Google Pixel 2 has been making news in the smartphone market and has attracted many photography enthusiasts, one of the reasons being the highest DxO rated smartphone camera. The portrait mode in Pixel 2 was something that I was eagerly waiting to test as it only uses one camera to give you the result which other flagship smartphones produce using two cameras.
After using the Google Pixel 2 camera for more than 3 weeks now, I have taken photos and videos in various scenarios and lighting conditions. After doing a detailed analysis of all the photos and videos I though of sharing an in-depth review with you all.
But this time I though of writing a different review, as I would be talking about 6 reasons why you should by the Google Pixel 2 and 3 reasons why you should not buy Google Pixel 2, on the basis of camera performance.
6 Reasons to Buy Google Pixel 2 as a Photographer
Reason 1: Portrait Mode
Portrait mode in Pixel 2 is basically software-generated blur effect to emphasis on the subject and to minimize distraction in the background. As the name suggests, this mode can be used to click portraits but you can use it to capture some other creative photos as well.
For me, portrait mode in Pixel 2 is one of the reasons why you should go for this smartphone. The software-generated blur effect is so pleasing to eye unlike some of the other smartphones offer. It is way too intelligent and detects the subject as well its corners perfectly, generating DSLR-like blur effect. The best part is that it generates linear blur effect and not the circular effect, which makes the photo look more natural rather than artificial.
When you click a photo in portrait mode, you get one photo with the DSLR-like bokeh effect and one original photo with normal depth of field. The only thing I would have wanted here is the ability to adjust the bokeh effect before/after clicking the photo, but I am way to happy with the result it gives nonetheless. Let’s have a look at some sample photos clicked on portrait mode using the Google Pixel 2 camera.
Reason 2: Fast Focus Speed
There are many instances when you suddenly have to take the smartphone out of your pocket, go to the camera app and quickly click a photo. In such a situation you need a smartphone which has a camera capable of fast and accurate focusing ability, especially when the subject/camera is moving.
The focusing speed in the Google Pixel 2 is swift and you would hardly see the camera hunting for focus, it focuses in fraction of a second. The focus accuracy is worth mentioning here as I found it to by very impressive, many times I done even have to tap to focus as it automatically hunts the subject. The focusing speed and accuracy of the Pixel 2 in low-light conditions is also commendable.
Reason 3: Better Low-light Performance
Despite the absence of manual mode, the Pixel 2 camera does a great job in analyzing the low-light scene and accordingly detecting the best possible shutter speed and ISO. In majority of shots I found the grains to be very well minimized, but in very few shots I did witness high grains. But if you compare it with some of the other flagship smartphone cameras in automatic mode, this one shall be clear winner in most of the situations.
Reason 4: Impressive Dynamic Range
Dynamic range for those of you who do not know, is the difference between the highlights and the shadows in the frame. The more the dynamic range of a camera, the better details it would be able to register in a photo from highlights as well as shadows. There have been situations when you tried clicking a monument or a building and the sky appears overexposed in your photo, or the building appears completely dark. This is because your camera is not able to capture a great range of dynamic range in the photo.
The Pixel 2 does a great job when it comes to dynamic range, using the HDR+ technology this smartphone camera gives you amazing details in highlight as well as shadow areas in the photo.
Reason 5: Slow Motion Video
If you love capturing something creative, this phone by Google allows you to shoot slow motion videos at 240fps @720p and 120fps @1080p. That highlighting point is that the transition of each frame is so smooth that it gives you professional look. Check out the video shared below and witness how amazing the slow motion performance of the camera in Pixel 2 is.
Reason 6: Video Image Stabilization
For those of you who make videos while travelling, or let’s say while walking, one thing that you must hate might be the shake that gets registered in your videos. With this magical image stabilization technology in the Pixel 2 camera, trust me you would see minimal camera shake while you are filming while walking/running. This is a perfect video camera smartphone for those of you who vlog or make action videos.
3 Reasons Not to Buy Google Pixel 2 as a Photographer
Reason 1: No Manual Mode
One of the biggest disappointments in this smartphone camera app is the absence of manual mode, or as majority of smartphone brands name it Professional Mode. The manual mode allows you to adjust the shutter speed, ISO and white balance as per your desire. But with Google Pixel 2 you do not get the freedom to do so, unless you are using a third-party application.
If you do not use the manual mode that often, then you can skip this part and still consider buying the PIxel 2 for photography purpose.
Reason 2: No Time Lapse Video Mode
Another reason why the Pixel 2 might not be the ideal camera smartphone for you is the absence of time lapse video mode. Time lapse is a series of photos clicked at longer intervals and then played together to give it a fast-forward kind of look. If you are someone who regularly shoots time lapse videos, then you might want to keep this factor in mind. Although, just like the manual mode yo can use any third-party app to make a time lapse video. But the question is, would the quality be up to mark?
Reason 3: High Lens Flare
As per my testing during these 2-3 weeks with the Pixel 2, one thing I realized was that it creates distracting lens flare when you shoot directly in to a light source. Well, smartphones do create lens flare but Pixel 2 has it way too much.
As I talking about 6 reason why you should be and 3 reasons why you should not buy the Google Pixel 2 based on its camera performance, I still feel that it has one of the best cameras in the market. I would definitely go for Pixel 2 because of its stunning portrait mode performance, brilliant dynamic range, great low light performance and impressive image stabilization in videos. If I am someone who shoots a lot in manual mode and likes shooting time lapse videos, I might think twice before buying this smartphone for photography purpose.
Priced at INR 60,000 on Amazon, this is a great buy for photography enthusiasts.