Smartphone Cameras – Google Pixel 2


Smartphone Cameras – Google Pixel 2

I have always been fascinated with cameras, lenses, the rules of photography, history of photography, art, aesthetics, colour, etc etc.  Over the last 100 plus years of photography, film cameras evolved into digital and as the digital camera became more popular and accessible it became physically smaller and smaller. The real challenge for the future of this small factor digital photography is how the engineers understand the creative process and how they solve the problems of the ever decreasing smartphone camera.

Best Camera on a Smartphone?

Currently, the penultimate example of the small practical smartphone camera is the NEW Google Pixel 2 camera. The camera has once again (just like the original Google pixel) broke the official DXO record for overall smartphone camera quality, dethroning the iPhone 8 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 with a chart-topping  DXO Mark of 98. Read the full DXO breakdown here.


The Challenges of Smartphone Photography

If you have read my book “Smartphone Media Production” or have any interest in photography you will be aware that photography is all about capturing light, traditionally in DSLR ( Digital Single Lens Reflex) photography ie in big cameras the light comes in through the lens and goes straight onto the sensor, the size of the lens can vary significantly due to the style of photography.  For action shots that require more light to fire off a faster shutter speed, the lenses used by sports and wildlife professionals, for example, become almost ridiculous in size.   The size allows for increased aperture and therefore increased light to hit the sensor.


Engineers working on smartphone cameras and smartphone photography are limited by the market’s expectations of what a smartphone should look like including its size.  The engineers in smartphone photography are then forced to think outside of the box and create new ways of bringing in massive amounts of light whilst keeping the lens and sensor size small and form fitting for a standard smartphone.

The Engineers  Solution to Smartphone Photography

In this excellent video by Nat and Friends, they go behind the scenes at Google and shows us some of the challenges, the engineers faced in building the new Pixel 2 camera. It covers everything from low light photography, HDR+ (high dynamic range) capturing multiple images at different exposures to build a composite image (this is one of the solutions to a small sensor and lens) and more.


key Google pixel 2 Camera features.

Key camera specifications:

  • 1/2.6-inch 12MP sensor
  • f/1.8 aperture
  • Dual-Pixel Autofocus
  • Optical Image Stabilization
  • HDR+ technology
  • New Portrait Mode software solution

To find out more about photography, including key principles, keys to framing shots, the rules of photography , the theory of photo editing, photography cheat guides and the best apps for samrtphone photography and smartphone image editing please  purchase a copy of my book. You can purchase a copy of my book Smartphone Media Production here.