Google’s new tweaks to post-Pixel 8 smartphones

I’ve long been a fan of Google’s Pixel line of phones for its photography prowess, but with the release of the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, it’s clear that photographers aren’t necessarily the market for what’s considered a phone camera series. .

While it seems strange to say this about a camera that’s already laudable, take a look at the detailed review above from tech YouTuber Marks Brownlee. The part you want to jump to is just four minutes in, where Brownlee talks about what the Pixel’s cameras are doing under the hood.

With just a few examples in Video and Photo modes, it’s clear that the Pixel’s brain is always thinking about how to do HDR in every scene it encounters, with a particular penchant for doing so with faces. Colors seem to be enhanced, and while the camera generally uses all of this to good effect, it makes you question whether these kinds of software tricks make for “realistic” photos.

But if this is to muddy the waters of “what is a photograph?” not enough The question is, the myriad of software editing options available after the fact are bound to get confusing. One of the technologies Brownlee demonstrated is the phone’s ability to analyze faces in group portraits, allowing users to quickly replace heads that might not be smiling well or have their eyes closed. If you’re a photojournalist, this should be an extra cause for alarm, because you’re essentially creating a moment that didn’t exist. For everyone else, this is an easy way to do a head swap that might take 15-20 minutes using Adobe Photoshop.

Speaking of Photoshop, Brownlee showed off the array of AI-powered editing tools now on the phone, from smart object selection to object/background removal tools that look comparable to Adobe’s Generative Fill tools. All on one phone

This brings me back to the main conundrum that photographers like myself might have with this phone: while it’s nice to be able to “fix” a photo after the fact, what if it’s really just the phone’s camera? Keep things simple and take great photos with the right lens and sensor? With my Pixel 6, I felt like the camera hardware itself wasn’t a significant bump from the Pixel 3a XL I already owned, and in some ways, it feels like Google just cheated a little to get a little more out of it. Take out the camera. Alone is capable

However, videographers may appreciate the phone’s ability to pick out different bits in audio and adjust them accordingly. Can we get this feature in Adobe Premiere please?

With the camera now available for sale, it won’t be long before enough photographers are snapping up a visual artist’s take on it.

Are you planning to upgrade to Pixel 8 or Pixel 8 Pro? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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