When launched Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5A supports Astrophotography, it is one of their unique selling points for pixels. But oddly now it has removed from both phones. As per reports, they both can not take Astrophotography pictures using their ultra-wide cameras. Because Google removed this feature with a camera 8.1 update.
Early This feature was available in both regular and Telephoto cameras. Using this feature, the user can capture pictures of the sky by placing the phone pointed towards the sky and keeping it stationary. Either By using an object or any tripod for keeping it steady.
Right now if you want to take Astrophotography then you need to switch to Night Sight Mode and select Ultra-Wide angle camera. There it will show a warning saying “Zoom to 1x for Astrophotography”. Before the feature removed it would say “Astrophotography On”.
Previously this feature worked in .6x, 1x, and 2x. With the update, 0.6x is no longer available. As per Google support documents, astrophotography works only for zoom settings equal to or greater than 1x.
Difference between Ultra-Wide angle and Astrophotography modes?
Strangely this change occurred between Nov 1 and 7. At that time, Since the update was not even released after two days.
People who follow the Google Pixel Phone forum might have noticed it. Because users have posted pictures for comparison between new ultra-wide (top) and previous standard angle lenses for astrophotography. Both pictures were taken from the Pixel 5 camera.
You can notice that the pictures are taken from a Wide-angle that includes a lot of green and with some distortion and noise introduced into the picture.
You can check out the forum and judge it by yourself. Another odd thing about this, that the pictures post was made days after the update started to actually remove the feature.
Since the update was out for a month and a half before people realized that the feature had removed. Might be the reason why google thought it can eliminate this feature without mentioning it in update details.
What is the reason behind removing this feature?
The Astrophotography feature made its debut on Pixel 4 and Pixel 4XL. After that, it was available for other old version Pixels also. Google added support for Ultra-Wide cameras with the launch of Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5. Though the result didn’t match the expectations.
A very well known fact that the Ultra-wide lens is mostly inferior to the primary sensor. Thus resulting in astrophotography feature lack quality compared to the primary camera.
This could be one of the reasons why Google may have disabled this feature with the release of Google camera 8.1 update.
Whereas Google did not mention any particular reason. But removing the astrophotography feature is very disappointing regardless of its reason.
It is possible that Google removed this feature because the quality isn’t up to Google standards.
Google didn’t announce anything regarding this issue, but it has updated it in its supporting document that stated “Take photos in low light or at night on your pixel phone” To add the following warning
“Important: On Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5, astrophotography only works on zoom settings equal to or greater than 1x.”
This was the only statement that we have got from Google since the update.
Here is everything that you need to know about Google inexplicably removing Wide-Angle Astrophotography from Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5.
Hopefully, in the near future, Google may come with a new update or bring the feature back with improvements. For now, You can use make zoom settings equal to or greater than 1x for Astrophotography mode.