Google’s Pixel phones have always prioritized software over hardware. This philosophy was applied across the entire device, but it was particularly noticeable in the camera. However, even the greatest software on earth can’t overcome ageing, mediocre hardware.

The big question everyone wants to know: Does the Google Pixel 6 Pro regain the top of the list as the best camera phone out there? The xda developers’ team dedicated a thorough explanation to the camera on the Pixel 6 Pro, so let’s have a look.

Hardware

Google’s Pixel phones ranked software over hardware from the very beginning of their existence. Basically, the reason is Google’s idea that their software is so good that there is no use in having sophisticated hardware. The first two generations justified that conviction because they had really good camera features. Although there are many companies who are following Google’s footsteps to upgrade camera hardware to boot,  it is really hard to overcome the age and the indifferent hardware.

The camera hardware

It is expressive camera hardware that brings a Periscope zoom lens for the first time in the series, there is also a 48MP shooter that can produce 4x lossless optical zoom images. Wrapping up the triple-lens main system is a 16MP ultra-wide camera. Around the front is an 11MP ultra-wide camera with a 94-degree field of view.

Camera Experience

When you see it for the first time, you may be surprised by the simple appearance it has. There isn’t a hidden menu, it has only six modes to swipe through and you can see only two icons at the top of the screen – something we can’t see in Huawei or Apple’s camera applications.

But if you want to explore it – of course, you can. The Pixel 6 Pro’s camera app is actually full of features, which are organized into sections that are really convenient. For instance, when you are in video mode, you can see a button with a palm on it which is meant to signify stabilization. When you tap on the palm however you can see four different modes which are supposed to help you more with the stabilization.

The main Camera

The colour reproduction, lag-free shutter, dynamic range – all of these awesome features are here again. Due to the improved 50MP GN1 sensor, the photography experience drastically bounced. For example, If you take a picture in order to capture the detail of an object, then you will see the natural bokeh in motion.

Live HDR+ 

The Pixel camera can capture underexposed and overexposed shots. Not only that but it can also use the image information from those shots to create a single shot with proper exposure.

Videos

The Pixel 6 Pro’s main camera can shoot up to 4K60fps. The Pixel 6 Pro’s video performance gives an impressive stabilization and real-time handling of shifting dynamic range for all users. The iPhone however is still dominating over all other companies who are trying to upgrade its cameras, but the Pixel 6 Pro could be anywhere from second- to third-best. This is a camera that can find the perfect dynamic range and provide sharp details and vivid colours.

Ultra-wide camera

The Pixel 6 Pro’s 12MP ultra-wide camera performs well, although its 114-degree field-of-view is noticeably tighter. The Pixel 6 Pro does a good job of keeping colour and dynamic range consistent between main and ultra-wide cameras. The Pixel 6 Pro’s ultra-wide camera does not have autofocus. It means that you can’t focus on a portion of the photo.

Periscope zoom

The Pixel 6 Pro’s zoom lens is awesome and that’s a fact we should point out. Not only are 4x zoom photos razor-sharp, even digital zoom up to 15 or 16x still produces a usable shot (digital zoom can max out at 20x). While shooting at night, it can zoom beyond 4x (which activates digital zoom) and you will see major quality dropoff, but stick with 4x and the shot can still come out clean.

Let’s talk about selfies

This smartphone has an 11MP camera whose hardware is not something special but when it comes to the software – well, it is The Pixel 6 Pro’s 11MP selfie camera may not have the greatest camera hardware, but Google’s software processing is awesome. We will divulge to you that if you decide to go through the settings, you will find an option that allows you to turn a skin smoothening effect on.

While there are lenses that aren’t capable of reaching some heights, they are good enough to not bother the system. Google did their best of keeping consistency between its photos from the main camera and ultra-wide. Its zoom system is not as good as it was expected to be but at least it focuses fast and has a fast shutter and these features make it a joy to use.

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