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Pixel 3 camera test: Google's phone delivers again

Check out photos shot on Google's latest phone as we take it around New York and put its camera to the test.

Lynn_La2.jpg
Lynn_La2.jpg
Lynn La
Lynn La covers mobile reviews and news. She previously wrote for The Sacramento Bee, Macworld and The Global Post.
Lynn La
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1 of 33 Sarah Tew/CNET

Photos taken on the Pixel 3

Equipped with a 12.2-megapixel rear camera, new software updates that use machine learning to improve image processing and a secondary wide-angle selfie shooter, Google's Pixel 3 and 3 XL take fantastic images. Click through to see the photos.

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2 of 33 Lynn La/CNET

Taken on the Pixel 3

Let's start with some easy, well-lit outdoor images. This was taken in Madison Square Park on a bright day.

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Taken on the Pixel 3

A closeup of a flower. Here, I like the depth of the petals at the center of the flower.

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Taken on the Pixel 3

Taking a photo of this building at a standard view.

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Taken on the Pixel 3

Zooming in on the building at max zoom.

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Taken on the Pixel 3

The Pixel 3 and 3 XL both have a feature called Night Sight mode to brighten up low light photography. Here is a photo taken on the phone's auto-mode...

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7 of 33 Juan Garzon/CNET

Taken on the Pixel 3

And here is the same scene with Night Sight.

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8 of 33 Juan Garzon / CNET

Taken on the Pixel 3

Another shot without Night Sight...

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Taken on the Pixel 3

Using Night Sight again.

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Taken on the Pixel 3

We move now into some indoor shots. This is still a brightly lit room, and you can see plenty of details in the black counter and brick wall.

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Taken on the Pixel 3

A typical shot of some coffee art, but I do like how much details are in the froth.

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Taken on the Pixel 3

A few more shots indoors...

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Taken on the Pixel 3

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Taken on the Pixel 3

I like the focus and the details of the fish and clams here.

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Taken on the Pixel 3

A closeup shot of some bread. I like the falloff between the fore- and background.

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Taken on the Pixel 3

Testing the phone's Portrait mode. With only a single lens, the Pixel 3 pulls off a solid shot of this dog.

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Taken on the Pixel 3

Moving onto low-light images, the Pixel 3 handles these dim settings well -- brightening up shadows and retaining lots of detail.

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Taken on the Pixel 3

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Taken on the Pixel 3

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Taken on the Pixel 3

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Taken on the Pixel 3

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Taken on the Pixel 3

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Taken on the Pixel 3

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Taken on the Pixel 3

These flowers were quite pale looking in real life, but I would have liked the phone to punch up the colors more.

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Taken on the Pixel 3

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Taken on the Pixel 3

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Taken on the Pixel 3

Taking a selfie shot with the phone's standard front-facing camera.

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Taken on the Pixel 3

Taking a wide-angle shot with the secondary camera. Here you can see more people fitting into the frame.

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29 of 33 Lynn La / CNET

Taken on the Pixel 3

For these next few low-light shots, take note of how the camera handles different lighting situations and exposures. The wide dynamic range allows the Pixel 3 to handle tricky situations like this to produce a solid photo.

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Taken on the Pixel 3

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Taken on the Pixel 3

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Taken on the Pixel 3

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Photos taken on the Pixel 3

The Pixel 3 starts at $799, £739 and AU$1,199 for the 64GB model, while the 3 XL starts at $899, £869 and AU$1,349.

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