The Pixel 8 isn't expected to arrive until the latter half of 2023, but we're already seeing some juicy rumors trickling in. According to a popular tipster, Google is reportedly adding a cool new camera feature to the Pixel 8 that will excite consumers who are sticklers for top-of-the-line photos.
The search engine giant will reportedly add staggered HDR technology to the next-gen Pixel line, which should improve photos taken in low-light environments. In other words, Night Sight may get one hell of an upgrade next year.
What is staggered HDR?
Hawk-eyed leaker Kuba Wojciechowski discovered that the Google Camera Go app's code features references of staggered HDR for 2023 Pixel phones. You may be wondering, "What the heck is staggered HDR?"
Google's 2023 flagship Pixels to include support for staggered HDR - 🧵 pic.twitter.com/ZfWtwQBykYDecember 19, 2022
First, let's flesh out what HDR, a.k.a High Dynamic Range, is. Nature TTL described it best: "HDR photography is a technique that involves capturing multiple images of the same scene using different exposure values, and then combining those images into a single [one]." In other words, HDR attempts to correct the issue of overexposed and underexposed images by taking many pictures and stitching them together, which provides an overall correct exposure.
As CNET reported, Google spearheaded a technique called HDR+, which merges several underexposed frames into one shot. This process, for example, ensures that the pretty blue sky in your picture doesn't wash out into a blank, glowy white patch. HDR+ also alleviated darker areas by leveraging the brightest frame. But there's one problem: "... the scene can change from one frame to the next, leading to ghosting and other artifacts," CNET said.
This is where staggered HDR comes in; it captures multiple frames in quicker succession, which should reduce scene deviation.
It's worth noting that the Pixel 7's sensor, the Samsung GN1, doesn't support staggered HDR. However, the Pixel 8 will reportedly feature the Samsung GN2 sensor, which does support the cool camera perk.
As with any rumor, though, have your grain of salt ready. We won't know for sure how accurate this scuttlebutt is until it comes from the horse's mouth.