The ultra-wide camera is also useful for video, which often cuts out the outside of the frame to help stabilize frames. The ultra-wide camera complements the traditional main 12-megapixel camera on the back of the Pixel 5 and the front 8-megapixel selfie camera on the front. The Pixel 5 starts at $ 700, but the same camera hardware is used for the new Pixel 4a with 5G network support.
“The ultra-wide lens ensures you get everything,” said Pixel product manager Sonia Yobanputra.
Google has led the way to photography in low light and at night with its Night Sight feature. She is now marrying this technology with a portrait mode that blurs the background details. “This allows objects to stand out even in low light,” Yobanputra said.
Google has revealed details of the camera at Wednesday’s product launch event for the Pixel 5, Chromecast video streaming device, Nest smart speaker and more.
The cameras on Google Pixel phones are very important. Although Google phones have not affected the dominance of smartphones from Samsung and Apple, they have raised expectations about what is possible for small phone cameras. In particular, Google has introduced computational photography techniques that use software and other processing methods to push better image quality from small phone cameras.
Computer photography competition
However, Apple has partially caught up by adopting Google’s basic method of computational photography, called HDR +, which combines several underexposed photos in one frame. The approach helps to capture the details in the shade, while preventing the overexposure of the bright blue sky in a faded tastelessness. And Google lost a key researcher from Adobe, Mark Levoy, who coined the term computational photography.
Google now has a new version of HDR +. This time, instead of just under-exposed shots, it includes brighter shots. This is a more traditional approach called exposure bracketing, and Google says it will make photos more vivid.
Also new to videos is a feature called Cinematic Video, which smoothes out horizontal panning.
Finally, Google no longer only illuminates faces in portraits, but also allows you to change the direction of that obvious lighting in the Google Photos software – including older portrait photos you’ve already taken.
Goodbye, telephoto camera
Losing a telephoto lens can be frustrating for those who want to capture more distant subjects such as mountains or who like the effect of windows that telephoto lenses have on portraits.
But there are some compensations. First, Google offers a technology called Super-Res Zoom, which offers improvements over conventional digital zoom. Second, the spacious perspective of ultra-wide cameras can be useful for landscape photography.
Apple has taken a different approach. Its iPhone Pro models include both ultra-wide and telephoto cameras along with the main one. And rival Android phones likeoffer even more powerful hardware with optical zoom.
The main camera in the Pixel 5 and 4G 5G phones has the same f1.7 aperture and 1.4 micron pixel size as the Pixel 4. The ultra-wide camera has an f2.2 aperture and smaller 1 micron pixels. It has a 16-megapixel sensor, although it is not yet clear whether the final photos will use all 16 million of those pixels.
For video, the new Pixel phones will capture 1080p video at up to 240 frames per second and 4K video at up to 60fps.