6 things we want to see in the Google Pixel 2

6 things we want to see in the Google Pixel 2

It was true a year ago and it’s still true now: the Google Pixel and Pixel XL offer one of the best smartphone cameras on the market. But the competition hasn’t been standing still for the last year – Apple has gained ground with its dual focal length dual-camera devices, and the 8/8 Plus have overtaken the Pixel in DxoMark’s mobile rankings.

With the announcement of the Pixel 2 imminent, here’s what we think Google needs to add to keep its flagship phone competitive – with special attention to camera specs, of course.

Dual camera

All signs are pointing to no on this one, but we’re stubborn so we’ll ask for it anyway: Google, please put a dual camera on the Pixel.

The first generation offered just one rear-facing imaging module and if the rumors are true, so will the Pixel 2. And let’s reiterate it: the Pixel may have only one main camera, but it’s a really, really good one. However, it’ll be difficult for Google to overcome the two major advantages that Apple’s dual cam offers: optical zoom and a superior shallow depth-of-field simulation mode.

Maybe they’ve found software solutions to mitigate these issues in the Pixel 2. Rumors are pointing to a mode more like Apple and Samsung’s offerings, with a sharp subject and blurred background, all rendered live rather than post-processed. But given what Google has already done with one camera and sophisticated software, just imagine what it could do with two!

Better durability

Our plea for dual cameras is probably in vain, but we feel better about this wish being fulfilled. The iPhone X offers a rating of IP67 rating, → continue…

From:: DPreview