The camera on Google’s new Pixel lineup is dang impressive, but some users are reporting some small issues with the camera — most notably a “halo effect” that happens when light sources hit from a certain angle.
Today Google has acknowledged this issue and has confirmed it is working on a potential fix to be implemented via a software update “in the next few weeks.”
Lens flare is typical of all cameras, but the Pixel seems especially sensitive to it. Googler “IssacOnCamera” was quick to respond to a user query about the issue explaining that while lens flares are typical, the Pixel is suffering from a sort of bright/low-contrast arc around the corners of the frame which are more of an annoyance compared to typical lens flares.
How does Google aim to fix what seems like a hardware issue? Through an update to the phone’s HDR+ mode, Google will use algorithms to detect the presence of this halo effect and remove it from the image.
First, for some background — flare is a property of ALL camera lenses. It comes in a ton of different shapes and sizes and can even be used for creative effect — good and bad :-). The shape, color, amount, etc. of flare is related to dozens of different parameters of the lens structure and inclement light.
However, we have seen reports about this “halo/arc flare”. This is the specific kind of flare that appears as a bright/low-contrast arc in the corners of the frame.
You can expect a software update in the next few weeks that will improve the effects of this issue. We’re working on some algorithms that recognize the halo/arc flare, characterize it mathematically, and then subtract it from the image. 🙂 You will need to use HDR+ to see the benefits of this software.
Also, there is no point getting your device replaced thanks to this issue. The Pixel camera’s lens structure is very highly controlled — this means that all Pixels take high-quality images, but it also means all Pixels have the same flare characteristics.