Google Pixel smartphones are known for their exceptional photography and yes, phenomenal astrophotography. Citing complaints about the ultrawide camera producing grainy and tint-clad night-time Astro shots, Google finally removed the ultrawide camera’s astrophotography capabilities with the latest Google Camera 8.1 on both Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G.
To give you a context, Google uses its AI and computational processing to produce exceptional shots both at daytime and nighttime. This includes astrophotography which as the name suggests, allows users to click photos of the stars and more at nighttime. The feature was introduced with Pixel 4 on its regular and telephoto cameras. The Pixel 4a 5G and 5 doesn’t come with a telephoto sensor and instead, it uses an ultrawide sensor. At the time, this feature was only available with the standard wide-angle camera. Post that, Google added astrophotography capabilities to the 16MP ultrawide camera as well.
The astrophotography feature requires users to point the camera to the night sky and keep it still for the long exposure shots to render. Using a tripod is highly recommended. However, there is a trove of complaints where users have reported that using the wide-angle camera for astrophotography churns out excellent results. However, when they are using the ultrawide sensor, the photos are grainy and at times, show a green tint on the photos. In fact, it is very much noticeable even if not comparing images side-by-side.
According to a user, something happened between November 1st and November 7th that actually broke the astrophotography capability of the ultrawide sensor. Users were hoping to get a fix and instead, Google did furnish a fix to the problem. The consequences were Google actually removed astrophotography mode from the ultra wide-angle camera. This means you can no longer capture nighttime shots of the sky with a larger field of view.
Google added that now the astrophotography works on Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 only when on zoom settings equal or greater than 1x. It remains to be seen if the ultra-wide-angle camera keeps the feature suppressed or Google rolls out an update to engage it once again with a processing module.