It looks like the Google Pixel 8 may feature a new primary camera with support for staggered HDR, according to developer and leaker Kuba Wojciechowski. In the code for the unobfuscated version of Google’s camera app for budget phones, Camera Go, Wojciechowski spotted references to devices called “Husky” and “Shiba,” which are believed to be the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro.
Google Pixel 8 is rumored to feature new primary camera with staggered HDR support
These devices reportedly support staggered HDR, a slightly different approach to traditional HDR where a long and short exposure shot is taken at the same time, rather than in quick succession. This can reduce the likelihood of ghosting or strobe effects when the algorithm is unable to correctly match longer and shorter exposure shots within the same photo.
However, the current camera on the Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 6, the 50MP Samsung GN1, does not support staggered HDR on a hardware level. If the code found by Wojciechowski is accurate, this suggests that Google will upgrade the primary camera for the Pixel 8. One potential option for the new phone is the 50MP GN2, which does support staggered HDR.
Photography has always been a strong suit for the Pixel phones, and Google has consistently used machine learning augmented cameras that do a lot of the heavy lifting during post processing. The GN1 sensor on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 6 was a significant step forward for the series, which previously relied on the same camera first introduced with the Pixel 3 in terms of hardware. In the past, Google has mostly focused on improving the software and hardware surrounding the camera, with new algorithms, chips, and more, rather than replacing the camera itself.
If the Pixel 8 does feature a new primary camera, it would represent a shift in strategy for Google. Rather than sticking with the same camera for multiple years and iteratively improving the surrounding architecture to get the most out of it, the company would be opting for a two-pronged approach by improving both hardware and software. Given the recent departures in the company’s camera department, it wouldn’t be surprising to see new members try different approaches.