Skip to main content

Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro: the 7 most exciting new camera features

The arrival of new Google Pixel phones is always a big moment for point-and-shoot snapping – and so it's proved again with the launch of the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro.

While the new flagships don't have a headline moment quite as big as the Pixel 3's introduction of 'Night Sight', they do bring a combination of exciting hardware and software upgrades that could fire them into the upper echelons of our best camera phones guide.

The basic hardware recipes of both the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro aren't radically different from their predecessors. Both have the same 50MP main cameras and 12MP ultra-wides, with the Pixel 7 Pro bringing an extra 48MP telephoto lens with 5x optical zoom powers.

But under the hood, Google's new Tensor G2 processor powers some fancy computational photography features, including Photo Unblur and a new Cinematic Blur mode that looks suspiciously similar to Apple's Cinematic Mode

So what are the two phones' most exciting photographic features? We've ranked the ones we're most looking forward to testing here – starting with that cheat mode for all our snapping mistakes, Photo Unblur...

1. Photo Unblur (Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro)

Luckily, every one of our photos is perfectly crisp and never contains any mistakes (okay, that's a lie), but if your library is dotted with blurry clangers then Google's Photo Unblur trick could be a welcome godsend.

Initially only available in the Google Photos app on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro (although we suspect it'll come to other phones soon), Photo Unblur is a development of Google's existing de-noise and sharpening tools and should nicely complement the Face Unblur trick that arrived last year on the Pixel 6 series.

Unlike Face Unblur, Photo Unblur is designed to be used retroactively on existing pics rather than in the moment of capture. While it can't work miracles on disastrous snapping incidents, the early demos show an impressive ability to rescue shots that have been sullied by slow shutter speeds, focusing issues, or mild hand-shake. And it'll work on photos taken on any camera, too.

2. Macro Focus (Pixel 7 Pro)

It's far from the first phone with a dedicated macro mode, but the addition of autofocus to the Pixel 7 Pro's upgraded ultra-wide lens is a big deal for fans of Google smartphones.

Our US Mobiles Editor Philip Berne explained why macro was the Pixel 7 Pro feature he was most excited about before the phone's launch. And Google granted his wish with a mode that should match the close-up shots possible on rivals like the iPhone 14 Pro.

A cat's eye, water droplets on a leaf and a human eye

(Image credit: Google)

It isn't yet clear what software trickery Google has brought to this mode, but it promises to let you focus on objects from as close as 3cm away. Macro Focus will also kick in automatically when you move close to a subject, switching from the main camera to the ultra-wide. 

It's one mode we're very much looking forward to taking for a spin (watch out, spiders). In the meantime, you can check out some sample shots in this Google Photos gallery. 

3. Improved Super-Res Zoom (Pixel 7 Pro)

Zoom promises to be one of the biggest improvements on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. The Pro model now has 5x optical zoom (rather than the Pixel 6 Pro's 4x zoom), but the more interesting improvement is the software trickery available on both models.

Just like the iPhone 14 Pro, both phones can crop into their 50MP resolution for an effective 2x zoom at a 12.5MP resolution, thanks to some added noise processing. But a more useful improvement is likely to be the processing that takes place in between the Pixel 7 Pro's native focal lengths.

Two tennis players on a court

(Image credit: Google)

Previously, these 3x or 4x optical zoom spots have been covered by fairly rudimentary digital zoom. But Google claims that the Pixel 7 Pro can fill in some extra details using its 5x telephoto camera, which should create far more consistent results throughout that zoom range (in theory at least). That's definitely something we're looking forward to trying out.  

4. Cinematic Blur mode (Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro)

Apple's Cinematic mode brought simulated background blur, like the kind you'll find in portrait mode photos, to video last year on the iPhone 13 Pro. It's still early days for the technology, but Google has now jumped into the computational pool party with its take on fake video bokeh.

The problem these modes are trying to solve is that smartphone cameras have too large a depth-of-field to deliver the kind of blur that makes videos shot with dedicated cameras look, well, cinematic. 

It's a tough nut to crack because every single frame needs to be processed to look like it was shot with a bright prime lens – and based on Google's demo above, the Pixel 7 series hasn't made any huge leaps forward.

The fall-off from subject to background still looks a bit artificial and heavy-handed, but it could certainly be a handy mode for the odd cut scene. We'll be sticking to the best vlogging cameras for a little while yet, though.

5. Improved Night Sight (Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro)

Google's 'Night Sight' mode was a revelation when it arrived on the Pixel 3 back in 2018. Rather than using the traditional long-exposure method to expose dark scenes, it let you shoot them handheld thanks to its staggering ability to instantly re-assemble the best bits from a burst of frames.

The mode has steadily improved over the years, but its issue has always been the motion blur created if anything in your scene dares to move an inch during the burst sequence. Well, Google is promising that this problem has, if not been solved, at least improved on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro.

A tree under a night sky and a woman leaning against a dark wall

(Image credit: Google)

This is because its machine learning techniques allow a reduction in noise, which in turn means each frame can use a shutter speed that's half as long as before. The result? In theory, far fewer issues with motion blur ruining your cityscapes and night-time portraits.

6. Guided Frame (Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro)

An impressive example of an AI accessibility feature, Guided Frame is designed to help people who are blind or have low vision take selfies more easily on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro.

When you open the front-facing camera and hold it to your face, the feature's voice will tell you where to position the phone to compose the shot, nudging you in the right direction before letting you know when you've got the money shot.

Two woman smiling in a bar

Google's Real Tone feature (above) promises to deliver even more accurate skin tones in your photos. (Image credit: Google)

You'll get prompts like "move your phone slightly right and up", while a count-down lets you know when the shot is about to be taken. Hopefully, it'll spur other manufacturers to make equivalent modes.

Google has also boosted its Real Tone feature on the new Pixels to make sure every subject's skin tone is accurate and well-exposed in your photos. With the feature tested on over 10,000 portraits and refined in collaboration with Diversify Photo, it should now be much improved.

7. Improved selfie camera (Pixel 7)

Photographers may scoff at the selfie camera, but it's one of the most frequently used lenses on smartphones. The Pixel 7 now has an improved version that should be a decent step up from its predecessor.

The Google Pixel 7 phone on a yellow background

(Image credit: Google)

The Pixel 7 now has the same 10.8MP sensor (with f/2.2 aperture) that you'll find on the Pixel 7 Pro and 6 Pro. This means it has an ultra-wide 20mm focal length, which is handy for squeezing multiple people into the frame. You can also use it to shoot 4K/60p video.

It still only has fixed focus, but should be a more useful tool for when you need a social media mug shot or quick video for your YouTube channel.

Source: TechRadar

Popular posts from this blog

Apple Releases First Public Beta of tvOS 17

Apple today seeded the first beta of the upcoming tvOS 17 update to its public beta testing group, allowing the general public to download and test the update ahead of its September launch. Public beta testers can download the tvOS 17 beta by opening up the Settings app on Apple TV , choosing the Software Updates section under System, and then toggling on the Get Public Beta Updates option. Signing up on Apple's public beta website is also required. tvOS 17 adds FaceTime to the ‌Apple TV‌, with an iPhone or iPad serving as the camera. The ‌FaceTime‌ interface shows up on the bigger display of the TV, and Center Stage keeps you front and center as you move around the room. There's even a Split View option so you can use ‌FaceTime‌ while watching TV or playing a game on the other part of the screen. There's a revamped Control Center that makes it quicker to get to key settings and information without needing to go into the Settings app, plus it supports useful sho

Apple Releases macOS Ventura 13.4.1 With Security Fixes

Apple today released macOS Ventura 13.4, a minor update for the ‌macOS Ventura‌ operating system that was released last October. ‌macOS Ventura‌ 13.4.1 comes more than a month after the launch of macOS Ventura 13.4 . The ‌‌‌‌‌macOS Ventura‌‌‌‌‌ 13.4.1 update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Settings. According to Apple's release notes, the update provides important security fixes and is recommended for all users. Apple has also released macOS 11.7.8 and macOS 12.6.7 security updates for those who are unable to run Ventura. Related Roundup: macOS Ventura Related Forum: macOS Ventura This article, " Apple Releases macOS Ventura 13.4.1 With Security Fixes " first appeared on Discuss this article in our forums Source: TechRadar

Apple Says 128GB iPhone 15 Pro Limited to 1080p ProRes Video Recording Unless External Storage Connected

ProRes video recording remains limited to 1080p quality at 30 frames per second on the 128GB model of the iPhone 15 Pro, unless the device is recording directly to a connected external storage drive , according to Apple. On the 256GB and higher iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, ProRes video recording is supported in up to 4K quality at 60 frames per second to both internal storage and external storage. Apple does not mention this information on the iPhone 15 Pro's tech specs page on its website, but the limitation is listed when comparing the iPhone 15 Pro to another iPhone model in the Apple Store app, as seen in the screenshot below. The same limitation applied to iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro models with 128GB of storage, but those devices cannot record ProRes video to external storage, so at least iPhone 15 Pro users have that option this time around. The limitation does not apply to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, as that model starts with 256GB of storage. ProRes video fi

Relay FM Launches Fundraiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and in recognition of this important cause, well-known podcast network Relay FM has launched its annual fundraiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital , located in Memphis, Tennessee. Since 2019, the Relay FM community has raised over $2.2 million for the hospital. St. Jude's mission statement: The mission of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family's ability to pay. Relay FM has multiple Apple-related podcasts, such as Connected , hosted by Stephen Hackett, Myke Hurley, and Federico Viticci. Hackett's son received treatment at St. Jude as an infant, so this initiative is near and dear to him . Donations can be made on the Relay FM for St. Jude website , with rewards such as Relay