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Ryan Haines / Android Authority

TL; Dr

  • The leaker claims that the Pixel 8 series could get a bumpy HDR technology.
  • This feature offers higher quality HDR than is currently available on the Pixel 7’s main camera.
  • This leak also suggests that the Pixel 8 could therefore get a sensor upgrade.

Google’s phones have long offered HDR+ photography as a shutter mode, with both the Nexus and Pixel lines using this multi-functional HDR solution to improve dynamic range and reduce ghosting in regular shots.

Now, memoirist and developer Kuba Wojciechowski has discovered links The 2023 Pixels get stunning HDR support. Wojciechowski dug into the Google Camera Go app and found references to this feature on 2023 devices.

The leaker also rightly points out that the main Samsung Isocell GN1 sensor used in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 series doesn’t offer stunning HDR support. However, the Isocell GN2 does offer this feature, suggesting that an upgrade to the main camera could be on the cards for the Pixel 8.

How does this compare to Google’s existing technology?

Google’s original HDR+ solution made a series of short exposures. But the company switched to HDR+ with bracketing starting with the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G. This technique sees five short exposures taken before the shutter is pressed, and a long exposure when the shutter button is pressed.

Shocked HDR, meanwhile, is Samsung’s more modern take on HDR photography. This technology captures three separate exposures (short, medium and long) in rapid succession and then combines them for the final photo. So it seems that the mid-range effect in particular is missing from Google’s HDR+ solutions.

Google HDR Plus vs. HDR Plus with brackets

Google’s original HDR+ solution (above) and HDR+ with Bracketing.

Samsung noted at the launch of the GN2 that shocked HDR delivers richer details and more vibrant colors than the GN1’s real-time HDR mode, adding that it reduced power consumption by up to 24%. The company has also confirmed in other sensor tests that jittered HDR is faster than regular HDR solutions, though we’re not sure if that’s compared to the GN1’s mode or earlier HDR.

Of course, speed is life when it comes to HDR shooting. And so any speed improvements here should also translate into reduced ghosting and potentially less time spent staring at the dreaded “processing” screen. Throw in the other upgrades mentioned above, and the Pixel 8 can deliver more efficient, higher-quality HDR shots if it relies on this solution.

However, the most important thing here is the fact that Google may update the main camera sensor of the Pixel 8 series. Switching to a sensor like the Isocell GN2 will also open the door to improved low-light performance thanks to larger pixels and improved autofocus with Dual Pixel Pro technology.


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