Google Camera updates pixel-wide-angle astrotography

Credit: David Emel / Android Authority

  • Google has quietly supported astrophotography for wide-angle shooters on Pixel phones.
  • Version 8.1 of the Google Camera app now only allows night sky shooting at 1x zoom or tight.
  • It is unclear whether the option to switch between the two cameras will return to these phones at a later date.

Google initially allowed users to shoot astrophotography images using Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5’s primary or ultraviolet cameras. Now, the firm seems to have quietly removed this option in the latest Google Camera app.

Version 8.1 of the application, as highlighted 9to5Google, Now lets users select 16MP 107-degree wide-angle cameras when shooting in special mode. Instead, the app now limits users to a 12MP primary shooter at 1x zoom or more.

It’s unclear why Google dropped the ultra-wide shooter with staring fun, but it may be under the snapper’s overall quality in this regard. Posts on Google’s Pixel help forum add credence to this. One user states that while shooting stars at 1x is “amazing”, the shot from the wide-angle lens is “awful, green, blurry and full of noise.” Many users on this thread also echo this sentiment.

The above snaps were captured on Pixel 5 by forum-goer Harvey Etheridge. You can see the tint and noise anomalies of the wide-angle shot (right) of the primary camera product.

Trading Light for Broad Vision

Google pixel 5 camera against ocean 1

Credit: David Emel / Android Authority

This may be due to the design of the ultravide shooters themselves, sacrificing light and overall quality for a greater detail area. This is even more apparent when there is a lack of light – especially when capturing the night sky.

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Although Google’s move may be a bid to improve the overall quality of astrophotography on the Pixel, it sadly gets rid of a mod phone that makes it a more enjoyable experience. In reviewing our Pixel 4 XL, we regretted the lack of wide-angle lenses for astrophotography on that phone. Shooting with the primary camera does not just scale – and widen – the night sky justice.

It’s unclear whether Google is working on more sophisticated revisions for the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5’s wide-angle astrophotography Smart, but for now, you’ll have to do without it.

ahead: The best phone with ultra-wide rear cameras

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