It’s 2022 and smartphone cameras are better than ever. While they may still not exactly match a DSLR, many Android phones and iPhones are more than capable cameras that can often give you an incredible view with minimal effort. Google’s Pixel lineup has always excelled at this. While Pixels didn’t always have the latest hardware, Google’s software has helped the Pixel’s camera take excellent day and night shots.

None of that has ever really interested me, though, and until recently, I’ve been mainly concerned with LG smartphones. Why? Because LG gave me manual controls that let me adjust my images as I saw fit. I consider myself kind of an amateur videographer and smartphones have always been my main tool for making videos.

I remember LG made such a big deal with its video features when it launched the V30. You could download and apply several LUTs, and the V30 could capture video in LOG in case you wanted to do the color correction and grading yourself. The V30 also had separate manual video and camera modes to give you more control over what you captured. I remember seeing the launch of the V30 and thinking to myself, “LG made this phone for me!”

LG V30 manual camera

The manual camera modes have kept me with LG for so long. (Image credit: Android Central)

Fast-forward to 2022, and LG is no longer on the smartphone picture. After finally letting go of my LG G8 and LG Wing, I decided to switch to the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra as it also offered manual picture and video “Pro” modes.

While Samsung phones were a pretty off-ramp from LG for me, I never really considered buying a pixel. Not only had I always heard that Pixels didn’t handle video as well as they did images, but they also didn’t have a manual mode to correct those video errors. However, the Pixel 6 series has changed things up with more powerful camera hardware for better visuals, and it seems that Google has also improved its video capture thanks to the Tensor chip and AI processing.

Still, Android Authority’s Rita El Khoury laments the fact that the Pixel’s camera still lacks manual photography despite those hardware upgrades. We’re essentially at the mercy of what the Pixel thinks we want in a photo, but that may not always equate to what we want in a photo. Fortunately, there’s the option to capture RAW images for editing later in the post, but that option isn’t there for video, which is my main concern.

Do not get me wrong; I fully understand that this level of control is not what a Pixel is for. Google wants you to capture the best possible image or video with minimal effort, thanks to the wonderful AI algorithms embedded in the camera system. Heck, if I want a quick and easy shot, I find myself reaching for my (work-provided) Pixel 6 Pro now because I know I’ll probably get the best shot almost every time. The Pixel camera is absolutely fantastic. But come on, Google, where’s the harm in putting in one or two extra modes to give people like me the option of having manual controls? Not to mention, I feel like a deeper level of customization would really test Google’s Pixel camera capabilities.

I’m not asking for Sony Xperia Pro-1 levels of control (although that would be nice), just more than what we’re getting now, which is basically nothing. Unfortunately, it may never come, and I’m fine with that. As my colleague Jerry Hildenbrand points out, most people just want to focus on the essentials, which is good image quality. But I’m in the minority who don’t really care. The Pixel just isn’t the phone for me, for more than one reason, and I’m happy with my Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, although I’m increasingly drawn to Sony’s Xperia range, which really relies on the “Pro” camera modes and is thus in the completely opposite spectrum of the Pixel.

As I said before, smartphone cameras are in a great place right now in terms of quality and capabilities, and the Pixel camera can outperform many, if not most, of the best Android phones. However, I think there’s still some way to go before DSLR-quality image and video can catch up. Despite the sensor size, smartphones can help make a difference by adding these options in a manual mode for amateur photographers/videographers like me, who may not have thousands to spend on fancier, dedicated camera gear.

This post The Pixel camera is why I never bought one

was original published at “”