Google Nexus 6 camera review
9 Conclusion & Gallery
Conclusion - The Good
- Good detail in bright conditions
- Good balance between noise reduction and detail retention in low light
- Good exposure and color across the ISO range
- HDR+ mode efficient in bright light, visibly improves image quality in low light
- Good detail in video footage
- Efficient optical image stabilization
- Bright and clear screen with lots of resolution
- Solid build quality and ergonomic shape
- Snappy overall performance
- Pure Android version without any manufacturer or carrier "bloatware"
- DNG Raw support with some third party camera apps
- Interesting panorama options including Photo Sphere and Fisheye
- Comprehensive Snapseed-based editing options in the Photos app
Conclusion - The Bad
- Strong sharpening leads to slightly unnatural look at pixel-level
- Some softness towards the left edge on the lens of our test unit
- Lens a little prone to flare
- Flash exposure slightly inconsistent
- Red-eye effect visible in some flash exposures
- "Jittering" in video footage
- No microSD support
With its 6-inch UHD AMOLED-display the Nexus 6 is no doubt a large device and most suitable for two-handed operation. On the plus side it is a real joy to frame, review and edit images and video clips on the high-resolution screen though. Build-quality is very solid and with its thin bezels, metal frame and slightly wavy shapes the Nexus is pleasant to look at.
Like many smartphones the Nexus struggles a little with flash photography but otherwise image quality is decent across the board and can be further improved by activating the excellent HDR+ mode. The camera captures very good detail and clear sound in video mode as well but occasionally exposes a slight jittering around the edges that hopefully can be reduced or eliminated with a firmware update in the future. Nevertheless, if you can live without a microSD-slot and think you can manage the large dimensions the Google Nexus 6 is an easy recommendation to any mobile photographer.
Features & Operation
All of the Nexus 6 internal components are high-end spec and it's no surprise that in both general operation and image capture and editing the Google device always feels snappy and responsive. The pure version of Android feels pleasantly uncluttered compared to the OS skins of some other manufacturers and also means that Nexus 6 users will be first in line for future Android updates.
The imaging feature set is concise but offers everything most users need and for those who want more there is plenty of choice in the Google Play store. User control in the Google camera app is limited but the Nexus 6 fully supports Google's Camera2 API which will get you full manual control and even DNG Raw support with third party apps such as Manual Camera or Camera FV-5.
Photo Sphere and the range of panorama modes produce very large and immersive images but are not perfect in terms of stitching, when you look closely. HDR+ mode is truly excellent though, producing great results in both bright light and darker conditions. Unless you really cannot deal with the slight processing delay after capture we would recommend leaving HDR+ on permanently.
In good light the Nexus 6 images show good detail and exposure with low noise levels. Like most smartphone cameras colors are pretty saturated and sharpening is on the strong side, giving images a slightly processed look when viewed at pixel-level. Highlight clipping in high-contrast scenes is inevitable but in line with the competition in the high-end smartphone class.The lens has a slightly stronger than usual tendency to produce flare with the sun in or just outside the frame.
As you would expect noise levels increase and the effects of noise reduction become more visible as light levels drop and ISO sensitivity increases. However, the engineers have found a good balance between noise reduction and detail detention in low light and images remain usable up to the highest ISOs. The optical image stabilization system does a very job at counteracting camera shake and ensures sharp images at shutter speeds as slow as 1/12 sec.
While the image quality in standard mode is not bad at all in both bright light and darker conditions the Google Camera App's HDR+ mode noticeably improves image results. In bright light it works like most other HDR modes. It recovers some clipped highlight and shadow detail but still produces very natural looking results. In low light it noticeably reduces noise levels and in very dark scenes is capable of achieving brighter exposures than the standard camera mode. It appears the low light mode of HDR+ uses similar technologies to the iPhone 6 Plus. However, on the Apple device the mode is active permanently and cannot be deactivated.
The Final Word
If you are mobile photographer who likes using "phablet-sized" devices you cannot go wrong with the Google Nexus 6. Its large dimensions mean that you have a gorgeous high-resolution screen to frame, view and edit images on and the already-good general image quality can be further improved by using the efficient HDR+ mode. The Nexus' arguably closest rival, the Apple's iPhone 6 Plus is a good choice if you prefer Apple's iOS over Android. It offers slightly better pixel-level image quality and a huge choice of imaging apps but the lower pixel counts means there is less flexibility when cropping. Other alternatives include the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 or Nokia Lumia 1520 but, like the iPhone, the latter comes with with a lower resolution screen.
DXOMark Image Quality Assessment
With strong photo performance the Google Nexus 6 can compete with the best in class. The DxOMark team reports that its images show good exposure and color, and detail preservation is among the best. The testers also liked the good flash performance and reliable AF behavior. However, the white balance can produce slightly pink results in cloudy conditions and the lens shows some softness towards the edges of the frame.
The Nexus 6 video mode cannot quite keep up with the performance in stills mode. The recorded footage shows very good texture and color with low noise levels but the testers found the image stabilization to be inefficient and to introduce rolling shutter artifacts. For a more detailed analysis, visit www.dxomark.com.
Google Nexus 6
Category: Mobile Phone
Camera and Photo Features
Ergonomics and Handling
Still Image Quality
Speed and Responsiveness
The Google Nexus 6 flash performance is a little inconsistent but otherwise the camera delivers good image quality across the board and the HDR+ mode efficiently increases dynamic range in low light and reduces noise levels at high ISOs. The large 6-inch AMOLED UHD screen is a pleasure to work with and ideal for showing off your pictures. The pure version of Android 5.0 is pleasantly uncluttered and means you'll receive Android updates faster than the users of most other Android devices. If you think its large dimensions are right for you the Google Nexus 6 is an easy recommendation for any mobile photographer.
There are 29 images in our Google Nexus 6 samples gallery. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.
Unless otherwise noted images taken with no particular settings at full resolution.
Nov 22, 2014
Oct 15, 2014
Aug 17, 2017
Aug 18, 2017
|Global Reach by cjf2|
|Maligne Lake by Pete of Oz|
from - Mountain Lake - (Full Colours only + A Border)
This two-part video series takes a deep dive into the world of dynamic symmetry and geometric composition, using iconic photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's brilliant photographs as a guide.
Award-winning photographer Jeremy Cowart tells the moving story behind this drone photograph, captured in the aftermath of the devastating wildfire in Gatlinburg, TN in 2016.
Happy 2017 World Photo Day! We asked everyone on staff at DPReview to share one photo that they took within the last year that makes them jazzed on photography. Here's what we chose.
French President Emmanuel Macron has lodged a legal complaint against a paparazzo who snuck onto the president's private vacation property to take pictures.
Ever wonder what the difference is between compressed, uncompressed and lossless compressed Raw files? Photography Life's Nasim Mansurov breaks it down for you in this informative article.
The oldest known portrait of a US president was just discovered after over a century in storage. It's going up for auction in October, where it's expected to fetch between $150,000 and $250,000.
If you're using the popular Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens with Sigma's MC-11 converter, listen up: you'll want to update your lens and converter firmware ASAP.
If you've heard it once, you've probably heard it a thousand times: never check in your camera gear when flying. This shattered $11,000 lens is what can happen when you do.
Lensrentals just did its first Cine lens comparison, pitting five top-notch 35mm primes against each other: the Zeiss CP.2 35mm T2.1, Canon CN-E 35mm T1.5, Sigma 35mm T1.5 FF, Rokinon Xeen 35mm T1.5 and Schneider Xenon 35mm T2.1.
A team of Google researchers have found that slightly warping watermarks when embedding them into images can help prevent automatic removal.
You don't have to empty your savings account to take your photography to the next level. These cheap buys cost about $50 or less, and come with outsized benefits for your photography.
Joey L, Dani Diamond, Brandon Woelfel and Jessica Kobeissi go head-to-head in an episode of "4 photographers shoot the same model."
The latest flagship phone from Asus combines a 12MP 1/2.55" Sony IMX362 main sensor with a smaller Sony IMX351 chip for 2x zoom and a background-blurring portrait mode.
The company behind popular photo editor Picktorial 3 just released the X-Pack: a preset package that allows you to add Fuji's in-camera film simulation profiles to your RAF files in post.
Photoshop. GoPro. Every once in a while a product emerges that defines a category. And sometimes, it vanishes just as quickly as it arrived on the scene. This week's Throwback Thursday remembers the Flip, the pocket camcorder everyone had – until they didn't.
The Nokia 8's dual-cam combines the image data from a 13MP RGB sensor and a 13 monochrome chip for better detail, improved dynamic range and lower noise levels.
The company behind retail giant B&H Photo has agreed to pay out $3.2 million in monetary relief and back wages to settle a discrimination and harassment case from 2016.
After a popular Facebook teaser and some studio portrait samples, Godox has finally officially released the Godox A1 smartphone flash and flash trigger. Cheap, versatile and innovative, color us intrigued.
Canon’s EOS 5D Mk IV has won the European Imaging and Sound Association’s Professional DSLR of the Year award, making this the third year in a row that the brand has beaten Nikon to the top spot in the professional camera category.
A photograph and quote tweeted out by former president Barack Obama has officially become the most popular tweet of all time, receiving over 1.3 million retweets and 3.4 million likes.
Edward Weston was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, and in this episode of Advancing Your Photography we learn the extreme technique he used to capture one of his most famous still life photos.
Instagram just released a small update that will make a huge difference if you're active on the photo sharing app: threaded comment replies.
Venus Optics has announced the price and delivery date of the second lens to join its Zero-D line up: the 15mm F2 for Sony’s E mount. A lens they've dubbed, "the world's fastest 15mm rectilinear lens for full-frame."
Cinnac is a new social network for photographers that will help you separate your good photos from your great ones through a Tinder-like community-based rating system.
The Canon EF 35mm F2 IS USM is an understated jewel of a lens, and one that we've enjoyed on a variety of cameras since its release almost five years ago. Its relatively small size and image stabilization make it a versatile tool for a variety of photography - check out our sample gallery.
You don't need a fancy studio or tons of gear to capture the kind of classic product photography you see in magazines. In this video, Dustin Dolby shows you how to do it with just a couple of speedlights and some know-how.
The life-logging camera is trying to make a comeback. Say hello to FrontRow, a live-streaming enabled life-logging camera from Ubiquiti that hangs on a necklace like a pendant.
When a prospective client approaches you, don't just say "yes" right away. Here's a useful list of questions you should be asking before you decide to take the job and name your price.
Samsung just revealed a blazing-fast new Solid State Drive capable of data transfer speeds of up to 540MB/s.
DJI has developed a 'Local Data Mode' that lets pilots fly without being connected to the Internet. The mode should calm recent fears over data privacy and security when flying DJI drones.