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The Pixel 8 Pro revived a camera feature Google killed on the Pixel 5

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google pixel 8 pro rear bay blue 3

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

TL;DR

  • Google has quietly revived the ability to take ultrawide astrophotography shots.
  • The feature only seems to be available on the Pixel 8 Pro for now.
  • Google initially offered this feature in 2020 before killing it a few months later.

The Google Pixel 8 series has been out for over two months now, and we’ve dissected the hardware, software, and everything in between. However, it turns out that Google quietly revived a camera feature that it killed back in 2020.

We spotted the ability to take astrophotography shots with the ultrawide camera on the Pixel 8 Pro. Check out our screenshot below, which shows the astrophotography icon when using the ultrawide camera.

Google Pixel 8 Pro ultrawide astrophotography mode

Damien Wilde / Android Authority

The ability to take ultrawide astrophotography shots comes after Google first removed this feature from the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G back in 2020. The company didn’t reveal a reason why it disabled ultrawide astro shots at the time, but it seems like the feature was pulled due to user complaints regarding poor image quality.

We also checked for the ultrawide astrophotography option on the vanilla Pixel 8, but it doesn’t seem to be available. We’re guessing that’s due to the Pro model packing a 48MP ultrawide camera, while the vanilla Pixel 8 has a 12MP shooter that’s similar to the Pixel 7 line’s ultrawide sensors. Google is most likely taking advantage of pixel-binning on the Pixel 8 Pro’s ultrawide camera to deliver improved image quality for astrophotography shots.

We’re nevertheless glad to see Google revive this feature, as the wider perspective should do a better job of conveying the scale of the night sky.

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