Pixel 3 Camera’s top new features: Top Shot, Night Sight, Playground, Super Res Zoom, Group Selfie and more


Everytime Google launches a new Pixel, the camera is something that amazes us all. This year’s event was not any different. Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL launched with a camera that has an updated Pixel Visual Core and new features including Top Shot, Night Sight, Playground, Super Res Zoom, Group Selfie and more.

Apple tried to bring many camera features with its iPhone XS and XR phones. But, many reviewers already claim that the new iPhone cameras still can’t beat the Pixel 2. For now, let’s dig deeper into Pixel 3’s new camera features.

UPDATE (14th October 2018): Pixel 3 Camera features coming to Pixel 2 and OG Pixel.

1. Top shot

Due to the shutter lag on most new smartphone cameras, you often miss the perfect shot, like for eg:- a somersault. Most cameras unless timed perfectly end up capturing you on the ground after the mid-air jump. To fix this issue, Google brings Top Shot to Pixel 3.

Top Shot on Pixel 3 captures multiple photos of an action with zero shutter lag and gives you a recommended shot
Top Shot

Top Shot captures a few quick photos once you press to capture one. This works almost like Continuous shots. With the help of Zero Shutter lag, Pixel 3 is able to capture a somersault attempt from the beginning to the end. And, with the combination of AI + Software + Hardware, as Google says Pixel 3 also shows you the recommended photo which in most cases is the one you wanted. Or, you could scroll through the variations and choose any you desire.

2. Night Sight

Pixel 2 still has a great camera. But, I had explained in my OnePlus 6 review, how the camera on Pixel 2 lags behind given the low light and night photography. With Night Sight on Pixel 3, low light and night photography is taken to the next level. During the event, Google compared a photo taken in low light on iPhone XS to one taken on Pixel 3.

With Night Sight, low light photography on Pixel 3 is much better than iPhone XS
Low light photo: Pixel 3 vs iPhone XS

As you can see, Pixel 3 scores a lot better than the iPhone XS Camera here. Google claims, with Night Sight, you won’t have to use the flash anymore.

UPDATE (15th November 2018): Pixel phones get official Night Sight via Google Camera update.

3. Playground

AR stickers have existed on Pixel phones. But, with Pixel 3’s Playground, AR is taken to the next level. Google introduced Marvel characters like Iron Man and Hulk as AR characters. Now, you can pose for a photo with Iron Man. Or, you could just point your camera at a street to see Childish Gambino dance to his rhythm. And, it also has this cute dog that can do some awesome tricks.

Playground on Pixel 3 lets you take photos with AR based Marvel Characters like Iron Man, Childish Gambino, etc.

There’s good news for older Pixel owners too. Google said the Playground feature will come to Original Pixel and Pixel 2 soon.

4. Super Res Zoom

Ever tried taking a photo at a concert? Most phones can’t zoom and still maintain a clear picture of the happenings at the stage. According to Google, Pixel 3 can! Super Res Zoom is a technology used to take pictures of the surface of Mars. Pixel 3 now takes a few shots of the same thing. With Super Res Zoom and the AI, it analyses those shots and then zooms into the picture to give you the perfect shot.

5. Group Selfie Cam

I was really unhappy when I found out through the leaks that Pixel 3 will have a Single 12.2MP Rear Camera. But, I was confused when I learned that on the front, the phone will have an 8MP Dual Camera. After the event though, I am convinced that the front of the phone is where the Dual Cam should be.

With Dual Front Camera on Pixel 3, you can get everyone in the frame for Group Selfies
Group Selfie

Google has introduced this setup keeping in mind Group Selfies. Without a selfie stick, it’s really difficult to take a Group selfie right? But, with Pixel 3’s Wide angle lens on the front, you won’t need a selfie stick to take a picture that includes everyone. This is a very neat and appreciated feature.

6. Photobooth

Miss those long photo strips that you would take with your friend at a Photobooth making funny faces. Now, you don’t have to find a photobooth for it. Pixel 3 Camera has a Photobooth Mode with which you could relive that experience anywhere.

7. Google Lens

Google Lens can do much more with the Pixel 3 as it’s integrated into the Camera. Point the camera at a movie poster and it will provide you with the link (URL) on the poster. Like those sunglasses your friend is flaunting? Now, just point the Pixel 3 Camera at them and the phone will show you those glasses on online stores. Shopping just got more convenient.

Google Lens integrated into Pixel 3 Camera can identify objects like sunglassses, shoes and shows you their online prices
Google Lens on Pixel 3

8. Improved Portrait Mode

Portrait Mode is something I absolutely love on my Pixel 2XL. Again, Pixel 3 takes it to the next level. Like iPhone XS and XR series, you can edit the depth of field (background) in the portrait after you have taken the photo. But, that’s not all! With Pixel 3, you can also edit the focal subject (foreground or the person) to blur them. And, with an option called Color Pop, you can now make the subject in the photo stand out. This option converts the background to black and white while keeping the person in the photo in Colour Mode.

Color Pop Mode on Pixel 3 can convert the background to black and white
Improved Portrait Mode

9. Motion Auto Focus

With AI enhancements, Pixel 3 Camera brings Motion Auto Focus. This comes in handy when you are trying to get a clear picture of a moving subject. The best example is a restless pet or kid. Pixel 3’s Cam can lock to that object to give you a perfect non-blurry shot.

Pixel 3 Camera's Motion Auto Focus can lock onto moving objects to give you a clear shot
Motion Auto Focus


Google did bring new features to the table with Pixel 3’s Camera. This means very tough competition for the likes of Apple’s new iPhones which are priced much higher than the Pixel 3 series.

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