Janky Camera Panning On The Original Pixels Won’t Be Fixed

October 12, 2017 - Written By Dominik Bosnjak

The Google Pixel and Pixel XL won’t have their janky camera panning performance fixed with a subsequent software update based on Fused Video Stabilization, a new feature Alphabet’s subsidiary introduced for the Pixel 2 lineup, with the company recently clarifying that the functionality is exclusive to the Pixel 2 family. While Fused Video Stabilization requires hardware for optical image stabilization that the 2016 Android flagships don’t have, it also relies on many advanced imaging algorithms, some of which may be portable to the Pixel and Pixel XL, users were previously hoping.

The effects of Fused Video Stabilization can be seen in the video below, with the solution being able to stabilize a recording through a combination of OIS and electronic image stabilization. While EIS was also supported by the original Pixel handsets, video recordings made using the two devices are usually prone to “jumping” during camera panning as the smartphones aren’t able to accurately differentiate between unwanted shaking and intended angling and moving on the user’s part. Some people dubbed this anomaly as “the Terminator effect,” alluding to robotic video feeds often shown in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi movie franchise. The stabilization bug present in the software of the original Pixel phones still doesn’t make all panning shots inconsistent and jittery but prevents the devices from producing anything close to the stabilized feed demonstrated below.

Regardless, the Pixel and Pixel XL are still considered to boast one of the best mobile cameras that money can currently buy and their successors are seeking to continue leading the smartphone photography segment, with Google and DxOMark claiming that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have the most capable handset cameras to date. While the Mountain View, California-based tech giant was expected to deliver a high-quality imaging experience with the Pixel 2 series, the final product still surprised some industry watchers seeing how the company wasn’t able or willing to equip its latest Android flagships with a dual-camera setup, a feature that essentially became a hallmark of high-end smartphones in recent times and allows original equipment manufacturers to improve the image quality of their solutions while avoiding large camera bumps. The Pixel 2 is set for an official release on October 19th, whereas its larger counterpart will be available for purchase come November 15th.