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Google Camera update in Pixel doesn't let you shoot in Astrophotography mode using ultrawide lens

Now, a message tells you to zoom to 1x for Astrophotography.

Pixel 4A.
Pixel 4A. (Google)

When the Google Pixel 5 and the Pixel 4A 5G was launched earlier this month, one of their distinguishing camera features was the ability to use ultrawide lens for ‘Astrophotography’ shots. This was something that was also boasted during the launch of these smartphones. However, it looks like Google has quietly removed this feature with Camera 8.1 update in November. 

In case you aren't aware, the ‘Astrophotography’ feature lets you take night shots of the sky, using the Night Sight tab in Google camera. You can keep the Pixel phone still using a tripod or resting it against a stable surface. Once the camera detects no movement, it shows a message on top of the screen stating “Astrophotography on” and the shutter button changes from a moon icon to stars.

Left (Old) vs Right (New).
Left (Old) vs Right (New). (9to5Google)

If you're using these two Android smartphones, it was previously possible to move to the ultrawide lens by tapping the “.6x” option or by pinching out for the ‘Astrophotography’ feature. This basically allowed you to capture more sky with a 107-degree field of view.

Also read: Google Pixel 6 shows up for the first time and it might be disappointing for fans

But none of that is not possible with Google Camera 8.1. The wider lens, after the update, is available only in regular Night Sight but not for ‘Astrophotography’ images. Now, a message tells you to zoom to 1x for Astrophotography. In addition, a Google support document was updated in early November, stating that “On Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5, astrophotography only works on zoom settings equal to or greater than 1x.”

As mentioned by 9to5 Google, you can uninstall updates to Google Camera app and move to the older 7.6 version to use the ultrawide lens for ‘Astrophotography’. It's worth noting that version 7.6 was the same that came out of the box with Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A 5G.

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