Google launched the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G smartphones with astrophotography feature for the primary camera as well as the wide-angle lens. However, in the latest software update pushed to the phones, the company has now removed support for astrophotography through the wide-angle lens.
The astrophotography feature allows users to capture the night sky by pointing the phone up and keeping it still. The feature isn’t entirely gone but when the user tries the Night Sight mode and switches to the ultrawide camera, there’s a warning stating “Zoom to 1x for astrophotography.”
Although Google has not responded to several media outlets’ question about this move, the company has updated the low-light photography support document to add the following information:
Important: On Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5, astrophotography only works on zoom settings equal to or greater than 1x.
While it has not been cleared by Google why the feature is being taken away, some reports indicate that this could be related to the feedback that the wide-angle lens didn’t produce great shots on the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 smartphones. It appears that shots captured using the astrophotography mode on those phones produced a green tinge and digital noise, which is not the case with the primary sensor.