Considering the Pixel's score of 89 by DxOMark, Google is clearly pushing the camera as a major selling point. However, contrary to what was rumored and what was stated on Carphone Warehouse's spec sheets, Google's latest phones, the Pixel and Pixel XL, do not have optical image stabilization (OIS) built into their main cameras.
According to The Verge, which had an in-depth interview with Google regarding their latest products, Google has "tied the camera to the gyroscope to eliminate the hand-shake "jelly" effect in video." It's not completely clear exactly what this means, but this sounds a lot like electronic image stabilization to me.
The lack of OIS is especially puzzling, considering the fact that Google devoted time to brag about the Pixel's image stabilization while shooting video. While watching the presentation, we inferred that this was to demonstrate the Pixel's OIS; however, that's clearly not the case. It's also impossible to confirm that the video Google showed wasn't manipulated in some way.
DxOMark's review of the Pixel's camera is a bit contradictory; while Stabilization in the Video section receives a score of 91 (higher than any of the other video categories) and lists "Good stabilization in all conditions" under the Pros column, it also includes "Slight judder and jello effect are sometimes noticeable". Hmm.
Although you may be raging and screaming right now, keep in mind that the lack of optical image stabilization doesn't automatically mean your videos will look like crap. An example of this that instantly comes to mind is the Moto X Pure Edition; even though its 21MP sensor lacked OIS, the video that it shot was extraordinarily smooth. Perhaps Google has worked some magic here; we'll just have to wait and see.
- The Verge