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The Pixel phone camera was already the best, but these new features make it even better

Already point-and-shoot superstars, Pixel phone cameras now add pro-level power and flexibility to their bag of photo tricks, thanks to Google's June 2024 feature drop.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
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Jack Wallen/ZDNET

The Pixel phone's camera has been at or near the top of the "best" charts for a long time. Of the many phone cameras I've used, Google's handsets continually prove to be the best in class. 

My Pixel 8 Pro takes stunning photos -- and I don't have to do anything more than point-and-shoot. However, sometimes I wish I had a bit more power and flexibility. With the latest Android feature drop (June 2024), my wish has come true.

Also: 12 more features Google announced for Pixel phones, watches, and tablets

As originally reported by 9to5Google, the Pixel Camera app now lets you select which rear lens (Ultra Wide, Wide, or Telephoto) and which resolution (12 MP or 50 MP, which is only available on the Pixel 8 Pro) you'd like to use to shoot. Also, Google has moved the JPEG or RAW format selection to the new Pro tab. Keep in mind that RAW photos give you considerably more detail and control, but the images take up significantly more space than their JPEG counterparts.

If you opt for manual lens selection, when you take a photo, you'll see three options above the shutter button -- Ultra Wide, Wide, or Telephoto. Tap one of those options to switch between the lenses (the difference between them is impressive). The Wide lens is selected by default. Keep in mind that if you use the Telephoto lens option, you need to have a very steady hand, otherwise your photos will be blurry. Your best bet with the Telephoto lens is to use a tripod.

After enabling the RAW option, you can switch between JPEG and RAW when viewing the image.

To access the Pro tab, open the Camera app on your phone and tap the gear icon in the bottom-left corner. Here you'll see the General and Pro tabs, with the Pro tab housing Resolution, RAW/JPEG, and Lens Selection.

Along with these new features, the improved HDR+ is now much better at identifying the best moment from a photo. 

Also: The best Google Pixel phones: Expert tested and reviewed

The June 2024 feature drop brings these new camera app features to the Pixel 6/7/8 Pro and Fold. To ensure you have these new features, you'll need to update to version 9.4.103.641377609.23 of the Pixel Camera. If you own a Pixel 8 Pro, you'll have these new features in conjunction with the ability to adjust Focus, Shutter Speed, and ISO. If you know what you're doing with those options, you can get some stunning results from your photos.

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