My Google Pixel 5 camera is taking me to iPhone 12

Google's Pixel 5 smartphone

Google’s Pixel 5 smartphone has an ultra wide and wide angle camera, but no telephoto for more distant subjects.

Stephen Shakland / CNET

Over the years, I have used Google Pixels and Apple Plus iPhones for my daily smartphone photography needs. For most shots, I’ve relied on Pixels because of Google’s leading computational photography software, which handles better image quality with limited hardware. My current iPhone, an XS Max, is full of occasions when I need a telephoto lens.

The two recent smartphone launches of 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-array of the camera on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, the gadget’s huge image sensor and the new software software options, are pushing me towards Apple Pal Camp.

It didn’t have to be this way. I’m impressed with Google’s ability to turn cutting-edge image processing research into the best smartphone photos. Google showed how computers can modernize cameras, as it surpasses smartphone rivals and traditional camera manufacturers.

The decision by Google to make a midrange phone with just two cameras seems like an abandonment. There is no way to create multiple cameras that employ competitors like Samsung, Huawei and Apple Pal. Sure, competitors don’t match all of Google’s camera software, but Google isn’t close to their hardware.

Telephoto Vs. Ultravide camera

In 2019, Google’s Pixel 4 took a step further by adding a second rear-facing camera, a telephoto option for distant subjects. That same year Apple Play added a third camera to its high-end iPhone 11 Pro models, an ultraviolet camera that sat next to its main and telephoto camera.

The Pixel 5 photo on 2x telephoto, shot here with Google’s computational raw format, looks great, but has a resolution of 3 megapixels. On the right, the 12-megapixel image of the 2-year-old iPhone XS Max, shot as HDR raw photos with Adobe’s Lightroom app, offers more detail and editing flexibility. Clicking to enlarge reveals the best iPhone detail, though it is small enough to match Pixel 5 photos.

Stephen Shakland / CNET

Google this year tried to match the prowess of the Apple Pal by replacing the telephoto camera with an ultraviolet camera in the Pixel 5. Shaking hands, fighting Apple LB Vision HDR video at 60 frames per second and Apple’s more flexible pro format. It is clear that Apple Paul is drowning in enormous resources in better photography.

Google may have made the right call for the broad market. I doubt that ultraviolet cameras are better for mainstream smartphone consumers than telephotos. Ultravide cameras for group shots, indoor scenes and video are more useful than portrait cameras for portraits and mountains.

But I want both. I enjoy different perspectives Really, for some years I usually only carried telephoto and ultraviolet lenses for my DSLR.

In response to my concerns, Google says it has improved the super res zoom technology for better computational photography and digital zoom on the Pixel 5 and AI Technologies that can now extend up to a factor of 7X. The idea was

Camera product manager Isaac Reynolds said, “We studied carefully to determine what really matters to the connoisseur, and then we focused on it – and made hundreds of dollars in the process,” said camera product manager Isaac Reynolds. Having a telephoto camera would have helped with image quality, but this year Google’s priority was to “make a phone that did well compared to the top but at a much lower price – and we did.”

I don’t believe so much. Even when shooting at 2X telephoto zoom, my 2 year old iPhone XS Max and my 1 year old Pixel 4 both give a much better image than the Pixel 5.

Rather than zooming in at 2X, the Pixel 5’s Super Rays zoom technology produces a 12-megapixel image, but this will look closer to the artificial, like the agricultural view.

Stephen Shakland / CNET

What I’ve been doing so far about the Pixel 5 camera

I want to be clear: Google’s new phone has its merits, and I’ve experienced some of its powers while testing the Pixel 5 camera over the last few days. Here are a handful:

  • Google’s computational raw photo enthusiasts have the best of both worlds when it comes to photo formats. It combines the exposure range and noise reduction of multishot HDR + processing commonly used to create JPEG with exposure to processed raw photo data and color flexibility.
  • Double-tapping the phone’s power button launches the camera app quickly. It’s not new with the Pixel 5, but it’s much faster than the iPhone’s lock screen icon.
  • The night site, especially the astrophotography mode, is still attractive for low light shots.

Google also pointed to other Pixel 5 permissions, including the ability to bring the published source under control to brighten the subject’s face; Portrait shots that work in night site mode; 4K video that now works at 60 frames per second faster, a more advanced high dynamic range processing called HDR +, which is now enhanced by the backlight face, and exposure brackets for better shadow details for better video stability.

Here’s the rub, though: As Google slips into hardware, competitors are upgrading their software.

Google’s competitors in computational photography are catching on

StoryPlay has not commented on his photography plans for this story, but his actions speak volumes.

Pixel 5 portrait mode

The Pixel 5 is not useful in unique portrait mode, which blurs the background of a simple “bouquet”.

Stephen Shakland / CNET

Last year, the Apple Pal matched what was best in Google’s HDR + for challenging scenes with bright and dark elements. This year the Pixel 5 accelerates HDR + with bracket technology in multishot blending technology. Apple’s Smart HDR optional, however, is now in its third-generation upgrade. Apple is also improving the night photos of the iPhone.

Photo enthusiasts like me prefer unprocessed, raw photo formats so we can make color balance, touch, sharpening and noise reduction beautiful. It’s better when the convenient image doesn’t make the right choices when the raw image data is “backed up” into a more convenient but limited JPEG image. Google’s calculated raw mix with the raw flexibility of HDR processing, but now Apple plans to introduce its answer, ProRo, in an upcoming update on the iPhone Pro models.

Many people use a Pixel phone, and its weight is also on Google. Imaging software software Powerhouse Calibrates its lightroom photo software to correct Adobe lens problems and adapt its HDR tool to its camera and lens. No wonder the Pixel phone is not on that list. “We tend to support our customers based on the popularity of the devices,” Adobe said in a statement.

In contrast, Adobe is “partnering closely with Apple Pal” to tap probe capabilities. And a Google Counting photography guru Mark Levoye has left Google and is now on Adobe, Where it is creating photo technology in Adobe’s Camera My app.

Selling a midrange smartphone like the Pixel 5 or Pixel 4A 5G might make sense when the Covid-19 epidemic has cost millions of jobs and rendered the iPhone 1,099 an iPhone Pro Max unusable. But for people like me who appreciate the photography budget and Google’s computational photography smarts, it’s sad that Google has lost its lead.