The Pixel 7 could use the same camera sensor as the Pixel 6
Google managed to raise the bar for smartphone camera performance with the Pixel 6 series in 2021 after falling behind in the years before that. Apart from the excellent image processing, the bigger new 50MP GN1 sensor played a key role in this. Now, it looks like the big G intends to carry forward the same camera setup on the Pixel 7 series this year.
Leaker Yogesh Brar claims that Google will “most likely” use the same optics on the Pixel 7 series as the Pixel 6. If the leak turns out to be accurate, the upcoming Google-branded phone will retain the 50MP f / 1.85 GN1 primary and the 12.5MP f / 2.2 ultra-wide sensors. Any improvements in photos will come from Google further optimizing the sensor, its image processing, and taking advantage of the more powerful ISP in this year’s Tensor chip.
Unlike most other Android manufacturers, Google does not tend to upgrade the camera hardware on its Pixel phones every year. Instead, it further optimizes its algorithms to eke out the most from the sensors. The company used Sony’s 12.2MP Sony IMX363 sensor across four generations of its devices: starting from the Pixel 2 in October 2017 to the Pixel 5 in 2020. In fact, if rumors are anything to go by, the upcoming mid-range Pixel 6a could very well use the same Sony shooter. This is despite the industry switching to bigger and higher-resolution camera hardware with pixel binning – the best budget Android phones now come with 108MP cameras.
The 50MP GN1 shooter inside the Pixel 6 series is still among the best in the market, so there’s little reason to be worried about the Pixel 7’s camera capabilities. The ultra-wide sensor could be a cause for concern since its performance on the Pixel 6 series was not great to begin with – it captured noisier and darker photos than the primary shooter. Despite processing improvements with this generation’s Pixel, there’s only so much detail that Google can extract from a smaller sensor.
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