What do these Halloween photos tell us about the Nexus 6’s camera?


It’s one thing when a company presents carefully curated (and possibly edited) photo samples to show off their latest phone’s camera capabilities. It’s another when a representative of the same company posts a few casual shots to a social network. Which, we might ask, is the more accurate representation of the camera’s true nature? If you believe the latter, see Matias Duarte’s recent Google+ post in which he showcases his pumpkin carving skills and, simultaneously, the Nexus 6 camera.


Making these photos even more telling is the fact that they are night shots — the bane of many a smartphone photographer. While plenty of Android devices boast perfectly capable daytime shooting modes, it is when we transition into the dim lighting of the night that we really get a sense of the limits of any particular camera sensor. While it is important to note that Duarte is not presenting these photos in order to directly show off the Nexus 6 camera (and therefore they may not be representative of the best the phone is capable of), one could argue that this example of “real world” use says more about the latest Google phone’s photo capabilities than any set of PR-selected photos could.

We have mixed feelings about the results. As far as nighttime photos captured with a smartphone are concerned, these are pretty good. You can see plenty of detail out of the darkness, but there is a good deal of graininess. The resolution is there but it’s fuzzy around the edges. The colors don’t exactly pop, but the sensor is obviously sensitive enough to capture subtle differences in shadow and light. Needless to say, the Nexus 6 isn’t blowing us away here, but it seems perfectly capable of grabbing some decent photos in darker lighting conditions (anyone who wants amazing nighttime photos will need a more powerful camera setup than what’s available on the smartphone market, in any case).

What says the peanut gallery? Do these photos get you excited about the Nexus 6 camera, or do they leave you wanting more?

Kevin Krause
Pretty soon you'll know a lot about Kevin because his biography will actually be filled in!

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  1. The shots look good to me.

    1. They look really good IMO. Unfortunately without context of how dark or light the original location was, we can’t determine how good the picture really is.

  2. It tells me that i didn’t take them because i don’t have one.These long waits to get one really blows

  3. Looks pretty decent to me. If I want good night shots that don’t have the graininess I’d have to pull out my dslr and a tripod. I’d be happy with those shots with my phone. If I wanted something professional I’d pull out the professional equipment.

  4. They’re OK, but as you say about as good as you’re going to get with a smart phone camera on this point in the tech curve.

  5. They look good and this clearly isn’t HDR. So HDR should look amazing.

    1. And there’s a good chance this isn’t final software either. I was told by another Googler that the Nexus 6 is the best Android camera he’s ever used. And he uses probably every phone for taking photos. I trust his opinions when it comes to photography. And that has me very excited.

  6. It says that they are using Optical image stabilization. A trend htc one and Lg G2 started and everyone has been slowly adapting since. Brighter photos with less noise. And?

    1. you misspelled windows phone

  7. Well – its light years ahead of any crappy nexus camera thats been released so far.

    So thats a huge plus. Hope I don’t take a step backwards when I ditch my note 3 camera for this thing.

  8. This looks pretty decent. All my Galaxy S4 photos in light like that would be blurry as crap.

  9. I remember trying to take this exact type of shot (of jack o lanterns in the dark at halloween) on my old nexus phones (GNex). It was a disaster… Especially if there is no HDR+ this is really good. (for a camera phone)

    Never thought I’d be interested in a phablet but if the camera and the battery-life keep their promises (and there aren’t any bad surprises) I may have to try this one.

  10. Don’t forget RAW support for the photo geeks! If you really care about your IQ you can post process in LIghtroom or Photoshop!

    1. I like my photos the way I like my beef, not RAW.

      1. RAW allows post processing to improve exposure. RAW is great for fixing photo’s like the one above.

        1. In all seriousness, though I sincerely hope that more devices will be able to save photos in RAW format. Even if you don’t take a lot of pictures when you know you should for the memories (like me) you would be able to edit the pictures to look great when you do take them and they turn out a bit iffy.

          1. RAW support is built into Android L. The camera app just has to support it.

    2. Ugh… RAW format on a device without external storage sounds like a good way to fill up a phone PDQ.

      1. But they say Photoshop. So I’m sure they’ll be taking them off quickly.

  11. It’s the Moto X with OIS. Grainy as hell, but somewhat sharp.

    1. Idk about that. I’ve heard its actually better than the Moto X and they don’t exactly share the same quality when it comes to pictures.

  12. Looks nice, but the price range of the nexus makes it unattainable for me.

  13. I say pretty dang good if it’s on a tripod and great if it’s hand held

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