The Pixel Camera App with HDR+ review


So back in 2016, the Pixel made a surprising and remarkable stance at bringing the best camera performance in smartphones. This year, the Pixel 2 and 2 XL have gone way beyond, making the DXO mark rating of 98, which is the highest rating today as compared to all the other smartphones in the world. This makes the pixel 2 and 2 XL smartphones with the best cameras in the world. The amazing lens plays a crucial part but more importantly, its the software that comes with the Pixel phones that does the wonder. Let’s know more about it. 




The port

A developer named B-S-G has been generous enough to work on modding the stock camera app of the pixel phones, enabling other devices with a Snapdragon 820,821 and 835 chipsets that house the Hexagon 680 ISP, to use the app. The HDR+ feature of the camera app takes some amazing photos, that is to this date, unparalleled. The camera app takes some amazing photos, both in low light as well as well lit scenarios. 

In outdoor scenes, where the background is a bright source, pictures tend to overexpose the background or make the subject dark, depending upon the focus area. The intelligent HDR+ algorithm keeps the exposure levels appropriate for both the background as well as the subject leading to stunning shots, embracing heavy details. 

HDR+ Algorithm

Latest Updates 

The last year’s Pixel phones showed a noticeable lag in shutter speed and image processing to render the HDR+ effect. This was quite prominent in the Nexus phones. There were more updates done to the apps, with ZSL (Zero shutter lag) that helped remove the lag and ensured faster performance. The HDR+ processing was also improved vastly. Those updates were later brought to the modded app, to be used by other devices. 

HDR+ difference

A tonne of options is also added to the mod that lets you choose from a plethora of combinations to play with. You can choose from a wide list of HDR+ algorithms, buffer count, frame count and more, depending on your device thresholds. 

HDR+ Settings

The app now also supports images to be saved in RAW format, so content creators can later edit pictures in Photoshop or Lightroom and add more effects as well.  

Currently, the app has been tested to be supported by the below-given phones : 

You can find the latest version of the modded pixel camera app (ver. 4.4)  with HDR+ here

The App compatible with Snapdragon 820/821 can be found here

Feel free to take a look below at the Image Samples taken on LG V20 with Google Camera with HDR+ that I captured in the past couple of days. 

This app breathed new life into my smartphone’s camera and I am loving every single moment of it. Let me know how you feel about the same. 


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A tech enthusiast by hobby and a cloud architect by profession. I live to read and love to write tech. My desire remains to see Jarvis from iron Man to actually run things around. I love to play guitar too and compose my songs. Music keeps me sane :)