The Nexus series devices are rather special. It is not designed to attract market share, but to provide a reference design for Android camp. This series is Google-led developed, so Chinese fans call it as Google's sons as their nickname. Those devices are just as popular in those in favor of native Android devices. However, the sound and camera performance of the Nexus series had never been outstanding. This is a little awkward. Because of some specific design, we are looking forward to the camera of Nexus 6P.
The camera of Nexus 6p is on the black area that is raised for over 1mm. This kind of design is not beautiful. But seems to indicate this camera is so good that Google has to change the body design to compromise.
Indeed, specifications of Nexus 6p are different, as it adopts Sony Exmor IMX377, while mainstream camera of hi-end smartphones are using stacked CMOS sensor. From a technical perspective, stacked CMOS sensor belongs to the enhanced version of back-illuminated-type. Another specialty is the 1/2.3-inch 12MP CMOS sensor, much less than IMX220/230 which owns 20MP. This results its pixel size can be as large as 1.55¦Ìm. In addition, this CMOS sensor has a high bandwidth. It is able to output still image (4000x3000) 35FPS@12bit, 40FPS@10bit and 60FPS 4k video. IMX377 was designed for digital still cameras. But Google adopts it to smartphones.
Nexus 6p features a F2.0 aperture 28mm-equvalent lens. It is such a pity that this over-sized camera module seems hard to integrate optical image stabilization. On the flashlight side, a laser probe is hidden, which is the key factor for Nexus 6P to achieve laser focus.
It is hard for the lens to balance large aperture and corner image quality, Nexus 6P is not an exception. This F2.0 aperture lens has a satisfactory resolution in the center. The edge definition becomes less good but still acceptable. Sharpening traces can be found significantly, so some details and textures are looked dry and hard.
The camera optical quality of Nexus 6P is one of those best ones. The anti-glare performance is excellent, strong backlight will not even produce a significant haze, but ghosting and edge chromatic aberration may exist. In some peculiar angles, side backlight may cause a haze and arc lights. But easy to avoid. In a word, excellent.
Autofocus speed of Nexus 6P is not the fastest, especially when compared with iPhone 6/6s, but still faster than the previous generation. Sometimes autofocus response can be done quickly, especially in laser focusing range. Under such circumstances, you can capture scenes even in low light. The process that camera re-focus after scene changing is called Prefocus. Prefocus is one of the best ways to improve autofocus experience. The Prefocus performance of Nexus 6P is good. It is able to detect changes quickly and start autofocus process. However, it is not always so, sometimes inexplicable hesitation may happen during focus process. Or a pause or lag happens after focus process. It is not the specification of an electronic shutter, and has nothing to do with HDR. We have not found out the reason. This problem happens sometimes, not too high, but it has indeed affected user experience.
There is something wrong with EXIF data of Nexus 6P. Most photos are recorded as Unknown or Manual. In fact, the default metering mode is center weighted, which is able to shoot most scenes. However, overflow would happen when meeting scenes with high contrast. Linked spot metering will be activated when you are touching the screen to focus. This metering mode is almost universal on smartphones. The weight value is relatively high, which allows you to use this to change metering result much, but hard to master. Overall metering of Nexus 6P is conservative, that is to say, it is a little bit dark compared with that of other photos. However, Nexus 6P does not provide exposure compensation operation.