Except the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, all the other major flagship smartphones launched in the second half of 2017 came with dual camera setups. However, the single sensor on the Pixel 2 cameras performed much better than the smartphones with dual cameras. Google also provided the portrait mode with the blurred background using the artificial intelligence (AI). Most of these features are only limited to Pixel 2 devices and haven’t been added to the cameras on previous Google smartphones.
By using the latest version of the Camera NX (V7.3) app, the portrait mode feature can be unlocked on the first-gen Pixel devices along with Google Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P smartphones. The Camera NX is the Google Camera mod, and it can’t be found on Play Store. The app can be downloaded from here and need to be installed manually. As of now, the portrait mode on this app works best with human faces. The version 7.3 of the Camera NX app is based on Google Camera 5.1.016.
Unlike the original Google Camera app, the Help and Feedback options in settings of the Camera NX app are removed and the silence feedback service is disabled to make the app launch instant. There are also modified AR Sticker and AR Core apps for Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P devices (Download links: AR Core mod | AR Sticker mod). According to the developer, there are few bugs in the AR Core app as its still in beta testing.
Talking about the portrait mode, Google used the PD data to offer portrait effect on the rear camera and through software on the front camera. The device will capture two burst photos; one is normal ZSL (Zero Shutter Lag) HDR+ photo and another one with portrait effect. We don’t expect the photos captured with portrait mode on the Camera NX app to be on par with the Pixel 2 photos, but they should be much better than the image captures with lens blur feature.
With the latest Camera NX app, the lens blur feature in the menu is replaced by portrait mode. If you tried portrait mode using this mod, share few camera samples with us by tweeting us at @PhoneRadarBlog.