Google's Pixel 3 camera rewrites photo rules with nifty new tricks

CNET | 10/17/2018 | Stephen Shankland
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Every digital camera is flawed. Image sensors can't capture light perfectly, lenses distort scenery, and photos so often seem blah compared with what you remember seeing.

But Google, with its Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones, has found new ways to use software and hardware to overcome those flaws and get you better pictures. Its Pixel and Pixel 2 phones had already advanced the state of the art for smartphone photography, but the Pixel 3 goes even further.

Pixel - Camera - Apple - IPhone - XS

The Pixel 3 camera holds its own against Apple's iPhone XS despite having one camera tied behind its back. It all but dispenses with the camera's flash, using new low-light shooting abilities instead. And it offers enthusiasts a radically new variety of raw image that opens up photographic flexibility and artistic freedom.

It's all possible because of a field called computational photography, a term invented in 2004 by Google distinguished engineer Marc Levoy while he was at Stanford, before he moved full-time to Google Research. Long gone are the days when photography was all about glass lenses and film chemistry. Fast receding are first-generation digital cameras that closely mirror the analog approach.

Cameras - Computers - Optics - Beginning

Now our cameras rely as much on computers as optics. And what we've seen so far is only the beginning.

Here's what that means specifically for Google's Pixel 3 and its larger sibling, the Pixel 3 XL.

Term - Zoom - Reputation - Enhance - Zoom

The term "digital zoom" has a bad reputation, because you can't just say "enhance," zoom into an image and expect new detail to appear that wasn't captured in the first place.

That's why it's worth paying a premium for optical zoom methods -- notably the second (or third, or fourth) camera in phones from companies including Apple, Samsung and LG Electronics. The Pixel 3 comes with a feature called Super Res Zoom that sports a new way to capture...
(Excerpt) Read more at: CNET
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