The Pixel 2 has a crazy-good camera. Here’s how Google could make it better.

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have  the best camera I’ve ever used in a smartphone. But because it’s so good, some of its shortcomings have become more apparent, and I have a few suggestions for both the camera app and Google Photos. I get that Google has to balance features with simplicity, but I believe Google could improve both its imaging apps without cluttering the experience.

Wide-angle portraits

The Pixel 2’s portrait mode is among the best I’ve used – all the more impressive because it works with a single camera. But Google has made a few choices that limit its potential.

One that I personally find highly irksome is that Google forces the camera to crop images when using portrait mode – 1.5x on the rear camera, and 1.2x on the front. It may not seem like much, but it’s something I feel compelled to nitpick about.

At first glance, the choice makes some sense. As you might know, portraits are generally more flattering when shot with longer (more ‘zoomed-in’) lenses because they force you to shoot from a distance. Shooting from afar reduces something called perspective distortion; see the below image for a dramatic example of how perspective distortion can affect faces.

Credit: Stephen Eastwood