No More Ultrawide Astrophotography for the Pixel 5 and 4A 5G
The Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A 5G have lost access to the astrophotography feature for their ultra-wide cameras.
As reported by The Verge, Google’s support doc now states that “On Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5, astrophotography only works on zoom settings equal to or greater than 1x”. Android Police found that attempts to use the feature with the ultra-wide camera now results in a banner instructing users to “Zoom to 1x for astrophotography” to appear.
The removal of astrophotography from the Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5’s ultrawide cameras came with the Google Camera 8.1 update, which was released in November. A reason for the feature’s ultra-wide support removal was not given. As pointed out by The Verge, however, a Google Support forum thread from November noted that the Pixel 5’s wide lens astrophotography performance was lacking compared to utilising the feature with the phone’s primary lens at 1x. It’s thus possible that the feature was removed due to performance issues, although it's unclear what the actual reason is until Google provides an explanation.
Astrophotography was first introduced with 2019’s Pixel 4 as an improvement to Night Sight, which was introduced in 2018 with the Google Camera App for Pixel 3. The feature allowed users “to take sharp and clear pictures of the stars in the night sky or of nighttime landscapes without any artificial light”. As 9to5Google notes, Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 users can still make use of it on ultra-wide cameras by uninstalling Google Camera updates and reverting to a previous version.