The Google Nexus 6 is here, running Android 5.0 Lollipop. In this article we’ll talk about its front and rear facing camera capabilities and what you can expect from it. As a new Nexus flagship phones, the expectations are obviously pretty high.
Let’s take a look at the Nexus 6 camera specs first:
|Front Camera||Rear Camera|
|Sensor Model||N/A||Sony IMX214
(Stacked CMOS; Exmor RS)
(4.69 x 3.53 mm)
4:3 aspect ratio
|Pixel Size||1.4um||1.12 μm|
|Sensor Resolution||2.0 Megapixels||13 megapixels
(4160x3120 pixel image)
|Lens Maximum Aperture||N/A||f/2.0|
|Flash||No||Dual LED ring flash.|
|Video||720p 30fps||4K 30fps|
|Optical Image Stabilization||No||Yes|
|Focal Length||N/A||3.8 mm (non equiv.)|
Not all the information was revealed for both cameras. The front-camera is obviously less interesting and is optimized for video calling. The Google Nexus 6 rear camera is what we’ll focus at.
The Nexus 6 rear camera uses the Sony IMX214 Exmor RS sensor. A 13MP high-res sensor. This sensor was first introduces with the Xiaomi Mi 4, OnePlus One and Oppo Find 7 smartphone cameras. This is Sony’s 2nd generation stacked sensor design which is improved over the IMX135 with reduces height structure of the BSI design, 4K video support, more advanced HDR imaging function, has better light collecting efficiency due to smaller gaps between pixels and better color crosstalk.
The Nexus 6 sensor has relatively small pixels due to its very high-resolution. That said, the Nexus 6 does a pretty good job in low-light, but less of a match for cameras like the iPhone 6 Plus camera that has larger pixels but slightly slower f/2.2 aperture.
I was more impressed with the Nexus 6 daylight sample images and also the indoor and outdoor shots taken with the HDR+ mode on which can be seen in this blog post. Say goodbye to overexposed sky, the HDR works wonderfully with this sensor/software combo.
The main selling point is obviously the fast f/2.0 lens, HDR+, OIS and 4K video recording. The HDR+ and faster lens will compensate in some degree for the small pixels, but from early inspections of sample images, I wouldn’t expect any miracles to happen at high ISO — at least from what I’ve seen so far.
I was impressed with the color reproduction, sharpness and how the light metering that seems to do a fine job overall. At closeup, you get pretty neat shallow depth of field effect, but obviously you need to get very closed to the subject to achieve a defocused surrounding around the subject (can be seen in this image).
The rear facing camera has a dual-LED ring flash, which is the same as in the new Motorola Moto X phone.
My favorite feature is the optical image stabilization. You just can’t appreciate this enough until you start shooting in low-light and getting blurry images. With the optical image stabilization,you can shoot at slower shutter speeds by around 2 to 3 stops, and still enjoy sharp photos. Without an optical image stabilization, you either get a blurry image due to shooting with a shutter speed that is not optimal for that focal length (following the shutter speed rule of thumb). Second, you might get a relatively dark and/or noisy photo because the camera might prefer to change other settings in order to prevent a blurry image.
Enjoy this great Nexus 6 unboxing video by Marques Brownlee to see what you can expect when you open the box.
It’s interesting to see how the Nexus 6 is compared versus the Galaxy Note 4, Samsung Galaxy S5, Xperia Z3 and of course the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but overall it seems like a very good snapper overall.