Report Says Google Pixel 8 Will Take Better HDR Photos

Google’s Pixel phone team may be adding a new feature to its 2023 Pixel smartphone lineup to try to stay ahead of the photography game.

The Google Pixel 8 will feature a camera sensor with progressive HDR, an upgrade of the technology that phones today use to shoot in harsh lightning, leaks, and leak conditions. Kuba Wojciechowski said on Twitter on Monday. Wojciechowski said that the code for the Google Camera Go app, a lighter version of Google’s camera app, speaks of progressive HDR for the reported 2023 Pixel devices, codenamed Husky and Shiba.

HDR, short for high dynamic range, is a computational photography technology that allows cameras to take pictures of scenes with both bright and dark areas. This is a particular challenge for phones’ small image sensors. Google pioneered a method called HDR+, which collects several underexposed celebrities in a single shot; this was a technique that did a better job of keeping the sky from turning into a blank white patch, and then added a brighter single frame to better capture the dim areas. However, the tricky thing about HDR is that the scene can change from one frame to the next, leading to ghosting and other artifacts.

Progressive HDR is designed to eliminate this ghosting issue by capturing multiple frames at once. HDR usually combines a succession of bright, medium, and dark exposures, but with progressive HDR, the sensor doesn’t wait for a frame to finish before it starts collecting data for the next frame. For example, it may be receiving dark frame data from the top, as well as bright frame data from pixels below the sensor.

on the sensor Pixel 7, reportedly the Samsung GN1 does not support progressive HDR. Wojciechowski said that the next Pixel could use the Samsung GN2 sensor that supports the feature. The GN2 also features larger pixels at 1.4 millionths of a meter compared to the 1.2 micron on the GN1, which may offer a better basis for color and dynamic range.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Pixel series haven’t been commercial hits, but historically they’ve often been leaders when it comes to smartphone photography. While Android remains the most widely used mobile operating system worldwide, Google is faltering in the US. Apple’s iOS takes the lead. Google is responding with a more aggressive Pixel phone push and a wider lineup like Pixel Buds Pro earbuds. Pixel Watch and what will come in 2023 Pixel Tablet. It ecosystem approach mirrors the strategy of smartphone leaders Samsung and Apple.

It may also see a “pro” version of the upcoming Pixel Tablet codenamed Tangor — Wojciechowski spotted “TangorPro” while reviewing the code. This could mean a higher-end Pixel Tablet could be in the works as well.

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