Pixel 6 Pro’s breathtaking camera 7 months and 1000 photos later: am I going to be a real photographer?

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Above are the conventional definitions of “photography” and “photographer”, and while they look quite plain, sitting nicely below the story thumbnail, their definition is blurred. The first ever photograph was taken by Nicéphore Niépce in Saint-Loup-de-Varennes, France, sometime between 1826 and 1827, making Niépce the “OG” photographer, as children like to say. But it’s now been nearly 200 years since people discovered “digital paintings”, and of course the definitions of “photographer” and “photograph” have been shuffled like a salad bowl with the lid on. The reason?

smart phones. I know I’m anticipating the whole camera revolution, which includes things we can’t even imagine, as well as dry plates, film, and of course the modern digital cameras, but they’re smartphones that have managed to put a camera in everyone’s pocket.

Camera phones have changed:

  • What makes an event worth photographing?
  • What makes a photographer a photographer?
  • What makes a photo a “professional photo”
  • How many pictures do we take?
  • How we store photos
  • How we share photos
  • Why we take pictures

That’s both incredible and challenging, as taking hundreds of photos can disconnect you from your surroundings, distract you from your actual vacation, etc. But! Today we are here to talk about the good features of phone cameras!

And what better example of a fantastic phone camera than the Pixel 6 Pro – the much anticipated hardware upgrade to Google’s remarkable computational photography revolution! Let’s see if the Pixel 6 Pro has made the average Joe (in this case Martin) a “real photographer”…

Pixel 6 Pro – the most acclaimed (phone) camera I’ve ever seen…

Before I show you some of the photos I took with the Pixel 6 Pro, I have to say that the inspiration behind this story was the huge amount of praise and compliments the Pixel 6 Pro received from friends and family during my last trip to Spain. . But also during my other trip to Spain… and my trip to Berlin…

So why were my friends and relatives so baffled? The resolution? The megapixels? The colors of the photos?

Not really! It’s because… the pictures looked like they weren’t coming from a phone. And no, they couldn’t put it into words, but I could sense the fascination in their eyes, especially when it came to pictures taken with the Pixel’s 4x periscope camera.

Sure, part of that was the massive zoom capabilities of this camera, which is way above its weight, but what really made them long for “that phone” was the bokeh on the photos.

What is bokeh and why makes the Pixel 6 Pro’s telephoto the best in the business?

For those who don’t know (including my uncle), bokeh is “the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in out-of-focus areas of an image”. In practice, bokeh makes the subject of your photo stand out from the environment around it. Bokeh is barely present in scenes where there is no clear subject (landscape, landscape shots), which is why the ultra-wide angle cameras on your phone don’t deliver.

The features of the Pixel 6 Pro’s periscope lens are as follows:

48 MP, f/3.5, 104 mm (periscope telephoto), 1/2″, 0.8 µm, PDAF, OIS, 4x optical zoom.

Needless to say, all of this plays a part in helping this camera take photos that are often indistinguishable from a DSLR shot, but what really matters here is the size of the sensor and the detail that he can collect. The Pixel 6 Pro has the largest telephoto sensor on any phone (shared with the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra and Huawei P50 Pro).

This helps Google’s camera collect more light and introduce more background blur (bokeh) into photos at short to medium distances. On the other hand, the pixel-binned 48MP shooting means the Pixel’s zoom images are the most detailed we’ve ever seen from a single telephoto sensor on a phone. And it’s not just the sharpness (which some manufacturers achieve through post-processing, which can lead to an artificial look). I’m talking Real detail…

I’m not sure if it shows up, but the best and most of the pictures I’ve taken were taken with the 4x periscope zoom camera. This lens is so good that you will only take more and more pictures with it. If you want a smartphone camera that comes closest to a “right camera” photographic look, this is it.

My tips for taking “DSLR-like” photos with the Pixel 6 Pro are:

  • Use the 4x periscope camera when conditions allow
  • Find a subject that is between you and your main subject – it will give your photos depth
The Pixel 6 Pro’s camera system isn’t perfect by any means – the ultra-wide-angle lens needs to be replaced with a newer and larger sensor, and the main camera needs some extra HDR, lens flare and noise reduction. But the 4x periscope lens is about as perfect as I’ve ever seen on a phone. It’s a masterpiece.

Ultimately, does one of the best camera phones in the world make you a “true photographer”?

Yes and no.

The Pixel 6 Pro’s camera system could be so good it is annoying† I took pretty much all the pictures on my last vacation, and there were another 11 people who just… wanted me to take pictures of them with my phone

So yes, I became a photographer. And as far as today’s trends go, it turns out I totally fit the definition. In fact probably better than a “real photographer” as I can immediately take, edit and share the photos with my “clients”.

And yes, the Pixel 6 Pro can definitely replace a “real camera” if you know how to use it. Again, especially the 4x periscope lens. For the record, it also depends on what your definition of a “real camera” is.

The Pixel can replace just about any point-and-shoot camera because it offers excellent dynamic range, true-to-life colors, great detail, incredible versatility, some of the best video quality on any phone, and some of the best microphones out there – if you feel like it.

Can it replace a cinema camera? Of course you can’t. But I’ve heard there’s another phone for that – the iPhone with its Cinematic Mode, which I’ve had the pleasure of testing in detail, and I do have some thoughts on it!

Until then… let’s wish for a better ultra-wide angle lens and maybe a Cinematic Mode on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. ok google?

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