Pixel 3, Pixel 3a and even the Pixel 2 receive the new astrophotography feature

Pixel 3, Pixel 3a and even the Pixel 2 receive the new astrophotography feature
Google added several new features for the Pixel 4 line this year including a "secure" Face unlock (that for now unlocks the phone with the user's eyes closed), a 90Hz refresh rate for the display (that still has some restrictions following an update), and Motion Sense. Using Google's radar-based Soli chip, the user can dismiss an alarm, silence a phone call and skip through streaming content with a wave of the hand.

The new Pixel models also feature a second camera on the back for the first time. Besides the usual 12.2MP sensor, there is a 16MP telephoto camera with a 2x optical zoom. But as usual with the Pixel's photographic capabilities, the genius is in the software. Google's latest handsets carry an improved version of Night Sight, which is used to take viewable photos in dark and low-light conditions. With this new version of Night Sight, Pixel 4 users can partake in astrophotography and snap stunning pictures of the night sky.

When the camera is in astrophotography mode, the phone should be placed on a tripod or kept steady by a rock or via some other method. The phone will snap 15 exposures over four minutes. Using AI, the exposures are aligned to account for any movement during the 240 seconds. Pixel 4 users have been taking gorgeous photos of the stars and night sky.

And in typical Google fashion, the company announced earlier this month that the astrophotography feature will be coming to older Pixel models (as will the Recorder app that produces transcriptions on-device in real-time). According to Digital Trends, version 7.2 of the Camera app is rolling out today bringing the astrophotography mode to not only Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a users, but Pixel 2 users as well. Unfortunately for those with an OG Pixel, Google is ending its support of the 2016 models with one last update scheduled for next month. Google Camera 7.2 also adds some UI changes such as larger text and buttons and it brings the camera experience on the older models more in line with what Pixel 4 users have.

Keep in mind that the astrophotography feature does not show up as a separate setting on the app. Once a Pixel user is in Night Sight mode, the phone will recognize when it is being pointed at the dark sky and will show a prompt indicating that the astrophotography mode is enabled.

Version 7.2 of the Google Camera app requires that older Pixel units receiving the update be running on Android 10. You can find the app in the Google Play Store.

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8 Comments

1. maherk

Posts: 6999; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

So Google adds this(which I'm not against), yet their reasoning why 4k at 60fps wasn't added is because not all people use it? I'm 100% sure 4k at 60 fps is and will always be more popular and useful than astrophotography mode on smartphones.

2. jjface

Posts: 256; Member since: Jun 07, 2017

You are probably right but why is no one complaining that the one year old iphone xs with the second best chip on the planet doesn't get NIGHT MODE?!

3. maherk

Posts: 6999; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I've talked about this as well. Huawei added night mode to the Mate 10, Samsung to the S9, yet Apple who brags about having the most advanced chips on smartphones, wasn't able to add it to their 1 year old devices. But we all know why, the XS' achilles heal was night photography, and with them fixing that, plenty of people wouldn't have found the need to upgrade their iPhones and get the 11 Pro.

5. Venom

Posts: 3778; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

So basically this just a chance to plug Huawei into the mix? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for calling Google out for their nonsense, but this is just senseless nitpicking.

6. maherk

Posts: 6999; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Your insecurity regarding Huawei is unbelievable. I didn't mention Huawei in my OP, but the reply to my comment got me into mentioning other OEMs who have brought their Night Mode to older devices. You're just butthurt that I criticized Google, and you had to show your frustration by complaining about me mentioning Huawei, which if you follow me enough, and I'm sure you do, I talk about the frustrations I have with their products, same goes to Samsung. I give credit when it's due, and criticize when I feel they deserve to be criticized.

8. Venom

Posts: 3778; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

I'm not insecure at all. I called it what it was, senseless nitpicking. I wasn't butthurt because you criticized Google. Again I said above that I am all for criticizing Google but only when it's justifiable.

9. meanestgenius

Posts: 22388; Member since: May 28, 2014

Totally agree maherk. Googles reasoning behind this is as flawed as them removing key things from the Pixel 4 series but still having them with such a high price tag for what they bring (and more importantly, what they don't bring) to the table.

10. tokuzumi

Posts: 1946; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

Pixel 3a user here. I'll have to see how it works when I get the update.

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