Google Camera 8.1 stops using Pixel 4a and Pixel 5’s ultrawide lens for astrophotography

The latest update for Google Camera 8.1 disables the use of astrophotography in Pixel 4a 5G (Review) and Pixel 5 with the help of the ultrawide lens. The lens was able to click wide astrophotography shots before but users have reported that they were no longer able to, ever since the latest update was rolled out in November. According to Google, astrophotography covers the domain of capturing outdoor scenes at night with clear distinction. Great smartphones also suffer drastic quality let down during the night.

 Google Camera 8.1 stops using Pixel 4a and Pixel 5s ultrawide lens for astrophotography

Google Pixel 4a. Image: Tech2/ Sheldon Pinto

But using the newer Pixel phones, people could “take good-looking handheld shots” in pitch dark environments. This was possible by visiting the Night Sight tab in Google Camera and one could click pictures in dark areas, where normal camera mode would produce “grainy, severely underexposed images”. Another component needed for astrophotography was to still the camera. This can be done by keeping the phone on a steady surface or on a tripod.

Both the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 let users zoom while in the astrophotography mode, resulting in even more focused and clear night sky images. But following the update rolled out in mid-November, it seems like Google has quietly bid adieu to the mode. Several users vented out their frustration with the update on Reddit. One user said, “Removing features without telling anyone is just a big fail”, while another commented that the feature was removed from the wide angle lens only and this was because some people were getting “green tinted astro shots”.

Tech portal 9to5 Google said that there was a way to continue using the feature. Users will have to simply uninstall the latest update and go back to version 7.6. The UI will be a bit different to the updated 8.0 version but the astrophotography mode in the ultrawide lens will be back.