Google’s Pixel 8 Professional camera is the new cellular images champ

Yoshiko Yap

Let’s not kid ourselves: The most fascinating matter about the Google Pixel 8 Professional (and 8, for that matter) is the digicam, and simply because of Google’s commanding situation when it comes to computational pictures, any one intrigued in the condition-of-the-art will be shelling out added consideration to this smartphone’s annually up grade. My full lifetime is essentially a tug-of-war concerning my drive to get wonderful pictures and my want to have as minimal devices as possible, so I’m especially interested in what’s new digital camera-sensible.

All the megapixels

Google created a massive deal at the start party for the Pixel 8 about the improved digital camera modules in the phones. The 8 Pro will get advancements throughout the board, with the ultrawide leaping from 12 megapixels to 48 megapixels that joins a 50 megapixel principal sensor, and a 48 megapixel sensor for the 5x optical zoom, also.

By default, Google will use all those people megapixels to operate some laptop magic and generate a 12.5 megapixel last graphic that won’t try to eat up all your storage and that delivers some excellent rewards in phrases of shade rendering, sounds and far more at the expenditure of depth. You can also decide to change on superior megapixel mode, on the other hand, and capture at the entire resolution of the sensor — helpful if you are wanting to print or crop the graphic, for occasion.

Full 50 megapixel JPEG capture from Pixel 8 Pro

Total 50 megapixel JPEG seize from Pixel 8 Professional. Picture Credits: Darrell Etherington

Crop of a 50 megapixel Pixel 8 photo of a mushroom on a log

Crop of a 50 megapixel image for depth. Image Credits: Darrell Etherington

The wonderful point about these choices is that there are a great deal of possibilities, depending on your requirements: You can capture in JPEG with conventional settings for social and good friends/household sharing, and Google will do the large lifting to get you a excellent consequence. Or you can capture in large megapixel mode, with JPEGs, for versatility when it arrives to cropping and sharing. Or you can go whole hog, seize in Raw+JPEG manner, and substantial megapixel, and get eminently editable Raw documents for manipulation in Lightroom or your preferred editing software, along with a JPEG ready to share total with Google’s picture magic applied.

A comparison of Google's Pixel 8 RAW vs. JPEG formats

Raw (softer, fewer vibrant) compared to JPEG from the Pixel 8 Pro digital camera. Picture Credits: Darrell Etherington

The 5x zoom is also exceptional in superior-resolution manner, and supplies sufficient detail and crisp rendering when taking pictures in JPEG with Google’s autocorrection applied. Having all that detail accessible with that variety is a massive advantage when it will come to pocket pictures, and usually means you have a person less rationale to have around a devoted digital camera physique with a extended-assortment optical zoom lens.

The enhanced resolution on the ultrawide similarly will make these pics far more usable, but in my testing it’s continue to most likely the weakest of the cameras. It does generate some exciting success when it arrives to macro (more on that under) thanks to the greater resolution and improved autofocus, on the other hand.

Google Pixel 8 Pro ultrawide camera sample

Google Pixel 8 Pro ultrawide digicam sample. Impression Credits: Darrell Etherington

How Professional can you go?

Distinctive to the Pixel 8 Professional are the new “Pro” options, which subsequent screening has revealed seems to be mostly a software locking final decision by Google. Regardless of why the 8 Professional is the only one to get the Professional options, it’s truly worth thinking about regardless of whether they’ll really be helpful to you and your workflow, given what they present.

Mainly, they enable you tweak the resolution from 12 MP to entire 50 MP, let you to decide on to shoot in Raw+JPEG and let you manually decide on concerning the 3 hardware lenses, alternatively than leaving it up to Google to choose based mostly on lights circumstances, scene, etcetera.

Google Pixel 8 Pro camera settings screen

Google Pixel 8 Professional camera options display. Picture Credits: Darrell Etherington

That’s not a lot, but they are clutch options if you really do want to make the most of the pictures you are having in enhancing software, so it is comprehensible that Google appends the “Pro” moniker listed here. In my use, the lens variety environment generated the most possible confusion, since it led to the camera app crashing (seemingly settled in an update distributed earlier in the working day on the identical working day the overview embargo lifted) but also meant you may possibly make a lousy choice and get a worse top quality over-all picture by overriding Google’s software program smarts.

These configurations, particularly couched as they are in a secondary tab in the normal settings menu in the digital camera application, are in fact really helpful, nevertheless, and seem to be arbitrarily constrained to the Professional product. I have an understanding of it as a differentiator, but with any luck , Google relents and rolls these out to non-professional Pixel 8 gadgets at the pretty minimum in the foreseeable future.


Google was significant on touting the enhanced macro capabilities of the Pixel 8 Professional, designed probable in portion by the greater resolution and autofocus of the new ultrawide digicam. In exercise, I observed that macro method could indeed deliver some genuinely exceptional success — with the caveat that it is nevertheless not very as foolproof as employing the primary digicam, for illustration.

Macro shot of the underside of a mushroom from the Google Pixel 8 Pro

Macro shot of the underside of a mushroom from the Google Pixel 8 Pro. Picture Credits: Darrell Etherington

Generally, the obstacle arrives in making an attempt to seize macro pictures handheld outdoors when there is anything functioning in opposition to you — wind, for instance, or something less than total, immediate sunlight. Google’s computational photography does an admirable position of correcting for shake, but in my experience it was even now really hard to absolutely prevent some kind of blurring in the closing image, in particular when striving to get unbelievably shut to the issue. In addition, it is really hard to nail the focus on of the aim with superior specificity, too.

Macro shot of a leaf from the Google Pixel 8 Pro

Macro shot of a leaf from the Google Pixel 8 Professional. Image Credits: Darrell Etherington

That claimed, the ensuing macro pictures are continue to really gorgeous, and properly appropriate for social/digital use — and considerably enhanced from before generations.

Base line

Google gets key props for offering a digital camera procedure that performs out of the box to a conventional several of its friends can even attempt to live up to. The front selfie camera performs astoundingly effectively, and the color rendering, sharpening, portrait manner blur, dynamic variety and just about every little thing else lends a exclusive top quality to these images that just can’t truly be matched by other smartphone digital camera systems out there. Does it nonetheless slide down when in contrast to a committed, interchangeable lens (or even extravagant fixed lens) camera? Of program, but the difference is significantly educational for anyone not having pics for print or professional reasons. If your quantity a person priority when getting a smartphone is digital camera, the Pixel 8 Pro simply just simply cannot be beat.

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