Google Pixel 2 cameras are displaying strange banding with LED lights

Google’s Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones problems appear to keep piling on as another problem has been discovered with its cameras recently. Some users are reporting that the cameras on their Pixel 2 units are capturing what appears to be flickering and banding when taking photos and videos under LED light.

According to the complaint, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL users observed ‘visual banding’ effect when they tried to use the camera to capture videos as well as photos. This effect was not limited to the primary camera on the back of the devices and extended to the front camera as well. The report stated that images shot ‘will pick up major banding’ while ‘the bands dance’ while trying to capture a video.

The problem is a bit difficult to explain, but a user on YouTube has published a video showing what it looks like. Users have suggested that the this problem may be due to the presence of LED lights. LED lights flicker at an alternating current. In the United States, the flickering rate is at 60MHz or 50MHz.

The flickering is invisible to the naked eye, but it could be captured by some cameras. Unfortunately, it looks like the cameras on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are able to see this flickering thereby resulting in the flicker banding in images and videos.

The banding can be avoided, but it would require some adjustments in the Pixel 2 camera’s manual settings. Users should set the electronic shutter (shutter speed for traditional SLR cameras) to multiples of the LED light’s flicker frequency.

This should eliminate the banding in images and videos captured by the Pixel 2 cameras. Unfortunately, users who want to try out this solution will have to use third-party camera apps because the stock camera app on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL doesn’t have any manual controls.

According to several users online, some Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL cameras are showing odd behavior with LED lights. As you can see from the video above, there is flickering and banding on and near LED lighting.

On the Pixel User Community thread, some users point out that this may be due to the AC frequency on aircrafts, but others are quick to rebut that the problem persists outside aircrafts, in everyday situations. According to the user who posted above video, both the front- and rear-facing cameras are affected whether it’s a photo or a video.

A couple of Google representatives have already been alerted with this latest issue, and the problem has since escalated it to relevant officials. It is possible that this may simply be a software issue that could be fixed with an over-the-air (OTA) update. Google could add a camera setting that automatically adjusts the electronic shutter when it detects LED lighting.

It’s not yet clear how many Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL users are affected by this banding issue. Owners are encouraged to try to recreate the banding with their handsets to see if it’s present.

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