Google’s Pixel phones have never had the best camera hardware in the market, but Google proved its photography prowess by compensating for it with advanced algorithms and AI. After many generations, Google is seemingly ready to upgrade its imaging sensors while still relying on software to make up for what hardware might lack. Google is, of course, still mum on the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro’s camera features, but a teardown of the Camera app, fortunately, provides hints of what’s to come.
The Pixel 6 Pro, in particular, has been rumored to get a 50MP Samsung GN1 camera, a 12MP Sony IMX386 ultra-wide-angle camera, and a 48MP Sony IMX586 telephoto camera with 4X optical zoom. Those sensors don’t exactly tell the whole story, since it misses other important details like lens aperture. Fortunately, XDA’s teardown of an internal version of the Camera app for the Pixel 6 Pro sheds a bit of light.
For example, it reveals the Pixel 6 Pro is capable of 4K60 video recording but only on the main camera. With 4K30 recording, however, any of the three cameras can be used, and the user can even seamlessly switch between those without having to pause recording. Hopefully, the Pixel 6 Pro won’t have the same reported overheating problems as the Pixel 5a (5G) and Pixel 5a.
As for the Camera app itself, features like Magic Eraser are apparently making a return, which might not be surprising if Google is advertising the AI chops of its Tensor processor. An earlier teased Face Deblur has also been sighted, basically combining a typical HDR process with some Tensor-powered processing to deblur faces in the composite photo using data from the ultra-wide-angle camera. Google is also giving photography pros another tool with a manual white balance UI.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg of photography-related features coming to the Pixel 6 Pro. Given the long overdue camera upgrade and the new Tensor chip, Google will most likely put a heavy focus on the smartphone’s on-device image processing features, making sure to remind everyone that it’s still on top of its mobile photography game.