Pixel 8 Camera: All Upgrades and New Features

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Pixel 8 Camera: all upgrades and new features
The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro have a bunch of new camera-related upgrades to talk about, including improved main cameras on both models and better ultrawide and telephoto snappers on the Pro version. There are even four cool new camera features to make the camera experience more fun and practical. So, let's dive into the details and see why the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are some of the best camera phones!

Get Google Pixel 8 Pro at Amazon and save $249

Google's 2023 Pixel 8 Pro flagship is available at Amazon. At the moment, the 128GB model is available at $249 off, meaning you can save 25% on the most innovative Google Pixel flagship phone to date.

Get Google Pixel 8 for8% off on Amazon

The Google Pixel 8 is available at Amazon right now. The smartphone sells for 8% off, which equates to $53. Only the model in Obsidian arrives at that discount right now.

Pixel 8 camera specs summarized

We have plenty of new hardware this time around, especially when it comes to the Pixel 8 Pro!

Both the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro come with an improved main camera compared to the previous Pixel 7 versions, although it can be a bit hard to tell because the resolution is the same as before at 50MP. What you can spot as a change, however, is the wider aperture on both new models, which means the camera can capture 21% more light than on the Pixel 7 series.

While the Pixel 8does have a have a new sensor for its main camera, it is not the one we previously thought would be included. Instead, it is the Samsung GNV sensor which some reports claim is a slightly modified Samsung GN1 (the one used with the Pixel 7).

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The ultra-wide camera also gets a big boost with a new 48MP resolution sensor. And just like the rest of the rear camera system, the aperture has opened up and is now f/1.95, compared to f/2.2 on the predecessor.

Suffice to say, we expect the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro to perform significantly better than last year's models when it comes to night and low-light shooting in particular.

We also have new selfie cameras on both Pixel 8 phones, which Google says take sharper pictures than before.

If you want to find out even more about the technical details of these cameras, feel free to read our fill Pixel 8 specs and Pixel 8 Pro specs pages.

Pixel 8 series camera upgrades

Improved Main Camera

Google Pixel 8 Pro
PhoneArena Camera Score
BEST 154
PhoneArena Photo Score
BEST 160
Main (wide)
PhoneArena Video Score
BEST 149
Main (wide)

The main camera on the Pixel 8 series still features a 50MP resolution, but Google has managed to muster up better picture quality thanks to a number of improvements, including a faster aperture and software tweaks.

And this year you can actually take pictures in the full 50MP resolution for more detailed shots (the Pixel 7 last year was limited to 12MP snaps only). Google also says that you can even take 50MP snaps in the dark and you will still get better detail, however, at the expense of some noise in the picture.

But while photos do look better on the Pixel 8 series, the big highlight is the new Video Boost technology. Sadly, it's not available at launch, but is not too far off - it's coming in December.

And it could be a game-changer for smartphone video! What Video Boost does is it makes use of a new camera sensor technology called dual conversion gain that improves the noise and dynamic range. Google refers to it as "dual exposure", but it's not conventional HDR since it does not blend multiple shots. After you capture a video with this new sensor, with the Video Boost feature enabled, that recording goes to Google's powerful data centers where it is further processed. It takes some time for the Video Boost version to become ready, but you also get a copy of a regular version of the video saved to your phone, which you can view and use immediately.

However, there are some concerns: large video files can quickly burn through your data allowance on a mobile plan for one.

And then there is the privacy concern. Google says intermediate files created for and during the Video Boost processing are discarded after the processing is finished, and reassures that when users delete the backed up version of the video, it will disappear from Google servers (while it remains locally on your phone). But some part of us remains a bit concerned about this.

And during the day, this technology improves dynamic range dramatically and reduces noise in the shadows, and at night, it automatically enables Night Sight Video which boosts the light in the scene and also improves dynamics for much more impressive footage.

Improved ultra-wide and telephoto cameras on the Pixel 8 Pro

We have already said the Pixel 8 Pro specifically has a brand new 48MP sensor for the ultrawide camera. This allows for two things: at the default 12MP resolution, four pixels are combined into one for improved low light performance, while during the day you can capture full 48MP resolution files with a lot more detail.

The Pixel 8 Pro uses the same 48-megapixel sensor for the 5X telephoto camera as on the previous generation, but with a faster f/2.8 aperture that allows you to capture 56% more light (by the way, that's the same aperture that the 5X camera on rival iPhone 15 Pro Max). As a consequence of the faster aperture, the phone can now lock focus faster and switching to the 5X camera is now also faster.

New selfie cameras

The selfie cameras on the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro are also improved. They come with the same 10.5MP resolution as before (and probably the same sensor), but Google claims detail and sharpness have improved thanks to other changes it has made.

New software features

There are four new software features on the Pixel 8 series, so let's first summarize them:

  • Best Take — for group photos, create a blended image out of multiple photos picking the best expression for each person, so that you don't have to retake a picture because someone blinked.
  • Magic Editor — new feature still in its early stages which allows you to resize or reposition an object in a picture easily.
  • Audio Magic Eraser — reduces distracting sounds in your videos.
  • Zoom Enhance — when you pinch in to zoom in a photo, it intelligently sharpen and enhance details using generative AI.
Best Take, Magic Editor and Audio Magic Eraser will come to both Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro on October 12th, while Zoom Enhance will only be available on the Pixel 8 Pro.

Magic Eraser on steroids

One of the most exciting new camera features is the massively capable Magic Editor function, which users can utilize to do amazing things with their photos after they've taken them!

For starters, you can move an object or person in a completely different place of the image, which basically means manipulating its composition. You can also replace a sky or, just like before, remove objects or people entirely with the phone's AI smarts filling in the gaps left behind. In fact, you can now remove individual items of clothing like a bag or a scarf from a person, making it look like it was never there!

The familiar Magic Eraser feature also gets brand new functions as it works for audio now. With it, you can get rid of unwanted sounds in a video, which is quite useful.

Pro controls

*Only on the Pixel 8 Pro

Users can now (finally!) use the full might of the Pixel 8 Pro's camera system via the new "Pro" controls.

And yes, this means you get to control things like shutter speed and ISO, but most importantly, you can choose to take images in the full resolution of the camera! Previously, you were limited to only taking 12MP shots on last year's Pixel 7 family, and now you can get a 50MP or a 48MP resolution picture which has a lot more detail.

For some unknown reason, however, the Pro camera mode is not available on the regular Pixel 8 model.

Best Take

The Best Take feature combines similar pictures into one where everyone looks their best, with the judgment taken by the AI algorithm inside the phone. In other words, no eyes are closed and everyone is looking at the camera. This sounds a bit weird, but could be a really neat feature for those family pictures!

Macro Focus

Macro Focus allows you to capture macro style shots using the ultra-wide camera from even closer distances while getting more detail. Previously, you could focus as close as 3cm, and now with the Pixel 8 series, you can focus at 2cm, which is even closer and quite cool.

This feature is available on both the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro models.

How many cameras does the Pixel 8 have?

Just like the Pixel 7 series, the regular Pixel 8 only comes with two rear cameras — the main (wide) camera and an ultra-wide one.

As we already mentioned, the Pixel 8 Pro model has a third, telephoto camera that is capable of 5X zoom. Both phones come with an improved selfie camera at the front.

Read our Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro reviews to see how each camera performed and check out sample images and videos!

How many megapixels is the Pixel 8 camera?

Here are all the Google Pixel 8 cameras and their respective megapixel counts:
  • Main — 50MP
  • Ultrawide — 12MP on the Pixel 8, 48MP on the Pixel 8 Pro
  • Telephoto — 48MP (*only on the Pixel 8 Pro)
  • Front-facing — 10.5MP

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