Having trouble with the Pixel 4 zoom

I’ve been playing around with the Pixel 4’s zoom function this weekend and I’m… not sure how I feel about the results just yet. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a steady hand (I need to bring out the tripod next time). Maybe it’s because I haven’t fully grasped the way to use the Pixel 4’s telephoto lens. But things still look digitally-zoomed to me!

If you use zoom on a traditional 35 mm camera, it’s best to use a tripod. So I wouldn’t expect a smartphone’s zoom to perform well without a tripod.

On the other hand I have seen zoom lenses used with no tripod. I don’t know they do it, though… I think of my hands as pretty steady, but they’re not that steady…

If it is already zoomed it’s not horrible. Just not enough for me to~-from-~ spend $800. The zoom plus low light in the first one might have been too hard of a challenge.

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Actually, it’s the opposite with the Pixel. You should be using your hand and not a tripod. Pixel’s super res zoom specifically uses the small movements of your hand to resolve the photo at sub-pixel resolutions.

A traditional camera doesn’t do computation photography, so the vibrations lead to blurring, but Pixel pre-aligns the frames before processing, so that’s not an issue.


I thought it was more a case of the Pixel shooting a series of frames and then aligning them together and removing the motion.

It was a technique first used by NASA to study the Challenger explosion and then the patent was sold to a company called Salient Stills - which then sold it back to taxpayers at a considerable profit at $10,000 a seat to police departments and the FBI.

Luckily the patent expired.

So far I’m pretty happy. See lmages below. Both are macro, the branch is 8x zoom, and the fence is 4x zoom. Both are handheld with the Pixel 4XL, and are stock out of the Google Camera.

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Really awesome photos!!!