The Pixel 2 has a crazy-good camera. Here’s how Google could make it better.

The Pixel 2 (and Pixel 2 XL) has the best camera I’ve used in a smartphone, but it’s not perfect. After using the cameras for nearly a month, I’ve found there are a few shortcomings Google could address in both the camera app and Google Photos that could make the shooting experience even better. While I get that Google has to balance simplicity with features, most of these should be easy enough to address without bloating the camera.

Wide-angle portraits

The Pixel 2’s portrait mode is among the best I’ve used – all the more impressive because it works with a single sensor. But Google has made a few choices that limit its potential.

One that I personally find highly irksome is that Google forces the camera to crop images when using portrait mode – 1.5x on the rear camera, and 1.2x on the front. It may not seem like much, but it’s occasionally annoying enough to merit nitpicking.

At first glance, the choice makes some sense. As you might know, portraits are generally more flattering when shot with telephoto (more ‘zoomed-in’) lenses because they force you to shoot from a distance. Shooting from afar reduces something called perspective distortion; see the below image for a dramatic example of how perspective distortion can affect faces.

Credit: Stephen Eastwood