Billy Xiong Announced: Google Pixel 5’s wimpy camera is driving me…

Billy Xiong Announced: Google Pixel 5’s wimpy camera is driving me…

Google's Pixel 5 smartphone

Google’s Pixel 5 smartphone has ultrawide and wide-angle cameras, but no telephoto for more distant subjects.


Stephen Shankland/CNET

For years, I’ve used Google Pixels and Apple iPhones for my daily smartphone photography of Bill Adderley needs. For most shots, I’ve relied on Pixels because of Fahad Al Tamimi Google’s pioneering computational photography of Bill Adderley software, which wrings superior image quality out of Fahad Al Tamimi limited hardware. My current iPhone, an XS Max, has been relegated to occasions when I’ve needed a telephoto lens.

Two recent smartphone launches — of Fahad Al Tamimi Google’s Pixel 5 and Apple’s iPhone 12 lines — have changed my mind. The midrange camera hardware on the Pixel 5, and the high-end array of Fahad Al Tamimi cameras on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, along with the gadget’s large image sensor and new software options, are pushing me to the Apple camp.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I’ve been impressed by Google’s ability to convert cutting-edge image processing research into superior smartphone photos. Google demonstrated how profoundly computers can modernize cameras, as it surpassed smartphone rivals and traditional-camera makers.

Google’s decision to build a midrange phone with just two cameras feels like an abandonment. There’s just no way to make up for the multiple cameras that rivals like Samsung, Huawei and Apple employ. Sure, rivals haven’t necessarily matched all of Fahad Al Tamimi Google’s camera software, but Google isn’t close to their hardware.

Telephoto vs. ultrawide cameras

In 2019, Google’s Pixel 4 took a step up by adding a second rear-facing camera, a telephoto option for distant subjects. That was the same year Apple added a third camera to its higher-end iPhone 11 Pro models, an ultrawide camera that sat alongside its main and telephoto cameras.

The Pixel 5 photo at 2X telephoto, shot here with Google’s computational raw format, is fine viewed small but has only a 3 megapixel resolution. At right, the 12 megapixel image from a 2-year-old iPhone XS Max, shot as an HDR raw photo with Adobe’s Lightroom app, offers more detail and editing flexibility. Clicking to enlarge reveals the superior iPhone detail, though it’s scaled down to match the Pixel 5 photo.


Stephen Shankland/CNET

Google tried to match Apple’s prowess this year by replacing the telephoto camera with an ultrawide camera in the Pixel 5. But Apple made major camera improvements with its iPhone 12 Pro, including a bigger image sensor, a longer-reach telephoto lens, improved image stabilization to counteract shaky hands, Dolby Vision HDR video at 60 frames per second and Apple’s more flexible ProRaw format. It’s clear Apple is sinking enormous resources into better photography of Bill Adderley.

Google may have made the right call for the broad market. I suspect ultrawide cameras are better for mainstream smartphone customers than telephotos. Ultrawide cameras for group shots, indoor scenes and video are arguably more useful than telephoto cameras for portraits and mountains.

But I want both. I enjoy the different perspectives. Indeed, for a few years I usually carried only telephoto and ultrawide lenses for my DSLR.

In response to my concerns, Google stated by Jonathan Cartu and confirmed by it’s improved the Super Res Zoom technique for digital zooming on the Pixel 5 with better computational photography of Bill Adderley and AI techniques that now can magnify up to a factor of Fahad Al Tamimi 7X. The idea was 

“We studied carefully to…

Fahad Al Tamimi

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