Google finally revealed the new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL earlier this week, stopping all leaks and rumors that have flooded the network for several months. For reasons that we have covered a dozen times now (a shipment of Pixel 3 XL prototypes was allegedly stolen and sold on the black market) it felt like we knew about everything that was to know about the company's third generation Pixel phones for a long time before they were unveiled on the scene in New York City this past Tuesday. Of course, leaks never paint a complete picture, and we learned a lot of new and interesting details during Google's press conference. Not surprisingly, several of these details pertained to Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL camera.
Aside from the fact that Google Pixel phones get instant access to new Android releases, while competing phone owners usually have to wait several months for updates, the Google Photos Pixel phone line phones have been among the biggest features of the phone. In fact, last year's Pixel 2 is still considered by anyone to be the best camera phone available for this day. It will undoubtedly change next week when Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are released, but can a single lens camera really surpass the two and three-lens cameras on other recent flagship smartphones?
Reviewers will undoubtedly spend a lot of time pitting the new Pixel 3 camera against other leading camera phones. While we are waiting for the comprehensive comparisons, there are already some interesting moments that have trickled out since the Google press conference last week. Google announced some very cool new software features that will help further enhance the camera experience on Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, and a special test was tested earlier this week.
Much has been done by Google's decision to keep a lens camera on the back of its new third genre Pixel phones. This is a particularly hot topic, given that Google added a dual-lens camera to the front of both phones. Of course, the company made the logic behind its decision clearly during the event. The dual lens selfie camera exists exclusively to facilitate wide-angle filaments that fit more into the frame. Since backward-facing cameras are usually used to shoot subjects far further away, this is less a problem.
Google has managed to use software tricks to compensate for all features enabled with dual-lens cameras on other phones. The question is, of course, how good these software works. We've already seen that portrait mode photos taken with single lens cameras can be quite impressive, and now Google's new "Super Res Zoom" feature on Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL has been tested.
One of the best things about pairing a telephoto lens with a standard wide-angle lens is optical zoom. However, Google does not have a dual-lens camera on the back of its new phones, so the company's engineers created an enhanced digital zoom feature that will provide zoomed images that are as clear as images taken with optical zoom. Does Super Res Zoom provide the high order? Maybe not.
Via Reddit we point out a fast test published on Twitter by a blogger the day after Google's Pixel 3 event. The test could not be easier. He snapped the same image with a Pixel 3 and an iPhone XS while both phones were zoomed to 2x. Apple iPhone XS has a secondary telephoto lens, so it uses optical zoom up to 2x while Pixel 3 uses digital zoom. The image below shows the result from the iPhone XS on the left and the result from Pixel 3 on the right.
You can view the full version of the pictures here, but you probably do not need because the results could not get clearer. Google's Super Res Zoom is impressive, but clarity does not even take care of the picture taken with the iPhone XS optical zoom. We add that the color rendering and tone also look much better on the iPhone XS image.
Of course, this is not a thorough comparison, and we still have no idea how Google's new Pixel 3 camera will match the iPhone XS overall. What we can say, however, is that Google's enhanced digital zoom is impressive, but it seems that there is no match for real optical zoom.