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What's new with the Pixel 8 Pro's camera?

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The Google Pixel 8 series of Android phones were just announced, and they bring the usual slew of improvements over last year’s models. Looking at the Pixel 8 Pro, we see that the camera package will be more robust than the regular Pixel 8’s. Be that as it may, both phones will see some improvements over last year’s Pixel phones.

Here’s what’s new with the new Pixel 8 Pro’s camera

The Pixel phones are known for their impressive cameras. They’re pretty much the selling points for these phones, so you can expect the company to put a bunch of time and effort into making it one of the best cameras of the year.

This year, Google brought some new and exciting new additions to the Pixel 8 Pro’s cameras. We’ll talk about what’s new when it comes to both the hardware and the software. Some of the software additions will pertain to changes in Google Photos rather than the camera app, but Pixel phones get exclusive Google Photos features out of the gate. So, they’re pretty much a package deal.

Hardware

So let’s start off with the improvements to the hardware. Google struck a great balance with the hardware last year, so there aren’t many substantial differences in the hardware specs. Mainly, the company has been working on adding improvements to the hardware that’s already there.

These differences will help the user get the most out of their photography experience. In fact, Google is touting this as the biggest improvement in the Pixel camera package since the Pixel 6 series.

Main camera

The Pixel 8 Pro will have a 50MP sensor just like the Pixel 7 Pro, but there will be some notable improvements. The aperture of the Pixel 8 Pro’s main camera is notably wider at f/1.68. Last year’s camera had an aperture of f/1.85. With this 9% wider aperture, you should expect pictures with a slightly shallower depth of field. The backgrounds will be a bit more blurred.

Google notes that this improved sensor is capable of taking in 21% more light. The sensor is more sensitive to light and the wider aperture should also play a role. That’s definitely going to help when it comes to low-light photography. Pixel phones are already great when it comes to low light, so that will only make things better.

We don’t know the field of view for the Pixel 7 Pro’s camera, but the Pixel 8 Pro’s main camera will have an 82° field of view. That’s pretty standard for most main cameras.

Just like last year’s model, the Pixel 8 Pro can record 4K video in 30fps and 60fps. However, this year, Google added a 24fps mode.

Ultrawide camera

Moving onto the ultrawide camera, Google brought a major resolution boost to this camera. Last year’s Pixel 7 Pro came with a 12MP ultrawide shooter. The Pixel 8 Pro has a more pixel-dense 48MP camera.

The Pixel 7 Pro’s ultrawide camera has an aperture of F/2.2, and the Pixel 8 Pro’s has a wider f/1.95 aperture. That’s just over an 11% increase in aperture size, so that’ll definitely have an effect on the images produced.

What might not have the biggest effect on the image is the change in the field of view. Last year’s ultrawide camera has a field of view of 126°. The Pixel 8 Pro’s camera has an ever-so-slightly smaller field of view of 125.5°.

One major difference between this year’s and last year’s camera is the amount of light being let in. Google claims that the Pixel 8 Pro’s ultrawide camera can let in 105% more light compared to last year’s. That’s a massive improvement, and it will hopefully help those low-light shots.

Other than that, there will be improvements to the macro focus of this camera. This is a welcomed change for people who like to really get close to their subjects. With this new camera, you’ll be able to get as close as 2cm to your subjects.

Telephoto camera

Just like with the main camera, the telephoto camera has the same resolution as last year, so most of the differences will be under the hood. This is a 48MP telephoto camera. Just like with last year’s camera, it has a 5x optical zoom.

Like with the other cameras, the telephoto on the Pixel 8 Pro has a wider aperture than the camera on the Pixel 7 Pro. The aperture on this year’s camera is 20% wider at f/2.8 compared to last year’s f/3.5.

Along with the wider aperture, the new camera can take in 56% more light. As you can tell, this will help when taking pictures and videos in low light.

Google upgraded the telephoto camera with faster autofocus, which will help when you’re trying to get that picture from across the lake or across the street.

Overall, Google didn’t exactly flip the script with the camera package. However, the company did bring some nice and welcomed changes that should make a difference.

Software

Half of the camera experience is the software. Google announced some new software features that you’ll be able to enjoy with the Pixel 8 Pro’s camera.

Pro controls

If you’re a photographer who wants to have more control over your photos, then you’ll like the pro controls. These let you manually adjust the aspects of your photos like the ISO, white balance, focus, shutter speed, and exposure compensation. The phone will be able to save those images in both JPEG and RAW.

Video Boost

The videos on Pixel phones weren’t the best on the market. However, Google added better AI processing to it video to deliver better dynamic range and color reproduction.

When you take the video, it will save the high-quality video to your phone. Meanwhile, it will be uploaded to the cloud where Google’s powerful computers apply the Video Boost to every single frame. Then, it will be downloaded to your phone after it is processed. This feature will hit the device in a feature drop in December.

Night Site video

Just like with Night Site on photos, Night Site Video will improve the low light performance of the Pixel 8’s videos. This will boost details and dynamic range and reduce noise. Also, colors will remain punchy and accurate.

Audio Magic Eraser

This is a feature for videos taken on the Pixel 8. Just like the Magic Eraser for photos, Audio Magic Eraser is to eliminate background noise. The AI will analyze the audio in the footage and actually separate each sound into layers. So, if there are cars and dogs in the background, it will separate the cars’ audio into one layer and the dogs’ into another. You’ll then be able to adjust the level of each of the layers. You can make them quieter or mute them altogether.

Best Take

This feature might seem a little extreme, but it could come in handy when you’re trying to get everyone together to take a single shot. When you’re trying to get that one perfect shot where everyone’s all smiling and looking at the camera, you’re likely to have to take several shots. That’s frustrating, but Google has a way to remedy it.

With Best Take, Google Photos look through the images and identify the faces. It will then give you the option of replacing the faces in the final image with ones from other takes.

Say, if there are two people in an image; a husband and a wife. In the first image, the husband is smiling, but the wife is not. In the second image, the wife is smiling, but the husband has his eyes closed. Well, the feature will let you take the husband’s face from the first one and paste it into the second one so that they’re both smiling and they both have their eyes open.

Magic Editor

If you didn’t get that shot just right; maybe the subject is off-center or something in the background needs to be moved. This is where Magic Editor comes in. Google combined a bunch of functionality into one tool that you can use. If you take a picture where the sky isn’t quite popping out, the app will automatically boost it.

Say, you take a picture where the subject isn’t quite centered. Magic Editor will move the subject to the center of the shot and use generative AI to fill in the gap left behind.

This also goes for parts of the subject that get cut off. If the app moves a subject, but a part of their body is cut off, the app will reconstruct the remainder using generative AI.

Overall, Google brought some notable changes this year along with iterative changes. The camera experience will definitely be better than what the company brought in past years, so if you pick up the Pixel 8 Pro, you’ll be getting one of the best smartphone camera experiences out there.

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