Pixel 2 and 2 XL exhibit flickering when using the camera under LED lights

There have been more than a few bugs with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL since their release last month, and while display controversy surrounding the XL model received the most attention, we've seen other issues here and there that have proven to be equally annoying. Most recently, users are reporting that the camera on the Pixel 2/2XL exhibits a flickering motion when taking a photo or video under LED lights.

So, what exactly is going on here?

All LED lights have a natural flicker that ranges from 50 to 60Hz, and it's something that's not perceivable to the human eye. However, certain cameras are capable of picking up this flickering and display it over what you're trying to capture. As fate would have it, the sensor on the Pixel 2 is one such camera.

It's a bit difficult to describe exactly what's going on with words, so to make things a bit more clear, take a look at this video that was recently uploaded to YouTube by apa1.

This phenomenon was also discovered by Chazzdjr in the Pixel User Community, with images captured on a plane turning out as follows:

A couple of representatives from Google have stated that they're aware of the issue and will make sure that the right people see what's going on. I personally can't replicate the flickering on my Pixel 2, and according to other users, this is something that's only affecting certain handsets. It's unclear if a software update will be able to fix this, so we'll have to wait and see what the Mothership says.

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

58 Comments
  • Same thing happens on my Note 8- didn't think it was a big deal, since I'm not under LED lights a whole lot.
  • Exactly! Probably happens to the Note 8 and S8, but you'd never read that on here. :)
  • I only have led lighting in my house and have never seen this on my Note8 or my s8
  • Same here.
  • Note8 owner and previous S8+, S7 edge, Note7, S6 edge+ , S6 ect... have never seen this before. Google will you please do a recall already?
  • I had noticed it on my Note 8 as well but was only when at home. Now I know why... I have led lights throughout
  • Another day, another pixel issue lol... 
  • As someone who works in lighting, I can tell you that there are a lot of phone cameras that pick up the striations caused by LED lighting at certain frequencies. I have seen it show up in pictures from everything from iPhones to Samsung phones. It's not a Pixel exclusive problem. This has been going on for years.
  • Shut your mouth, we need more hot takes and hyperbolic rants!
  • This is not an issue, it is actually a feature. I have two LED lights in my dining room, both dimmable. One flickers more to the eye as I dim it lower, as the frequency goes down to make it shine less. The other flickers only when changing the dimming, otherwise it seems "stable". to the eye. Under the Pixel 2 XL camera, they both flicker, as with other high performing cameras. The Pixel camera is simply better than most in frame rate, so you will see the flicker easier than with the eye. Try filming a LED in slow motion, then tell me what is "right" and what is an "issue" to be fixed...
  • The other day it took 2 presses of my power button to turn the screen on. Can I get a movie deal to creat a documentary about how broken the pixel is.
    At this point these stories are ridiculous. Many of these complaints are issues with multiple phones and a result of new technology needing fleshed out.
    The only real story is maybe Google should have charged less for the phone but I've said that about Apple for 7 years.
  • What's next for Pixel 2 (can't be good at this point)
  • Next Article, The Pixel 2 XL shocked my Peni$ while peeing...
  • Mine didn't shock my p*ni$, but it does make it look really really small in selfie portrait mode.
  • 😂 😂 😂
  • You win the comments today!
  • *dead*
  • Gotta get that Moto Mod with the optical zoom.
  • LMAO :) :) :)
  • I think Google should have left well enough alone. HTC did a very good job with the original XL. LG nah. Lot's of headaches!
  • This includes the Pixel 2 also not just the 2XL.
  • Imma need a spreadsheet to keep track of all these issues.
  • I am exchanging my Pixel 2 now because I feel that Pixel 1 camera is better, I figured maybe my P2 is defective or something. Almost all indoor pix are sharper and better looking then on P1 then P2
  • You're going to be taking a step back there. Easy.
  • Or it's just Kolyan's personal preference. Nothing wrong with having one.
  • He is moving one step forward by going backwards.
  • I mean I have both P1 and P2, I am exchanging P2 for another P2 to see if current one is defective or something. With so much hype around this camera I thought it's gonna be much better then P1 but when I noticed is that it's either the same or sometime even worse then P1. After all P1 has bigger sensor and larger pixel size, maybe that's why photos are nearly identical between the two
  • Lmao they cant get past one issue with out another one popping up....that being said my pixel 2XL done well bye so far
  • I did a video test just now, pointing near a couple of overhead LED lights, then over to halogen, then back. I don't get that flickering. *sigh* all these Pixel 2 attack posts have reached ridiculous levels.
  • Just because it's not happening to yours makes it a non issue. With that said, the battery issue on the Note 7 didn't affect as many as what was shown, in fact some claims were falsified and now with the iPhone battery issue, you barely hear anything about that. In the end it doesn't help that Google can't keep up with manufacturing but that may be a good thing.
  • Hahaha
  • Tell ya what.. I sent my 2xl back for the essential phone. Go ahead and laugh but I saved $529 and have less issues than the pixel. Thoroughly enjoying this phone minus the Camera which I don't use much
  • If I had not received my Pixel 2XL I would be all over the essential at $450.
  • I'm not laughing at you, I totally get it. It's about what works for you. As long as you are enjoying it, that's all that matters. The size and display of the Essential Phone is great.
  • Essential phone is the best looking phone out right now but the camera is a deal-breaker for me. Even with the pixel camera app.
  • I'm experiencing this issue on both video and still images on my Pixel 2 XL. I took a bunch of photos/videos at a concert (where you'll run into many LED lights) and many of the photos/videos have this banding in them. Not to mention, the recorded audio is so bad the videos are unwatchable. The photos/videos of the same show taken with the original Pixel XL are fine (as is the recorded audio). I contacted Google about it and they are sending me a replacement device that they "assured" me won't have this same issue...
  • You want nice recorded audio at concerts? You my friend need an LG V30.
  • I've wondered about that. I used to have a V10 and the audio in my concert footage was just as bad (even with the gain lowered as much as possible.) Hopefully they've fixed that in the V30.
  • It could be interference from something else like his phone sitting on the table? Maybe hotspot turned on or something? I'm clearly reaching.
  • Who gives a f**k!
  • Sorry, but the Pixels have turned out to be giant piles of ****.
  • Same thing happens on the gen Pixel... And other phones, and cameras, etc. I'm really disappointed here, AC is turning into a click grabbing rag. JFC people... You know, rather than trample over each other trying to get the next big problem published, do some research! There are some crappy LED lights that screw with digital cameras. IT'S NOT A BUG YOU MORONS!
  • I actually agree. If this was any other phone that didn't have a bunch of things cropping up (hah!) then they probably wouldn't even be posting this. It's because the Pixel 2 XL is getting a bad rep that all the tech sites are jumping on the latest thing.
  • Huh? I have only leds at my house and most lights around us are now led and I've never had any issues with my s8 or my note 5 or my 6p. With that said, I think this is only affecting a few phones and hopefully it be l can be fixed with software update.
  • Hey, AC, if I hit my Pixel 2 with a sledge and throw it in a fire, it stops working... Can you write that up?
  • Probably not, but that doesn't mean it's a bad idea.
  • So they made the camera too good.
  • damn i was going to pick one up this week because i returned my original one with the screen issues. now this! This doesn't happen on my note 8 either.
  • https://forums.androidcentral.com/showthread.php?t=841456&p=6027466&view... from my previous post:: So I've been really trying to curb my phone cravings because it's costing me too much money. Thankfully all this display talk had helped prevent me from ordering the phone as of yet. But I still had to feed the cravings a bit and I paid a visit to the Verizon store to check out the Pixel 2 XL. I didn't experience the banding that some people have. I did however get the blue hue on the screen. Now, while this might not be an issue to some extent because you're not viewing the phone at an extreme angle, I did see the blue hue with a slight tilt of the screen. While some may adapt themselves to this slight, off white, cool hue I do agree with others in regards to it being unacceptable for a phone that is so expensive. While checking out the camera I noticed this weird anomaly in the screen. At first I thought the source was the LED lights on the Google Pixel signage. Then I moved the phone around but the anomaly remained stationary on the screen. I then took a photo and the anomaly was in the photo as well. So it seemed to be the sensor. Perhaps it's an isolated incident with this display model. While I really wanted to have a pure Google experience again and a great camera I think this visit killed it for me. I'll stick with my S8+ for a while until either something changes our Google intervenes. Here's the video shot on my S8+. https://photos.app.goo.gl/mimfqDA8Mop2nMvQ2
  • My entire house is lit by LED lights and I have never had this issue with either the Pixel 2 or any previous OLED device. I wonder if it's anything to do with the frequency of a country's electricity supply (eg 60Hz in the US, 50Hz in Europe etc)?
  • Only a dumbass would think this is an actual issue when the same happens on many other phones lol. AC are so desperate for clicks.
  • This is a completely rediculous article tbh. As others have pointed out pure nitpicking. I have issues on my S7 Edge where it tries to connect constantly to networks that it doesn't know the password too (despite the relevent option being selected to stop this). I also have issues with every keyboard where I keep hitting fullstops all the time instead of space bar. But I wouldn't expect an article about this when the S7 Edge was launched as it probably only effects a small minority of users and it isn't a big deal. Which brings me to this issue!
  • This story is total crap. This happens with most cameras when taking pics of LEDs. Why is AC resorting to this type or smarmy click-bait crap?
  • "All LED lights have a natural flicker that ranges from 50 to 60Hz..." Nope, that's definitely not true.
  • All my lights in my house are LED and don't have an issue. With that said I think it's an issue that's only affecting some not all, hopefully it can be fixed with software.
  • Not sure which are worse, the Pixel 2 Enablers or the Pixel 2 Lych Mob.
    Just gonna hid in my bunker with my trusty Galaxy S5.
  • “Best smartphone camera” my ass.
  • isn't this the same effect as when pointing a digital camera at a computer monitor and seeing patterns? nothing new. what would be newsworthy is when Google will merge the November updates into an 8.1 build...