The Pixel 8 camera app is getting a major overhaul

When the Pixel 8 is released, users will find the camera app UI isn't the same old app they're used to.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Person using the Google Pixel 7a.
June Wan/ZDNET

On Android Authority, notable Google leaker, Kamila Wojciechowska, posted information regarding what's in store for the Pixel 8 camera app. Although this will come off as a fairly major overhaul to those who've been using the Pixel line of phones for some time, to others it might seem more like a subtle shift.

I say this because Google is changing the workflow of the camera app by shuffling a few things around. So, for anyone who's been snapping images with a Pixel phone for a while, you're going to get tripped up for a short period as you adjust to the new layout.

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One thing to keep in mind is that the Pixel camera app is one of the best on the market. In fact, the Pixel camera app is so good that it can take aging hardware and still strong-arm it into taking incredible photos. My Pixel 7 Pro is capable of besting any phone camera on the market and that is primarily because of the app's ability to push the hardware.

The Pixel 8 camera will include a Samsung ISOCELL GN2 sensor, which is larger and capable of capturing roughly 35% more light than the GN1 that's on the Pixel 7. That sensor also supports filming 8K at 30fps (although that feature probably won't make its way to the Pixel 8). 

The Pixel 8 is also receiving an upgrade to the ultrawide camera. In place of the outdated 12MP Sony IMX386 will be a 64MP Sony IMX787.

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Apart from the hardware, the big difference is found within the app. The changes are as follows:

  • The menu carousel (where you switch between modes, such as Motion, Portrait, Camera, Video, Cinematic, and Mode) is being replaced with a two-button switch that allows you to select either Camera or Video. Once you've made that selection, you'll then have access to the traditional Carousel, where you can select the options.
  • The position of the camera switch and the gallery button are being considered for a switch. This means, that for those who are used to automatically tapping the gallery button to view photos and videos you've just taken, you might have to change that workflow.
  • The Settings popup, which usually appears when you tap the downward-pointing arrow in the upper left corner, now is brought into play by swiping up on your screen -- another change to the workflow that will trip up some users.
  • Motion tab has been split into two different options: Long Exposure and Action Pan and the Cinematic Pan stabilization mode has been changed to simply Pan.
  • If you're accustomed to the old Pixel Stabilization modes, in the Pixel 8 camera app you'll find they are now in a popup menu (accessed from within the options popup) with three different options: Standard, Locked, and Active.

These changes will not only help make the Pixel camera more powerful but also look to be geared toward greatly simplifying the camera-taking workflow. Everything about taking photos and videos with a Pixel 8 should be much easier and more reliable than previous iterations. At the same time, those of us who've been using the Pixel phone line for a long while might wind up having to acclimate to a totally different process. 

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However, if the end results are an improvement over the already stellar Pixel 7 Pro photos, I'm all in. And given the camera app hasn't had much of an overhaul since the Pixel 4, this is long overdue.

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