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Google Camera 8.1 disables Pixel 5 wide-angle lens for astrophotography

The ultra-wide lens is a unique camera hardware additional feature of Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G, which can be used to take wide astronomical photos at startup. In the Google Camera 8.1 launched in November, this feature has been quietly removed.

Astrophotography allows you to take pictures of the night sky, and it can be activated by visiting the “Night Vision” tab in Google Camera and static pixels (3+). This can be done using a tripod, leaning on a rock or supporting on any other stable surface. Once still, as the shutter button changes from a moon icon to a star, the message at the top of the screen will display “Astrophotography on”


You can choose to pre-magnify, and Pixel 4a 5G and 5 (at startup) also let you switch to the ultra-wide lens by tapping “.6x” or pinching. Thanks to the 107-degree field of view, it allows you to capture more of the sky.

Google Camera 8.1, launched in mid-November, cancelled the switch to ultra-wide astrophotography. In regular Night Sight shooting, a larger lens can be used, but it cannot be shot in the dark. A message tells you “Enlarge to 1x when entering astrophotography” and then you can enter the mode. .6 times disappear, once you enter, you cannot re-select.

The Google support document was updated in early November and includes the following notes:

Important note: On Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5, astrophotography is only applicable to zoom settings equal to or greater than 1x.

Someone has used this feature, but it must be a well-known feature now. Taking into account the sideload changes, if you don’t use the Play Store update method, it is difficult to install the old/other versions of the Google Pixel app. Therefore, we cannot take screenshots of .6x astrophotography in Google Camera 8.0 of Pixel 5.

However, you can uninstall the update of Google Camera and revert to version 7.6 (from the “App Information” screen) to see the actual effect of ultra-wide astrophotography-the first screenshot above. This version is Pixel 5 factory and immediately available. Its user interface is slightly different from the 8.0 update, which should be installed immediately after setup.

Google has never explained why this feature was removed, but this is probably due to the overall quality.

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