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Camera is one of the most important factors for many of us in making a decision about our next Android smartphone.
I have been using the Huawei Nexus 6P for a few weeks now and one of the first things I am keen to review is its camera performance. If you have read my previous reviews, my camera performance analysis is normally split into two parts.
Macros and close-ups first followed by a full camera review.
In this article I will share my feedback and experience of the Nexus 6P macros and close-up shots from an average user’s perspective. I have got 10 sample pictures to share with you in the following paragraphs to give you a flavour of the 6P’s camera. In the end, you will have my final verdict of the Nexus 6P’s macro performance.
Stay tuned and let’s dive in.
It is a Common User’s Review Using Default Google Camera App
When I reviewed the camera performance of the Nexus 6 last year, I clearly said that the default Google Camera App is way too simple and basic for many of us. It needs more features and controls offered to the end-user.
Not much is changed this time either.
If you don’t install a separate third party camera app which gives you more control over things, you will have a fast and responsive but basic and bare-bones camera app at your disposal. In fact the only two controls it offers you are toggling the HDR+ feature and camera flash.
All my sample pictures and rest of this review is to be read keeping in mind that the default camera app is used for this review.
In addition to that, like my other reviews, there is no lens or any other accessory used in taking these pictures. In most of the cases, I have tried to simulate a common day to day scenario where the user sees an object, want to picture a close-up of it, takes the phone out, click on the camera app, focus and shoot.
Finally, I don’t edit photos for imaging details except importing them in the frame and adding text description and logo etc.
So it is a very much “common user’s” perspective – not a pro-review.
Nexus 6P Macros When Light is Good
I have a non-technical way to judge when the camera thinks that it has enough light to shoot a picture.
The ISO value is automatically set to ISO 60. This the lowest value of ISO that I have noticed in the pictures taken in full brightness and in sunny conditions.
The first sample shot is taken in bright outdoor conditions with object at approximately 4 inches away from the camera lens. You can see that the colours are real-to-life, rich and pleasing. The focus is acceptable and tonal quality is good. However, the edges of the frame can be seen as relatively blurry and out of focus.
The second picture fails to produce sharp and rich colours.
In this sample shot, you can see that the objective was to focus the middle of the photo (wheel nut) but even at a distance of 5 inches from the object, the focus is not sharp and clear.
In next example, the colour reproduction suffered and camera completely failed to pick up the correct colours. You can see the actual vs produced colour in close-up in the following picture.
In this final picture taken in outdoor and in bright light, the quality of the overall image is acceptable. You can see that the camera has accurately picked up the object in the front and blurred the background accurately.
You have seen in the above sample shots that in good and ample lighting conditions, while you will get accurate colours most of the time, focus and sharpness will remain a concern here. It is generally on the soft side and occasionally fails as well. The only other way to improve the situation is to move the camera away from the object but that is not “macros/close-ups” then.
Overall, a mixed bag.
The capacity and hardware capability is there, its execution and final results could have been better.
Nexus 6P Macros in Low and Medium Light
When the camera assesses that the light is not enough, it starts adjusting the settings by mainly reducing the shutter speed (so more light is allowed through the lens) and increasing the ISO value (sensitivity of the camera lens).
You can see in the first two pictures that the light is not too bad. The ISO value is slightly increased to 74 and 162 with shutter speeds of 1/120 and 1/40, however, the same trend can be seen again. The object does not appear to be as sharp and focussed as it should be.
In completely indoor situations with artificial and low light, the results were more than acceptable. In the following 3 pictures, you can clearly see that the ISO value has increased up to 834 but the pictures still managed to show decent exposure, colour reproduction and overall tonal quality.
You have to keep in mind that you are shooting with a smartphone camera and in low lighting conditions. Add on top of that – you are only 4 to 5 inches away from the object. It is a lot to ask from a smartphone camera and I believe that Nexus 6P manages this test well.
Nexus 6P Camera in Close-ups – The Verdict
My first suggestion to you would be to go for a decent third party camera app which gives you more manual control over settings and features. Perhaps something like FV-5 or Manual Camera by Geeky Devs Studio.
“Coming back to the sheer quality of the pictures in close-ups, it is an average performance in my opinion.”
The lack of optical image stabilisation (OIS – reducing shakiness and blur by physically introduced hardware) has definitely played a part here. Both Samsung’s and LG’s flagships have set the bar high with stunning camera experience in macros and Nexus 6P has fallen behind on this front. The pictures are “too soft” and focus has been a major one for me.
If you are a casual shooter, you won’t be disappointed.
If you are keen to have a camera which takes stunning close-ups and macros, look elsewhere.
“I will give it a 6 out of 10 (feels neutral) in macros and close-ups shot with default Google Camera App.”
For full review of the Nexus 6P camera, head over to this article.