Pixel 2 vs. iPhone eight Plus: Which digicam is healthier?

Google says the digicam on its Pixel 2 can beat the iPhone eight Plus. But once more (and due to some tech refinements). Final yr’s comparability proved the one lens on the Pixel was able to producing higher pictures than the 2 lenses on the iPhone 7 Plus in most classes.

Digital camera Specs

Pixel 2 iPhone eight Plus
Recording resolutions 4K (30fps) 1080p (30/60fps) 720p (30/60fps) 4K (24/30/60fps) 1080p (30/60fps) 720p (30fps)
Sluggish movement 1080 (120fps) 720 (240fps) 1080 (120/240fps)
Aperture f/1.eight f1.eight (wide-angle); f/2.eight (telephoto)
Stablization Fused Stabilization (optical and digital) Optical Picture Stabilization (wide-angle solely)
Entrance digicam decision eight megapixels 7 megapixels
Entrance digicam aperture f/2.four f/2.2

To search out out which 2017 cellphone’s digicam is healthier, we put them to the take a look at at Pier 39 in San Francisco. The telephones have been mounted on a rig that lined up the lenses at nearly the identical angle. Most pictures have been taken on the default digicam settings with auto HDR except we are saying in any other case. That is all about nonetheless pictures, however you must also take a look at our video high quality comparability to see which cellphone is greatest at shifting photos. And go see simply how a lot better the iPhone eight Plus’s digicam is than the 7 Plus. 


As impressed as we have been final yr with the general outcomes on the Pixel, portraits have been horrible. Like portrait mode on the iPhone, the Pixel’s Lens Blur mode tried to create a background-blur bokeh impact across the topic just like what you’ll get on a DSLR. The precise consequence was a multitude of blurred limbs and hair, a minimum of on most pictures.

The unique Pixel had a tough time with the blurred background impact on portraits. 

Vanessa Hand Orellana / CNET

This yr Google overhauled its background blur impact on the Pixel 2 and renamed it portrait mode. It combines 3D-sensing information from the sensor, picture processing and face-detection AI expertise to isolate a photograph topic then blur what’s behind. The iPhone eight Plus nonetheless makes use of data from the extensive and telephoto lenses and software program to attain the identical impact.


The Pixel 2 makes use of picture processing and machine studying to detect faces and create the identical bokeh impact because the iPhone eight Plus. 

Vanessa Hand Orellana / CNET

Portrait mode setup

To activate portrait mode on the iPhone you simply swipe left on the principle digicam interface. As a result of the iPhone makes use of the telephoto lens for portraits, topics seem nearer than on common pictures so you must step again to activate the impact. You realize portrait mode is on whenever you see a yellow field across the topic that claims “depth impact”.

On the Pixel 2, it isn’t as easy. Activating portrait mode on the Pixel 2 takes two faucets: first faucet the menu icon on the underside left after which faucet and choose the mode. The Pixel does not require the telephoto lens just like the iPhone eight Plus does, so you may get nearer to your topic. It’s best to see an X instead of the menu icon on the button left of the viewfinder, but it surely’s so refined that I had a tough time determining after I was taking a shot in portrait mode and stored leaving it on by mistake on a few of my panorama pictures. The iPhone applies the portrait mode as you are composing pictures, so that you’re unlikely to overlook it is energetic.


When the Pixel 2 will get it proper, it will possibly produce even higher portraits than the iPhone eight Plus. The colours on this shot of Frisco Fred are extra correct, there’s extra element in his face, and I preferred having a wider angle to selected from. However getting it proper on the Pixel was a problem.


The Pixel 2 has been programed to detect faces of individuals in Portrait Mode which implies that for now it does not acknowledge a lot else as the topic. Apparently canines fall within the “face” class as a result of it appeared to do nicely with the 2 pooches we photographed, however objects the place both out of focus fully as you’ll be able to see with the taking part in playing cards within the shot bellow, or not within the portrait mode in any respect.  


The Pixel 2 did not get the Portrait Mode proper on each shot particularly when it was coping with something apart from faces. 

Vanessa Hand Orellana / CNET

The iPhone nailed the impact nearly each time even when coping with inanimate objects like meals or crops. It isn’t good, however I might selected it over the Pixel for portraits as a result of it is constant and simple to make use of.


Portrait Mode on the iPhone eight Plus works nice on meals and objects in addition to individuals. 

Vanessa Hand Orellana / CNET


However the iPhone cannot do portrait mode on the entrance digicam. The Pixel can add that blurred background impact to your selfies, but it surely’s not as dependable. It blurred me out on this shot of Lexy and I after I was barely behind her.


Portrait Mode additionally works on the entrance digicam of the Pixel 2, but it surely’s not good. 

Lexy Savvides / CNET

Even with out portrait mode, pictures on the entrance digicam look higher on the Pixel. The colours are brighter and our faces look clearer than on the iPhone’s shot.



The iPhone eight Plus and the Pixel 2 use excessive dynamic vary (HDR) picture processing, combining a number of frames taken in fast succession right into a single picture. Ideally, HDR means a photograph has shadow particulars with out terrible glare in vivid areas. Each Apple’s HDR and Google’s competing expertise, known as HDR+ on the Pixel, are energetic by default.


In supreme situations, landscapes appear to be neck and neck on the 2 telephones. The colours on the iPhone eight Plus appear further saturated with extra distinction, however landscapes on the Pixel 2 look sharper up shut. The “higher” shot actually comes down to non-public choice.


However the draw back of getting one lens is that the Pixel 2 solely has a digital zoom. The iPhone makes use of the telephoto lens to zoom in on a shot with out sacrificing picture high quality at 2x — a minimum of so long as it is comparatively vivid. The telephoto lens does not let in as a lot gentle, and it isn’t stabilized, so you must have a steadier grip on common pictures.

The shot of Alcatraz on the Pixel at 2x appears to be like washed out and grainy. The one on the iPhone appears to be like sharper and extra vibrant. Google is consistently refining its digital zoom expertise, however for those who’re on the lookout for nice zoom, the iPhone is the clear winner.



Shut-ups additionally look higher on the iPhone. The higher distinction and saturation makes the grains of salt look clearer. The shot of the Pixel makes the grains of salt mix collectively on the high of the pile.


Low gentle

The unique Pixel produced spectacular low-light pictures final yr, so it comes as no shock that the Pixel 2 does it even higher. This yr Google added a sooner f1.eight lens, which permits extra gentle than final yr’s f2 mannequin, and it added built-in optical picture stabilization (OIS) for holding the digicam regular to counteract shaky fingers that always spoil pictures in dim situations. The wide-angle lens on the iPhone eight Plus additionally has OIS so the shot of the Mirror Maze appears to be like nicely lit, but it surely’s not fairly as sharp because the Pixel’s. However to be honest, they have been taken inside a millisecond of one another and the shot is barely totally different due to the flashing lights.



However when you add a topic, the roles are reversed. I turned on the flash on each telephones to take a portrait of Lexy within the maze.

The Pixel 2 makes use of a twin LED flash, whereas the iPhone makes use of a quad LED True Tone flash for these pictures. This yr the iPhone eight Plus additionally makes use of Sluggish Sync, a function that permits for a slower shutter pace and a brief burst of sunshine from the flash, collectively producing a extra even publicity all through the photograph.

The sunshine appears extra pure on the shot of Lexy taken on the iPhone, and each the background and foreground are nicely lit. Lexy’s face appears to be like a bit sharper on the Pixel, however the flash is extra intrusive. It gave her a slight red-eye and washed out her pores and skin.


The digicam king is….

I hate to disappoint you, however there is no actual winner this time. It is a fairly even taking part in subject and truthfully, it does not get a lot better than the cameras on these two telephones. What’s clear is that this yr the Pixel 2 is ready to sustain and typically even outperform the iPhone eight Plus with only one lens.

If you’d like extra element in your shot, go together with the Pixel. However for those who choose extra colour saturation and distinction, the iPhone might be your greatest wager.


iPhone eight Plus on the left and Pixel 2 on the appropriate. 

Lexy Savvides/CNET

The Pixel 2 stands out in low gentle, but when there’re individuals in your shot, it’s possible you’ll choose the iPhone eight Plus due to the natural-looking flash. Portrait mode is now not a deal breaker on the Pixel 2, however for those who’re planning on taking pictures of something apart from individuals you may most likely use it extra on the iPhone eight Plus. Then some pictures have been so comparable I might barely inform the 2 telephones aside.

No less than so far as stills are involved. To search out out which is healthier at video, you may have to observe our subsequent shootout right here.

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