Pixel Phones Lose Wide-Angle Astrophotography in Update

Google Pixel 5

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Not many noticed the change, but Google appears to have taken away Pixel phones ability to shoot astrophotography out of their wide-angle lenses. Since this should only affect Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G owners, maybe that’s the reason. Either way, you never like to see features go missing.

In the 8.1 update to Google Camera that rolled out in November, Google must have made the change, as that’s when several users on Google’s support forum noticed. While sharing comparison photos taken with both standard and wide-angle lenses, and how the wide-angle shots turned out greenish, others chimed in to note that they could no longer use the wide-angle lens when shooting the stars.

Earlier in November, a few weeks before people began noticing the missing feature, Google appears to have changed a support document for Night Sight, telling Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G owners that they should only expect astrophotography mode to work with 1x zoom or greater. And that makes sense, since it would read 0.6x when utilizing the wide-angle lens, which no longer works in this mode. Still, a change is a change, and this one was unannounced and essentially removed functionality.

There’s no reason to believe at this time that Google will bring this option back. With a change to their support doc, it’s clear that this was intentional. The only question now is whether or not they meant to let you shoot astrophotography with the wide-angle lens out of the gate and took it away after seeing poor results or if this was never meant to be a feature.

// The Verge



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