Google anticipates that the Pixel 7 Pro smartphone’s camera is significantly improve thanks to new hardware, software, and artificial intelligence capabilities. And CNET has the exclusive inside look at everything the business has done.
Although the smaller $999 iPhone 14 Pro has the same camera hardware, Google puts its $899 top Android phone to fight directly against Apple’s $1,099 iPhone 14 Pro Max in part due to that photography technology.
Comparatively speaking to Apple and Samsung models, Google’s Pixel phones haven’t sold as well. They have, nevertheless, consistently received great accolades for their photographs. Camera technology will be the one item that attracts buyers.
The Pixel 6 Pro from a year ago included a “camera bar” containing three rear cameras: a 0.7x ultrawide angle, a 4x telephoto, and a 50-megapixel primary camera. The 50-megapixel camera on the Pixel 7 models remains the same, but it is now housed in a new camera bar.
The ultrawide lens on the Pixel 7 Pro features the same sensor as last year’s model, but it now also offers a macro mode, autofocus, and a wider 0.5x zoom. The telephoto zoom magnification on the 7 Pro can zoom in up to 5x, and a new 48-megapixel telephoto sensor enables an unaided 10x zoom capability. A new front-facing selfie camera is added to both phones.
The Pixel 7 Pro’s upgraded hardware basis, however, only tells a portion of the tale. New algorithms for artificial intelligence (AI) and Google’s new Tensor G2 processor enable computational photography, which speeds up Night Sight, deblurs faces, improves video stabilization, and combines data from many cameras to produce better images at intermediate zoom levels, like 3x. That is more similar to how a conventional camera operates.
“What we really tried to do is give you a 12mm-240mm camera,” said Pixel camera hardware leader Alexander Schiffhauer, translating the Pixel 7 Pro’s 0.5x to 10x magnification range into traditional 35mm camera terms. “That’s like the Holy Grail travel lens,” an all-purpose setup that photo enthusiasts have long enjoyed for portability and flexibility.