Previously, we covered a problem with the Pixel 7 series where the phones had poor video call quality across several third-party apps. It turns out that many people are still facing issues with the front camera on the Pixel 7 series of phones.
Pixels are always bought for good camera quality. Though the throne for good quality hardware for the front camera still goes to Samsung, Google’s images from the front camera are not bad.
The Pixel has a 21mm 1/3.1″ 10.8 MP front camera that can get wide for an excellent Field of View when taking pictures of a large group of people. It can also shoot 4K videos with the front camera.
Multiple reports as recent as January 2023 express dissatisfaction with the quality of the front camera on the Pixel 7. Blurry and grainy photos with a lot of digital noise are the primary complaints. The photos look too washed out.
Smartphone cameras have tiny sensors. So, the more light they get, the better they can produce an image. That’s hard to do with the front camera. It’s typically the smallest-sized sensor, so it will also be the weakest.
As ambient light falls, photos will come out inevitably grainy and be filled with noise. However, smartphone cameras don’t just rely on hardware. Software-based processing cleans up the mess.
Aggressive noise reduction algorithms, digital sharpening, and digital boosting of textures have improved a lot over the years. Unfortunately for the Pixel 7 series, using Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning algorithms to enhance images only makes quality worse.
The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro brighten faces up way too much, and they soften skin. If there’s a drop in ambient light, the software tries to compensate with more digital exposure, which creates a mess. High de-noise also results in photos that look like oil paintings.
Problems like this are expected from something like 200$ phones but not from camera champions like Google.
The poor quality of the front camera also translates to worse video quality in all apps. If you’re trying to video call someone with WhatsApp or hop on a Teams call, the terrible quality will get noticed.
Google didn’t acknowledge this problem with their front cameras yet. Overexposure was also reported. That’s not good news for a phone which has its main selling point as the cameras.
You can try to troubleshoot this by using alternative camera apps or restarting your device and clearing the cache, but there aren’t any reports of this helping.
Leaving the front camera alone for a moment, even the rear cameras seem to suffer from problems with post-processing: unnatural sharpness, high contrast, and too much dynamic range.
Google fixed image distortion problems, but significant front camera issues weren’t acknowledged. They launched their big December patch with bug fixes and festive-themed wallpapers but no fixes to the front cameras’ photos or videos.
The January 2023 patch also rolled out to the Pixel 7 series, but that hasn’t solved the problems. Disabling the Face Retouching option might solve the processing problems. The feature is on by default.
The Android 13 QPR2 Beta 2 was released recently. Suppose you’re willing to try out Beta software. Provided you have a watch with WearOS, you can set a timer and then take selfies using the set of rear cameras. This is also a good workaround, but none of these is ideal.
We hope Google fixes blurry photo problems as soon as possible since the front camera is essential for selfies, vlogs, meetings, and video calls. We will keep you updated on any further news.