Google has quietly removed the astrophotography feature on the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G with the Google Camera 8.1 update in November. According to a 9to5Google report, the wider lens is no longer available for capturing in pitch darkness.
Do note that the astrophotography mode only works on zoom settings equal to or greater than 1x on Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5. “A message tells you to “Zoom to 1x for astrophotography” before it’s possible to enter the mode, while .6x disappears and cannot be reselected once you’re in,” the report added.
It is unclear why Google removed the feature, but it could be something to do with the quality of shots as several people who used the feature took to Google support to complain that the pictures turned out to be green and grainy.
Astrophotography was touted as one of the key features on the Pixel 4, which worked on regular as well as telephoto cameras. It was added on the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 as well, which come with wide-angle lenses. The astrophotography feature can be switched on in Google Camera App’s Night Sight mode when the smartphone is steady.
To use the feature, users need to keep the phone really steady during long exposures by keeping it on a stable surface or using a tripod. Next, open the Google Camera App and switch to Night Sight. Once the phone is steady, the viewfinder displays a message that says “Astrophotography on”.
However, after the update, the feature has been removed from the Night Sight mode, which shows a message saying, “Zoom to 1x for astrophotography.” Do note that other cameras on the phone still support the feature.
Google Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G were launched in October this year. Both the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G come with dual cameras where one of the lenses is a 16-megapixel ultra-wide one. The primary camera is a 12.2-megapixel sensor with 1.4um pixels. It supports features like Night Sight, portrait lighting effect, and 4K videos at 60 fps.