Winner: Google Pixel 3
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Winner: Google Pixel 3

Every year brings new innovation in the camera industry, and this year was particularly busy with new entrants in the mirrorless and full-frame camera markets, and stellar new optics. Despite this competitive landscape, we unanimously picked the Google Pixel 3 for our 'Innovation of the Year' award.

The Pixel 3 is the first smartphone camera to truly challenge traditional cameras from an image quality standpoint, surpassing 1"-type and rivaling cameras with Four Thirds sensors in 'Night Sight' mode. It does this by improving upon the Pixel 2's already class-leading HDR+ multi-frame fusion technique, now capturing up to 15 frames and merging them using a super resolution algorithm to extract more detail, reduce noise, and remove the need for demosaicing altogether. That allows its image quality to rival higher resolution dedicated cameras with Bayer filter arrays, and allows for digital zoom that rivals modest optical zoom modules.

Google is also at the forefront of applying machine learning to photography. This pays off in more accurate white balance, sharper images, as well as 'real'-looking background blur and subject isolation for the best portraits we've seen outside of a dedicated camera. The list goes on, but importantly: these techniques are bringing high quality photography - and videography - to the masses, on unprecedentedly small and convenient devices. This democratization of the art using technology is what garners the Google Pixel 3 our Innovation of the Year award.

Read more about the Google Pixel 3