Taking photos is the main task of a camera, and also ensuring that these photos are automatically processed in the most correct way possible, but there are other aspects that I consider essential in a multimedia capture application. AND manual controls seem basic to me: The best photo is not always going to come out, letting the mobile decide. That’s why I always had a thorn in my side with the Google Pixel, I missed the advanced mobile options like the Samsung Galaxy or the Xiaomi. Until the Google Pixel 8 Pro fell into my hands.
Finally a Google camera with manual capture settings
It is true that the Pixel included certain options, such as exposure compensation, but I always missed manual focus and shutter speed adjustment, For example. With these two manual controls the photographic experience changes completely, since with them the mobile allows you to adjust the shot in a much more creative way. And Google finally includes them in the Pixel 8 Pro; apart from other options.
The Google Pixel were already excellent photography phones, the capture and computational processing that the company has been applying to its smartphones is excellent. Even on cheap phones, it is enough to install an adapted GCam to achieve better photos. And with the extra controls that the Pixel 8 Pro has This mobile equates manual possibilities with automatic onesa balance that I had been asking from the Google camera for years.
Apart from the fact that the phone’s photographic hardware is of the highest level, with a periscopic telephoto that I have fallen in love with, the software has seen the differences in possibilities with competing brands reduced to satisfy even professionals. Always saving distances since the Google Pixel 8 Pro is still a smartphone.
Adjust the focus precisely when the autofocus persists in not acting correctly (very useful when there is little light), increase the exposure speed to capture the movement path of an athlete, raise the ISO to more correct values than those automatically apply the app or do something that until now was impossible on a Google Pixel: take a photo with the original sensor size without applying Pixel Binning.
Currently, on my Google Pixel 8 Pro I have saved in RAW with 50 megapixel shooting marked. I get much sharper images with greater detail, always at the cost of one drawback: a longer processing time. And I can decide how I want the shot: with this shutter speed, focusing on this tiny point in the scene and raising the ISO to save the underexposure. Marvelous.
Good for the Pixel 8 Pro, bad for being exclusive
Aside from the Google Pixel 8 Pro, I also have the Google Pixel 8; and another couple of older models, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6a. And I don’t understand why Google has decided to limit manual adjustments to the model with the highest features when the rest are perfectly capable of having those adjustments. Well, the truth is that I do understand: to make the Pixel 8 Pro more attractive (apart from including a larger screen, battery and telephoto). With something as basic as manual settings in a camera app, these should be carried over to all Pixels.
While the Google Pixel 8 Pro app offers exclusive settings, there are ways to enjoy those controls on other models, even non-Pixel Androids: the latest versions of GCam have them enabled. And it is perfect for the Pixel 8, for example: with the GCam on that mobile the distance between the two most recent models is reduced. And, in turn, you get a much more complete and customizable photographic experience, which is what I like.
I’m glad that Google has decided to open its application to users who prefer to personally adjust the capture parameters: although the Google camera has been excellent for automatic shooting for years, it still had that little step to climb to get closer to perfection. That no mobile app is, for that you will always need a dedicated camera. Still, Google has come very close.