Googler Confirms ‘Halo Effect’ on Google Pixel’s Rear Camera; Fix Incoming

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 26 Oct 2016

Google Pixel XL - oblique view

The 12MP rear shooter on the Pixel might not seem impressive on paper, but it has received rave reviews, with the camera easily challenging the likes of Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7. The camera is not without its issues though, with many customers and reviewers noting a “halo effect” in photos taken under certain lighting conditions.

The lens flare/halo effect is a pretty common issue that affects the camera of most smartphones when light hits the camera lens at a certain angle. However, on the Pixel, the issue seems to occur way more frequently and can easily ruin the photos taken from the phone.

Responding to a thread on Google product forums about this issue, a Googler “IssacOnCamera” has explained the issue and confirmed that Google is working on a fit despite this seemingly being a hardware issue. He notes that the “halo/arc flare” on the Pixel appear “as a bright/low-contrast arc in the corners of the flame.” Google is working on a fix that uses some advanced mathematical computation which should be bundled in a software update for the device in the next few weeks.

Hi, all!

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.
I wrote a post a while ago about how by doing things in software, we are able to make Pixel’s camera even better over time. This is one of those ways.
Have you faced the “halo effect” on photos taken with your Google Pixel?