Astrophotography mode via Google Pixel 4XL (Image: Google)
Static astrophotography photography has been available in the Google Camera app on the Pixel 3 and later, though the company quietly disabled the feature on Pixel 4a 5G or Pixel 5’s ultra-wide-angle lens back in December 2020.
Google is reportedly planning to add ‘astrophotography time-lapses’ to the Google Pixel phones. According to XDA Developers, traces of the photography mode were found within the latest version of the Pixel Tips app (v126.96.36.1993287606) codes that highlights a new class called “CameraAstrotimelapseSettingController.” The report adds that in terms of functioning, users will likely be able to automatically take an astrophotography shot every couple of minutes for a set amount of time (say 1-2 hours). It will let users capture a moving shot of the starry sky (taken over an hour or so), compressed into a seconds-long file. The exact rollout timeline remains unclear; however, astrophotography time-lapse mode is said to release with the next Pixel Camera app update. Notably, Realme had rolled a starry time-lapse enabled smartphone called Realme 8 Pro in March this year. You can see its functioning in the video below.
Static astrophotography photography has been available in the Google Camera app on the Pixel 3 and later, though the company quietly disabled the feature on Pixel 4a 5G or Pixel 5’s ultra-wide-angle lens back in December 2020. Google never clarified as to why the feature lost the ability to work with the ultra-wide lens, though it was presumably due to overall quality. To recall, the Astrophotography shot on Pixel lets users take pictures of a starry night sky by using AI tweaks and zooming capabilities. Whether using it for capturing static or time lapses, astrophotography requires the phone camera to be extremely still, hence tripod is usually recommended. Astrophotography can be activated by selecting the Night Sight tab on the Google Camera app. Time-lapse, on the other hand, has been available on Pixel phones for a bit longer; however, the current version does not let users capture starry night videos.