The Google Pixel 3's superb camera capabilities have been passed on to its predecessor, the Google Pixel 2, by way of a modified camera app that can now be downloaded for free.
This means that Pixel 2 users can now enjoy almost all software-based camera enhancements first introduced in the much newer Pixel 3.
The features that were included undeniably breathe new life into the Pixel 2, especially since one of them is Synthetic Fill Flash. It's almost as if an entirely new camera is fitted into the older Pixel 2 but through the clever use of software.
Synthetic Fill Flash: The Basics
What exactly is Synthetic Fill Flash, and how does it help improve the camera performance of the Pixel 2?
According to XDA Developers, it's a software-based method of enhancing the images of human subjects as they are captured by the phone's camera. Now, it's available along with other features to the Pixel 2 — and possibly other phones — thanks to a newly updated Google Camera mod.
"In essence, Synthetic Fill Flash uses machine-learning based segmentation algorithm to identify human subjects and add a warm glow to them, as would have been obtained by using a reflector in real-life," XDA Developers explained. "The result is that human subjects still have soft lighting on their facial features, especially if there is a backlight source that would have otherwise made such features darker and difficult to discern."
Interestingly, the process that enables this feature is also used for front camera video image stabilization. That's the way it works for the Pixel 3, according to Digital Photography Review, so it might just be a thing on the Pixel 2 now as well.
Android Smartphone Compatibility
The Google Camera mod that allows all this to happen is said to be up to version 6.2.024 and, as of writing, leaves out only Motion Metering and Tracking Focus. Some of the other features included are Night Sight and Launcher shortcuts for Portrait mode on the camera. To use it, a phone needs to be on Android Pie due to the fact that Android Oreo 8.1 is not supported.
For Pixel 2 users, there will definitely be many things to uncover as far as using the Google Camera mod is concerned. As for other smartphones, nothing specific has been noted, but it's open for a test run nonetheless.