We’ve already told you guys about the Google Pixel’s strange camera quirk where a halo-like ring can occasionally creep into photos — first in our camera review, then in a separate PSA. After the “issue” has resulted in numerous hardware returns/exchanges, Google is now chiming in on the issue.
First off, the halo effect is real. Google has finally confirmed that, yes, the Pixel does exhibit a fair amount of lens flaring (significantly more than you may be used to from other devices) and that it’s something that affects every Pixel — whether you’ve yet to run into the issue or not — so a hardware exchange wont resolve anything.
Photos taken with the iPhone 7, Pixel, Honor 8 show halo arc only present on Pixel
In a post from the Pixel User Community, a Googler flat out confirms that the Pixel “has a little too much of the ‘halo/arc’ flare” but they’re already working on a fix. No, there’s not going to be a global recall (heh). Instead, Google says a future software update — arriving in the next few weeks — will help alleviate the appearance of the halo/light arc in photos. Using new algorithms to identify the halo, Google believes they’ll be able to eliminate it from photos, almost like a quick PhotoShop job being done on the fly.
Of course, you’ll need to be using HDR+ Auto for it to work, although we’re not sure what that means for video, where the halo arc also appears, but isn’t quite as noticeable. I’m also not entirely confident software will completely erase the halo arc from photos 100%, but at the very least it should help minimize it for much better results.
As you already know, Google’s uses a lot of software tricks in its camera software to help with things like HDR+ and even image stabilization when shooting video. Being able to fix a hardware “issue” using software only further showcases the power of Google’s computational photography and according to Google, is just the beginning of how they expect the Pixel camera to grow better over time.