And it's still the only smartphone that can output such high quality results in Raw.

However, it does fall behind compared to the 108MP sensors used in some competitors. That's why, as Horshack says, the lack of higher spec'd (or more) hardware was likely the driver behind the somewhat unenthused reception. That & battery life.

Like
4
1 week ago
jxh

Keep in mind that sensors, processors (CPU, GPU, image processor and graphics engine) are commercially produced (such as the snapdragon 865) . Top line Snapdragon sets (really complete computational hardware, CPU, graphics, image processing, tensor processing AI) are available to all the manufacturers.

The differences have more to do with the proprietary software and precisely which off-the-shelf the manufacturer chooses to provide. With enough development incentive, there are several manufacturers who could wring the best out of that hardware

1 week ago*
Glen Barrington
Glen Barrington

For me, the camera on my Pixel 3a is irrelevant. It is a camera of convenience, I already HAVE a good camera.

The overall smartphone experience is what I value the most. As always, when it is time to replace the phone, I will consider my options then. Google, feel free to hire or fire whoever you want, just make sure you are competitive in 2-3 years

1 week ago
sportyaccordy

You (we) are in the minority. For most, their phone's camera is their only camera, which makes it an important purchase consideration.

1 week ago*
Glen Barrington
Glen Barrington

I have no doubt what you say is true. My wife is a perfect example! But when I'm ready to get something new, the camera is the least of my concerns. It merely needs to be adequate. It can be better than adequate, but I'm not going pay anything extra for it.

1 week ago
1 week ago*
Mariano Pacifico

To summarize: Samsung excels in computational photography, sensor size and camera lenses.

1 week ago
Jefftan

no way
have u use other phone?

1 week ago
24Peter
24Peter

Sorry - my bad!

1 week ago*
funnybeingmg

The video is a simple interview conducted by DPReview, not an interview conducted by Google of DPReview.

1 week ago
24Peter
24Peter

Sorry - I misunderstood who was interviewing whom... My mistake.

1 week ago
Zymurgist
Zymurgist

I really like my Pixel 3. It’s camera does a good job but if I’m doing serious work I reach for one of my a7’s.

1 week ago
Melindra

Couple of spelling errors guys ??

1 week ago
Gannon Burgett
Gannon Burgett

@Melindra: Where at, if you don't mind me asking?

1 week ago
Handsome90

@Gannon, LinkedIn is the one I could find.

1 week ago
Gannon Burgett
Gannon Burgett

@Handsome90: LinkedIn has been properly capitalized. I can’t seem to find any other, even after about five read-overs.

1 week ago
Docno

“but it's hard to argue that today Google has, at least to a degree, lost the leadership role in mobile imaging that it had established with previous Pixel phone generations.”
Should this be “it’s hard NOT to argue...”?

1 week ago
Androole

The sad thing is that sideloading GCam on a wide variety of other Android phones has proven that Google's algorithms lead to incredibly good image quality regardless of the camera module behind them.

Google could have taken any commodity off-the-shelf ultrawide and telephoto sensor and stuck it in the Pixel 4, and it would have instantly shot to the top of the pack in terms of real world photographic versatility and image quality.

Instead, they completely omitted the wide angle for inexplicable reasons, and implemented an overly complex and technically preposterous telephoto solution that used a 1.8x lens to deliver 2.0x images with goofy computational upscaling in the loop.

It's incredibly disappointing to see Levoy leave the team, as it seems likely that his work was deeply integrated into the prowess of Google's algorithms. But perhaps Queiroz's departure is not such a bad thing. Osterloh needs to get sacked, after so many failures.

Google needs new leadership for the Pixel.

1 week ago*
Rishi Sanyal
Rishi Sanyal

Actually, optically speaking the tele module on the Pixel 4 is only 1.33x relative to the main lens, but that's not surprising - the iPhone 11 Pro tele lens is only 1.4x relative to its main lens. Smartphone manufacturers just stick a smaller sensor behind these modest tele lenses, with smaller pixels, to achieve the desired 'zoomed in' ratio. Accounting for the sizes of the sensors behind these lenses, here are the zoom ratios you get:

Pixel 4: 1.6x iPhone 11 Pro: 2x

However, the Pixel 4 only looks that "bad" b/c it has a larger sensor in its tele module, despite having the same pixel pitch as the iPhone 11 Pro (1μm). Put another way, the Pixel 4 has a larger higher res sensor in its tele module (16MP vs. the iPhone's 12MP).

So, now, accounting for the fact that the Pixel takes a 12MP crop from its 16MP sensor, we get 5.84mm focal length x 1.4 (crop factor) = 8.176mm. Compared to the 4.38mm main module, that's effectively 1.87x zoom, not far off from the iPhone.

...

1 week ago
Rishi Sanyal
Rishi Sanyal

In fact, if you do the math, in 35mm equivalent terms, the 12MP outputs of the tele modules on the iPhone 11 Pro and Pixel 4 are essentially the same:

  • iPhone 11 Pro: 52mm equiv.
  • Pixel 4: 50mm equiv.

It's almost as if we're hitting up against the laws of physics: it's difficult to have long focal length lenses in such a small form factor without folded optics, so manufacturers go with smaller pixels to get higher zoom ratios. And most of the phones end up having relatively similar effective focal lengths for these non-folded optics modules after cropping to 12MP, even e.g. the Samsung S20, despite claims of 48MP and 64MP telephoto modules.

1 week ago*
BrentSchumer
BrentSchumer

As a Pixel 2 owner, the Pixel hardware has always been underwhelming but keeps on dropping features and falling further behind.

Google had a good thing going with its Nexus lineup but is too schizophrenic to pull off flagship hardware.

1 week ago
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