Patch will use ‘magical math’ to solve Google Pixel’s camera lens flare problem

Google Pixel XL
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
The Google Pixel smartphone has been released to some pretty excellent reviews, and one of the selling points of the device is widely considered to be its camera. The camera isn’t perfect, however, and there have been complaints about a camera flare issue.

Google seems well aware of the problem, and has both acknowledged it and said that it will develop a fix. No, you won’t have to take your device in and replace it with a new camera — Google will instead release a software patch that will apply some magical mathematics to solve the problem.

It’s important to note that camera lens flare is normal, but it seems as though the Pixel’s camera is a little more susceptible to it than most. If you take a photo in bright light, you’ll probably notice the lens flare, which will appear like a halo of light in the corners of the image.

Lens flares are caused by the light reflecting inside the lens’ multiple pieces, creating circular spots on the image and also often reducing the image’s overall contrast. All camera lenses are prone to lens flare, as a Google representative pointed out. DSLR lens designers use multiple coatings to help prevent that reflection. On DLSR and mirrorless lenses, a hood or plastic “shade” can also help prevent light coming in from the most extreme angles that cause most flares.

An employee of Google has posted in the Google Products Forum, saying that the issue is not, in fact, related to a defective device, and that all Pixel smartphones will likely experience the issue. The company thinks a fix is possible by tweaking the camera’s algorithms, which will detect the lens flare and subtract it from photos. According to the company, the update should be available in a few weeks, so hold tight until then if you’re a Pixel owner.

Apart from the lens flare, the Google Pixel has overall been very well received, especially when it comes to the camera — in fact, some even go as far as to suggest that the Pixel can take on the iPhone in photo quality.

Updated on 10-27-2016 by Hillary Grigonis: Added information on what causes lens flares.


Midrange phones can’t do A.I., but MediaTek’s P90 chip aims to change that

MediaTek has announced the Helio P90 mobile processor, which it says will bring the best A.I. features we see on high-end smartphones, to the mid-range. We spoke to the company about the chip.

A dead pixel doesn't mean a dead display. Here's how to repair it

Dead pixel got you down? We don't blame you. Check out our guide on how to fix a dead pixel and save yourself that costly screen replacement or an unwanted trip to your local repair shop.

A render video gives us a 360-degree look at the midrange Pixels

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 Lite XL.
Product Review

Meet Z6, the breakout star in Nikon's new mirrorless lineup

The Nikon Z6 is the sibling to the new mirrorless Z7 -- but for some photographers, the cheaper Z6 may be the better option. Read where the $2,000 camera beats the $3,400 one (and where it doesn’t) in our Nikon Z6 review.

Leave the laptop at home, the iPad Pro is the travel buddy to take on vacay

The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet that's perfect for creatives and professionals. How does it fare when traveling with it as a laptop replacement? We took it on a two week trek in Japan to find out.

Quirky smartphone accessories you never knew you needed

Looking for a few accoutrements to make your smartphone even better? If you, or someone you know, is a sucker for accessories, you'll want to check out our collection of quirky smartphone accessories you never knew you needed.

Ditch your smartphone for a year and win $100k from Vitaminwater

Vitaminwater is willing to part with $100,000 if you're willing to part with your smartphone partner for a year. Could you last for a year armed with only a 1996-era phone? Here's your chance to find out.

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.

Walmart drops prices on Apple Watches and other fitness trackers

Smartwatches, fitness trackers, and wearable heart rate monitors from Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, and Garmin are popular gifts. Wearables are smarter and more capable than in earlier years. We found the best wearables deals on Walmart.

The best Wear OS watches

There are a ton of different Wear OS watches out there, but which one's right for you? No matter what you're looking for from a smartwatch, here are the best Wear OS watches out there.
Emerging Tech

Capture app saves money by 3D scanning objects using iPhone’s TrueDepth camera

Capture is a new iPhone app created by the Y Combinator-backed startup Standard Cyborg. It allows anyone to perform 3D scans of objects and share them with buddies. Here's how it works.
Home Theater

How to master your equalizer settings for the perfect sound

You may know what an EQ is, but do you know how to adjust equalizer settings for the best possible sound? We go through the basics of the modern EQ and lay out some guidelines for how to achieve tip-top sound from your system.

How to switch from iPhone to Android: The ultimate guide

If you've decided to bridge the great tech divide and leave Apple's walled garden for the unknown shores of Android, then you'll find all the tips and advice you need to begin switching from an iPhone to an Android device.
Smart Home

This device detects when your pet is at the door and opens it for them

Tired of waiting for your dog to come inside, or running home in the middle of the day to let your four-legged friend out? Wayzn automatically opens sliding doors for your dog and gives you remote control.