Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are said to upgrade their high-resolution primary sensor to a new one with its upcoming and the new Tensor G3 will most probably enable even more powerful imaging features, according to a new leak. Google’s currently available Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro smartphones introduced the new Tensor G2 SoC, which made better use of the newer camera hardware that was introduced with the previous Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro models. The Tensor G2 enabled new features like Long Exposure mode, a much faster Night Sight mode and more, most of which were not possible on the earlier models. So, while the Pixel 6 series received the better, high-resolution cameras, Google managed to make better use of them only with the next generation, which is the Pixel 7 series.
Android Authority citing sources working at Google, stated in a report that the camera systems on both Pixel 8 series phones will be receiving some noticeable upgrades. Starting off with the primary cameras, both of the Samsung GN1 (50-megapixel) cameras is said to be upgraded to slightly bigger Samsung GN2 (50-megapixel) sensors. This new primary camera sensor packs with a 1.4μm pixel and 1/1.12″ optical format is definitely an upgrade over the GN1 in the outgoing version in terms of capability. It can capture 35 percent more light than the GN1, and should make for brighter and sharper low light images. The sensor with its maximum supported resolution of 8,160 x 6,144 pixels is also capable of capturing 8K 30fps video as well. However, the source claims that the feature might not make its way to users due to certain Google Camera and thermal limitations. There’s also staggered HDR, which reduces ghosting when recording video.
Thankfully, the primary camera is not the only one receiving upgrades this year. The source mentions that the ultra-wide-angle camera on the Pixel 8 Pro should also be upgraded from the current and rather dated (yet reliable) 12-megapixel Sony IMX386 to a newer high-resolution 64-megapixel Sony IMX787 camera. This is the same sensor that is used in the Pixel 7a launched this year, in its primary camera and also packs optical image stabilisation (OIS). However, this also means that macro mode might be missing as this camera lacks true hardware-level macro capability on the Pixel 7a.
Pixel 8’s ultra-wide-angle camera is also said to get an upgrade. Google seems to have reached into its parts bin for this one as the new supposed ultra-wide (Sony IMX386) sensor comes from the Pixel 6 series, but packs a slightly different zoom ratio (from 0.67x to 0.55x).
As for rest, the selfie cameras are said to remain the same as before, which would be a 11-megapixel sensor on both devices. The 5X optical telephoto camera on the Pixel 7 Pro will also remain the same on the Pixel 8 Pro, as per the report. However, the source did point out that the single-point time-of-flight (ToF) sensors from the previous premium models will also be upgraded to a more advanced module (8×8 ToF VL53L8 sensor), but again, only for the Pixel 8 Pro in particular.
From a software standpoint, there’s two new highlighted features with Adaptive Torch (dynamically adjusts flash intensity) and Segmentation AWB (will process different parts of an image separately), along with a video bokeh blur level selection in the viewfinder among other features.
What is also evident from the above details is that Google is going with better hardware on its top-end Pixel 8 Pro model, even when compared to the Pixel 8, which was not the case with earlier models as both phones usually offered the same key camera hardware (wide and ultra-wide) with the addition of a telephoto camera on the Pro model. This also hints at a potentially higher price gap between the two handsets with the Pixel 8 series this year.
Comparing these specifications to the recently announced Pixel Fold, (Google’s first foldable device) also seems to indicate the Pixel 8 Pro will end up being the one with the best imaging experience, as it will pack in newer camera hardware and the new Tensor G3 SoC as well. The Pixel Fold offers a 48-megapixel primary camera with 0.8µm pixels along with two 10.8-megapixel sensors for its ultra-wide and telephoto cameras. An 8-megapixel and a 9.5-megapixel camera (embedded into the foldable display) are in charge of selfies.