If you’re a fan of Google’s Pixel lineup and want the best possible camera performance, there’s only been one real choice over the last couple of years: you buy the biggest phone. The Pixel 7 and 7 Pro share the same primary sensor, but the larger device has a superior ultrawide camera (thanks to its wider field of view) and the vaunted telephoto lens with 5x optical zoom. For the upcoming Pixel 8 and 8 Pro, it looks like the company will continue the trend of giving the pricier phone an optical advantage.
Last year, the telephoto lens was the big story, but in 2023, it’s reportedly the ultrawide camera that’s making a substantial leap — but only in one of the two phones, of course.
Android Authority has seemingly obtained the camera specs for Google’s next Pixel duo, which we expect will be introduced in October. Both will share the same 50-megapixel Samsung Isocell GN2 primary sensor, which is larger than the GN1 used in the Pixel 7 series and should thus capture even more light for your everyday shots. At least Google is maintaining parity when it comes to the camera you’ll be relying on most often (and in dark conditions).
The 8 Pro’s ultrawide will use the same sensor as the 7A’s main camera
But the ultrawide camera is where bigger changes await. While the Pixel 8 will continue using the Sony IMX386 that dates back to the Pixel 6, the 8 Pro is being upgraded to Sony’s 64-megapixel IMX787 sensor. As Android Authority notes, this is what the recent $499 Pixel 7A uses for its main camera. My colleague Allison Johnson found it to be more than adequate for a main shooter, so I can only imagine that the Pixel 8 Pro’s ultrawide captures will be more detailed and less muddy.
Like the Pixel 7 shown here, the Pixel 8 will be saddled with a lesser ultrawide camera — and no telephoto lens at all.Image: Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge
On the bright side for Pixel 8 buyers, Google has at least widened the field of view from 0.67x to 0.55x; that puts it on par with the Pixel 7 Pro — the Pixel 7’s ultrawide didn’t feel very ultrawide, if you know what I mean — but the 8 Pro’s ultrawide will cram even more into the shot with a FOV of 0.49x.
The Pixel 8 Pro’s telephoto camera looks to again be a 48-megapixel Samsung system capable of 5x optical zoom. Perhaps most surprising of all, Google will be sticking with the same 11MP Samsung sensor as last year for its selfie camera. I’ve noticed Pixel 7 and 7 Pro owners complaining about how they appear on video calls compared to other recent photos. Ideally, Google has made refinements to the lens hardware (or in software) to produce better results for the Pixel 8 lineup.
I’m a big phone person, and based on the early leaks we’ve seen so far, Google has addressed my biggest frustration with the Pixel 6 Pro and 7 Pro; the curved display is finally history. So I’m excited for the Pixel 8 Pro’s debut this fall, but I still feel for people who wish Google would outfit the Pixel 8 with equal camera chops.
Just remember that, especially when it comes to Google, computational photography and software tricks are the name of the game. We might see the company’s mind-bending Magic Editor tool debut alongside the Pixel 8 series (if not before), and if you thought Magic Eraser was cool, this will mark an even more meaningful step into AI-based photo editing — regardless of what size phone you prefer.