google pixel 7 pro camera app

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

TL; DR

  • A leak claimed that the Pixel 8 series could get amazing 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 get a sensor upgrade.

Google’s phones have long offered HDR+ photography functionality, such as a tentpole mode, and both the Nexus and Pixel line use this multi-frame HDR solution to improve dynamic range and reduce ghosting in regular shots.

Now tipster and developer Kuba Wojciechowski has discovered the references 2023 Pixels gain step-by-step HDR support. Wojciechowski discovered the Google Camera Go app and found references to the feature for 2023 devices.

The tipster also rightly points out that the Samsung Isocell GN1 main sensor is used Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 series do not offer step-by-step HDR support. However, Isocell GN2 indeed offers this capability, a major camera upgrade could be on the cards for the Pixel 8.

How does this compare to Google’s existing technology?

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

Meanwhile, graduated HDR is Samsung’s more modern approach to HDR photography. This technology takes three separate exposures (short, medium and long) in very quick succession, then combines them for the final photo. So Google’s HDR+ solutions don’t seem to be particularly underexposed.

Google HDR Plus and HDR Plus with Brackets

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

At the launch of the GN2, Samsung noted that step-by-step HDR brought richer details and more vivid colors than the GN1’s real-time HDR mode, adding that it reduced power consumption by up to 24%. The company also has it confirmed other sensor-triggered HDR is faster than conventional HDR solutions, although we’re not sure if that’s compared to GN1 mode or previous HDR implementations.

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

However, the bigger takeaway here is that Google could improve the primary camera sensor in the Pixel 8 series. Switching to a sensor like the Isocell GN2 will also open the door for improved low-light performance thanks to larger pixels and improved autofocus via Dual Pixel Pro technology.

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