Last year's Pixel was found to be one of the best all-around smartphone cameras. In fact, according to Google, Pixel users take 2x more photos than iPhones, on average. The camera tradition looks to have continued with the latest series of Pixel phones. Of course, you all know what we think about DxOMark. But even so, it appears that the Pixel 2 scored an incredible 98 overall, making it the best phone camera (again) it's ever reviewed.
Dat Camera, tho
On paper, the Pixel 2 phones have a 12.2 MP sensor with 1.4 μm pixels and an f/1.8 aperture. But specs are only half the story. You can have great hardware and still produce terrible results if the software isn't there to oblige. And by all appearances, the Pixel 2's software does.
The Pixel 2's portrait mode is able to do depth mapping with a single lens, providing high-quality portraits with only one camera and some snazzy machine learning. Getting fake depth of field effect without shelling out the cash for a big SLR should be a bit easier.
It also seems to support those 'motion photos' we saw in a previous teardown. Now we even know what they do. Apparently, every time you take a photo, the phone is already recording before and after, so each picture comes with a video. It isn't clear if this just applies to selfies or if it works for all photos taken.
And you get unlimited full-resolution storage for photos and 4K videos via Google Photos. At least, for any files you upload until 2020.
It also has what Google is calling "fused video stabilization" which impressively combines both OIS and EIS for incredibly smooth results.
Mon - DXO : Galaxy Note8 is the best mobile phone camera we have ever tested
Tue - DXO : iPhone 8 Plus is the best mobile phone camera we have ever tested
Wed - DXO : Google Pixel2 is the best mobile phone camera we have ever tested
— Varun Krishnan (@varunkrish) October 4, 2017
I know, I know, it isn't an end-all-be-all, and their numeric scores aren't a great quantification of performance, but take a glance through DxOMark's review. At a minimum, it has some images you can look at to compare for yourself. The short version is that, like apparently every phone they've ever reviewed at some point in time, the Pixel 2 has the best camera DxOMark has ever seen (sigh). It has fantastic dynamic range, great detail, and good low-light performance, though with some increased noise in high-dynamic range low-light scenes.
Low-light dynamic range images. Images via DxOMark
Bokeh/depth of field is also better than the OG Pixel, but not quite as good as the iPhone 8 Plus. Exposure and contrast are also both quite good, though it does render scenes a bit brighter than is strictly accurate. Color accuracy is very good, and the autofocus is the best DxOMark has ever seen, focusing quickly, accurately, and consistently across different lighting conditions. It's even good with low-light detail, performing better than the iPhone 8 Plus and Samsung's Note 8.
Bright light dynamic range examples. Images via DxOMark
The biggest disadvantage to the Pixel 2's camera in the review appears to be noise, in which the phone only scored a 59. The Galaxy Note 8 beats it soundly in that regard, but it's still high for a phone. Flash performance is also good and compares quite favorably with the original Pixel. Video performance is also quite good.
By all metrics, the Pixel 2 looks to have a fantastic camera in it. Whether you trust DxOMark or not, if you're picking this up to snap some landscapes or selfies, it looks like the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will be good choices.