Original Poster

Camera: Smartburst

Hey camera buffs!

On the Camera team, we love to talk about “the moment”: that fleeting instant, such as the winning touchdown celebration or a baby’s first smile, that you want to capture. But the moment is just that -- momentary -- so oftentimes you miss it.

Some photographers (especially sports and wildlife photographers) try to capture dozens of shots around the moment and hope one is just right. But there’s always a tradeoff: too few pictures and you miss the moment, but too many and it’s tiring to sort through them all manually. 

On Pixel you have Smartburst. To use Smartburst, just hold the shutter button down. As long as you hold it down, Smartburst captures up to 10 shots per second to help you capture the right moment. (That’s compared to 8-12 shots per second on high-end professional cameras.) 

And what’s smart about Smartburst?

First, when you view your burst, Smartburst highlights the best pictures. While “best” means something different in every scene and to every person, most people prefer sharp and clear images, so Smartburst considers that. And Smartburst incorporates more subtle factors as well by highlighting the most 
interesting moments in the burst. Innovative algorithms and careful tuning distinguish more interesting moments from the rest.

Second, Smartburst is smart enough to know it might be wrong. In case the perfect moment isn’t highlighted as one of the top photos, Smartburst continuously saves up to 10 shots from every second, and also highlights the best few.

Finally, Smartburst knows sometimes a still photo isn’t the best way to remember the moment, so it also auto-generates a new creation from every burst. You can use Smartburst when you’re shooting
  • Action or sports: Smartburst will create a moving GIF for you!
  • Family or other group portraits: Smartburst will generate a single “all-smile” for you where everyone is smiling and no one is blinking. It works by take different parts from every photo in the burst!
  • Selfies: Smartburst will generate a collage just like you’d expect from a real photo booth!
That way Smartburst gives you the best of both worlds; it gives you lots of great pictures capturing that once in a lifetime memory, and it means you don’t have to manually sort the images yourself. 

What questions do you have about Smartburst? When has Smartburst worked best for you? Let us know  in the comments below! 

Isaac Reynolds
Product Manager, Camera

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All Replies (7)
Braden Stookey
Braden Stookey
Hi Isaac,

When using Smartburst, does HDR+ still function and enhance these photos too, or is it not possible to use both functions at the same time?

Original Poster
Hi, Braden! Currently Smartburst takes non-HDR+ pictures only. 
Google user
Google user
Maybe you could "love to talk" about the halo problem affecting Pixel cameras, which was reported and promised a fix for, nearly 3 months ago?

Not that I really care, because I'm likely returning my Pixel XL that I've owned for all of 3 days, sometime next week because of this.
Braden Stookey
Braden Stookey
Jason, I agree it's an issue that Google seems to be ignoring at this point which is seriously concerning. I contacted support for a warranty exchange and was PROMISED that the issue had been resolved. My new device as of a week ago still exhibits halo/flare exactly like the original did. This behavior is not "normal" no matter what any Google employee wants to say. They either failed to recognize the issue during testing (so a lack of testing and attention to detail), or thought consumers wouldn't care/notice.
With that said, this phone still takes the best images of any phone to date in auto mode. Using manual mode on some other devices such as LG can, occasionally, capture more detail and less noise in low light, but never more dynamic range. And these shots require a lot more effort to achieve than the Pixel's incredible point and shoot capabilities. I bought a Sony RX100 IV and promptly returned it because HDR+ produced more pleasing JPEGs than that $1,000 point-and-shoot camera when I did back-to-back comparisons.
Joe Ellett
Joe Ellett
Thanks, Isaac. I've been using Smartburst but I didn't know about the "all smiles" since I've only been using it for action situations.
Rob Chouinard
Rob Chouinard
Having an option to turn this off would be nice. Some "older" people I know hold the button down too long when trying to take a single photo. I love the feature but I see no way to turn it off if needed.
Searched online and couldn't find an answer, but when can we have external mic support with the native camera app? It's unfortunate to have the best mobile camera on the market and not be able to use an external mic with the native app.
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