• Pixel 3 Review, Part 2: Camera Performance (in low light)

    I did my traditional photo walk through downtown Toronto's Graffiti Alley this morning, and here's the only photo from that shoot. Why? Because honestly, almost any modern camera phone can yield decent results outdoors on a cloudy day with even lighting. I'm actually much more interested in what the Pixel 3 can do in low light, so that's what I'm going to be focusing on (boo) for the remainder of this post.

    Before we proceed, some other notes about the camera(s):

    1. If video is your thing you probably already know that the Pixel only captures 4K at 30fps, so you can continue investigating that iPhone or whatever else you were looking into. Also, it was too windy this morning to effectively demonstrate the inferior audio quality of the P3's built-in mic.
    2. The wide-angle selfie cam is fine. No one here needs to see my face—or yours, if we're being honest.

    Now here's a face worth looking at... my middle-aged mouser is in this shot backlit by only a dim table light, but look at the sharpness in his fur and whiskers. My OnePlus 5T certainly wouldn't be able to pull off a shot like this. I'm impressed.

    Moving outdoors the high fidelity continues, and the exposure is surprisingly good, with only the direct light sources being blown out. You know, the CN Tower in the background reminds me a lot of a vacation photo I took last summer...

    Here's the Auckland Tower as seen from the harbour, taken with my OnePlus 5T. I'm including it here because of how OnePlus has chosen to deal with camera noise. Notice how the striped canopy in the foreground—and also the building directly behind it—look like they're painted? That's deliberate; the pixels are blended together with a mosaic effect to make the image look less noisy.

    But noise certainly won't be an issue on our Pixel 3, will it...?

    Here's a 100% crop of both photos, so you can see for yourself. With the Pixel (left) I'm seeing an unfortunate amount of noise, particularly around the top of the tower, whereas the OnePlus image (right) has suddenly turned from an oil painting into a watercolour—not necessarily better (and certainly not more accurate) but perhaps more aesthetically pleasing for sharing on social media?

    This isn't even a fair comparison, really, as the Pixel image was captured at night and the OnePlus at dusk, thus having a lot more available light. I guess the point I'm attempting to make here is that even the best camera has a threshold that, when crossed, starts to adversely affect image quality. And the Pixel, as impressive as it is, isn't entirely infallible. Maybe when the camera app is updated to include Night Sight it'll be a different story.

    This article was originally published in forum thread: Pixel 3 Review, Part 2: Camera Performance (in low light) started by acurrie View original post
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