Both the Google Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X lack an optical image stabilization mechanism. This specific OIS system is used to compensate for hand shake movements and minimize image blur when shooting photos in slow shutter speeds. So the OIS system actually helps improve the overall low-light performance of the camera, because it allows you to shoot at slow shutter speeds, allowing more light to pass through to the sensor.
According to Google, the OIS isn’t needed because the sensor’s large 1.55 micron pixels will help capture great low light photos without the need to shoot at under optimal shutter speeds for a given scene. Because the 6P and 5X sensor have relatively very large pixels, more light is captured at any given photosite, which means you will be able to shoot at faster shutter speeds but still be able to capture a well exposed shot.
Keep in mind that the OIS is useful when shooting handheld. So it won’t be of any help if you put the phone on the table and trigger a long exposure shot. That being said, the OIS is still very needed for video recording, and DxOMark results shown that overall isn’t at the same line with the top performing smartphones out there as far as the video performance goes.
So for still captures, I think that the Nexus 6P and 5X can performance well without an optical image stabilization. Although it makes you wonder what if the 6P and 5X had an OIS. Also in some situations, the photographer might want to intentionally shoot in slow shutter speed to achieve a certainly image effect. So for this purpose, the OIS is a must to achieve a sharp image.
I think that the average phone user will see a big improvement in image quality and low-light performance, and the lack of OIS will won’t be that noticeable when shooting stills. After seeing viewing and inspecting many sample images, I can say that the image quality and overall low-light performance certainly compensates for the lacks of OIS in most situations.
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