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Testing the Pixel 2's standout camera

The Pixel 2 has one of the best cameras of any phone. Here are the pictures to prove it.

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Lynn La
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1 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET

Google Pixel 2 camera

The Pixel 2 (and its larger counterpart the Pixel 2 XL) boasts one of the best cameras on a phone -- if not the best camera on any Android. From the way it handles low-light and shadows to highlights and blown-out backgrounds, the Pixel 2 can handle tricky situations and capture a great image.

For more information, read CNET's Pixel 2 review.

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Google Pixel 2 camera

With so many green and yellow hues, the Pixel 2 captured great details in the different leaves, trees and blades of in this image.

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Google Pixel 2 camera

From the different carousel animals to the pattern in the floor, the camera has a lot of detail.

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Google Pixel 2 camera

With this extreme closeup of a textured pillow, you can see the different threads in each braid.

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Google Pixel 2 camera

In another closeup shot, you can see details and the translucence of individual pomegranate seeds. 

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Google Pixel 2 camera

The blue and red hues in this photo are vibrant and true-to-life.

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Google Pixel 2 camera

You can see crisp details in the bread, potato chips and lettuce leaves in this deli lunch.

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Google Pixel 2 camera

Another closeup image of sushi, where you can see all the granular details in the rice and bonito flakes.

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Google Pixel 2 camera

Here, the Pixel 2 captures a tricky image with a dark foreground and an overexposed background. The camera uses HDR+ (left), but there's also HDR+ enhanced (right), which processes even more exposure to evenly light the photo.

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Google Pixel 2 camera

The phone only has one lens to render dramatic, bokeh-like photos with blurred backgrounds. it uses a combination of facial algorithms and a special depth-mapping image sensor to achieve a depth-of-field effect.

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11 of 28 Lynn La/CNET

Google Pixel 2 camera

Overall the effect works well, but sometimes it gets patchy. Here, you can see spots of clarity in the back fence, underneath my right leg and in the green grass.

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Google Pixel 2 camera

Portrait mode worked well on the sandwich and around the toothpick.

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Google Pixel 2 camera

The bokeh effect also worked well around this goat, and there are sharp and distinct details in its fur.

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Google Pixel 2 camera

For this sleepy goat, the short depth-of-field gives this photo a dramatic look, and you can see how refined the fur and hay straws are.

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Google Pixel 2 camera

You can take bokeh-style shots with the front-facing camera too, but it doesn't process photos smoothly and only works on faces, not objects. 

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Google Pixel 2 camera

Here, the effect works pretty well -- save for the window's reflection around the right side of my head.

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Google Pixel 2 camera

Compared to the original Pixel, Google widened the camera's aperture from f2.0 to f1.8. This lets in a tad more light to achieve that more detailed low-light photography. 

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Google Pixel 2 camera

In this extremely dim bar, you can still make out the details in the scrabble tiles, drinks, playing cards and books.

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Google Pixel 2 camera

Here is the same scene with the flash turned on.

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Google Pixel 2 camera

What follows are a few more outdoor photos taken at the Oakland Zoo.

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Google Pixel 2 camera

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Google Pixel 2 camera

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Google Pixel 2 camera

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Google Pixel 2 camera

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Google Pixel 2 camera

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Google Pixel 2 camera

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Google Pixel 2 camera

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Google Pixel 2 camera

In addition to photo improvements, Google added optical image stabilization for steadier photos and video. The company also added Motion Photos, that trims and loops 1.5-second videos for a "live" giffy photo.

For more information about the phone's camera, read CNET's Pixel 2 review.

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