Google has quietly removed wide-angle astrophotography features from its Pixel 5 and 4a 5G phones.
Previously, the feature let users capture the night sky with the phone’s wide-angle lens, which would let users get a wider field of view for a larger shot of stars and other celestial bodies.
Now, its low-light support document states: “On Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5, astrophotography only works on zoom settings equal to or greater than 1x.”
The change comes in the 8.1 update to the Google Camera, although the company has given no explanation as to why the feature was removed.
It is hypothesized by Android Central that the lower-quality of picture from a f/2.2 camera could generate better night-time photographs compared to the phones’ f/1.7 main lens.
Users are now told to “Zoom to 1x for astrophotography” within the phones’ camera app.
As The Verge notes, the update, which it describes as a “selling point” of the Pixel 4 and later smartphones, had been active for nearly two months before users noticed the feature had been removed. It is estimated that the change happened in the first week of November.
Google’s camera software on Pixel phones had been long-praised as a way to achieve quality photos without expensive hardware, but instead of issuing a fix through its software it seems the company has opted to remove the feature entirely.
The Independent has reached out to Google for more information.
This is not the only instance where Google has suddenly changed the features it had promised to users.
The smartphone company and search giant had said that Pixel users would receive unlimited original quality storage in Google Photos, but it is now removing that ability.