Since the Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones have become available for purchase, there have been several reports about the camera of the devices, despite stellar scores in the DxOMark ranking, being very prone to lens flare with the sun at a certain angle to the camera lens. Now a group of affected Reddit users has described the problem in the Google Product Forum and got a quick reply from a Google employee:
‘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.’
So it appears Google is planning to solve a hardware problem with a software solution and bake an algorithm, that mathematically removes the flare from the image, into the Pixel camera’s HDR mode. This means the measure will only be effective when shooting in this mode and it remains to be seen if there is any impact on noise and/or image detail in the affected areas of the image. We will certainly have a closer look at the Pixel’s flare behavior in our own test of the device.