Google Pixel 2’s Camera Seems To Struggle Under LED Lighting

November 14, 2017 - Written By Mihai Matei

The Pixel 2 series is reaching the headlines once again and not for the right reasons, as a new issue related to the main camera of the devices was brought to light by numerous Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL owners. The problem manifests itself in the form of banding while capturing photos and videos in certain lighting conditions, specifically when the sensors are being exposed to LED lighting. Technically speaking, this type of banding occurs due to the way LED lights work and in theory, there are ways to combat this, however, because the Pixel camera application doesn’t offer a comprehensive manual mode for adjusting the shutter speed of the handset(s), the issue doesn’t seem to be easily avoided with just a simple camera setting change.

In layman’s terms, the reason why banding occurs lies in the fact that LED lights flicker at the same rate as the AC power supply, i.e. 50Hz in Europe and 60Hz in the United States. Although unnoticeable to the naked eye, this flickering can be picked up by a camera, and technically speaking, the issue can be avoided by setting the camera’s shutter speed to match, double, or triple the LED flicker frequency (e.g. at 1/50, 1/100, 1/150, or 1/60, 1/120, etc.). Evidently, this solution doesn’t work for the Pixel 2 smartphones as the camera application lacks the option of setting these shutter speeds manually, and instead, this type of banding should be ironed out automatically by the sensor and imaging software. Unfortunately, it looks like the “brain” working behind the Pixel 2 camera is having some issues with eliminating the banding effect created by LED lights, despite the fact that in overall, the new flagship’s camera capabilities have been praised by numerous media outlets as well as DxOMark. For some users, it appears that the problem has been manifesting itself for the past couple of weeks but no working solutions have been shared by Google so far. It’s also unclear whether this problem occurs in both Europe and the United States given that the AC power supply frequency differs by 10Hz from one region to the other.

Google’s Pixel 2 series hasn’t enjoyed the smoothest of launches as its users have already brought various issues to light and the company continues to work on fixing the problems hindering the Pixel 2 launch with regular software updates, which is how the newly uncovered LED-related bug should also be addressed. Feel free to check out the video below for a demonstration of the Pixel 2’s camera experiencing banding issues.