Generally, if you wanted blurry bokeh “Portrait Mode” photos from your smartphone, you’d need two lenses. But, when Google released their Pixel 2 smartphones, the company made a big deal out of how they could do so with one lens and machine learning.
Is it any good? Well, Google’s just released a whole bunch of photographs that showcases the Pixel 2’s portrait mode feature in action. And they look pretty amazing.
Click on each image to view a higher resolution version.
Besides being just really pretty photographs, the portrait mode is actually very impressive. Sure, the bokeh still doesn’t look as natural as it should be, but there’s no denying how good these photos turn out.
I’m particularly impressed with how well the Google Pixel 2 handles cropping around hair. As we’ve discovered in our ultimate flagship smartphone camera comparison, hair seems to be the biggest nemesis for these portrait mode photos. However, Google’s machine learning does a really good job at recognising even complex hair shapes. Like this photo for example:
And this one:
And this guy too:
Though, when the there is that one stubbornly stray hair that refuses to conform to the rest of your hairstyle (we all have those) the Pixel 2 seems to just ignore it:
If you want to view the larger full-resolution images, you can head on over to Google’s Photos album and check them out for yourself. One of the biggest problems with Portrait Mode on the iPhone and on Samsung’s Galaxy Note8 was that you’d always need a lot of light for them to work. Part of the reason why is that the telephoto lens on those phones have a smaller aperture. So, with just one sensor, it’ll be interesting to see if the Pixel 2 suffers from the same problems.
What do you guys think of Google’s Portrait Mode? Is it better than Apple’s iPhone? Let me know in the comments below!