Google launched its Pixel 7 line of smartphones in October 2022, with a faster Tensor G2 SoC, slight refashioning in design, and improvements to the camera, over the Pixel 6 series. While Google’s latest flagship smartphones use the same 50MP Samsung ISOCELL GN1 camera sensor as the older Pixel 6 lineup, the imaging quality on the Pixel 7 series is superior to its predecessor. However, Google could refresh the following year’s Pixel 8 phones with a new camera sensor.
According to developer Kuba Wojciechowski, who spotted new strings of code in the Google Camera Go app, the next-gen Pixel devices could support staggered HDR. For those wondering what this feature means, staggered HDR is an advanced image capture technique in which a long and short exposure gets captured simultaneously on the same camera sensor and then combined into a single image using computational HDR. As a result, this produces an HDR image faster and with higher quality even when the subject is moving.
Google’s 2023 flagship Pixels to include support for staggered HDR – 🧵 pic.twitter.com/ZfWtwQBykY
— Kuba Wojciechowski⚡ (@Za_Raczke) December 19, 2022
In comparison, the standard image sensors used in most phones can only handle a single exposure at a time. Unlike computational photography features enabled by software tweaks, Staggered HDR requires hardware that supports the feature. It’s a relatively new addition to smartphone camera sensors. Therefore, only a few image sensors support staggered HDR at the moment.
As we already know that the Pixel 7’s GN1 sensor does not support staggered HDR, it is safe to assume that Google is working on a new sensor that supports the staggered HDR feature for its next-generation flagships. Wojciechowski also mentions that Samsung’s 50MP ISOCELL GN2 sensor, a successor of the GN1 sensor, supports staggered HDR.
However, there is no guarantee that big G will ship the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro with this new 50MP GN2 sensor.