Better is my Canon full-frame camera. However, the zoom, macro, and Night Sight capabilities of the Google smartphone enable creative opportunities well beyond photos.
Google caught my attention when it boasted about the “pro-level zoom” on the Pixel 7 Pro phone and claimed that the smartphone’s photography skills could compete with traditional cameras. I am a dedicated photographer who carries around a large camera and numerous heavy lenses. However, I also enjoy taking photos with my phone, so I thought I’d investigate Google’s claims.
Google highlighted the Pixel 7 Pro’s telephoto zoom for enlarging far-off subjects, its Tensor G2-powered AI processing, its quicker Night Sight for low-light scenarios, and a new macro feature for close-up shots at its October launch event. At the phone’s launch event, Alexander Schiffhauer, the hardware leader for the Pixel camera, claimed that the device “shrewdly mixes cutting-edge technology, software, and machine learning to deliver outstanding zoom photographs across any magnification.” This phone’s continuous zoom range, from ultrawide angle to supertelephoto, is how Google wants you to imagine it.
As you might expect, I achieved better results with my “actual” camera setup, which would cost $10,000 if it were to be bought brand-new today. Even though my Canon 5D Mark IV is already six years old, when it comes to color, clarity, detail, and a wide dynamic range encompassing bright and dark tones, big picture sensors and powerful lenses are tough to top.
The photographic versatility of the Pixel 7 Pro, though, outperforms my DSLR in some situations and challenges my camera setup better than any other phone I’ve used, earning CNET editor Andrew Lanxon’s “excellent” review. Google’s smartphone fits in my pocket, yet my camera and four lenses take up an entire backpack. Of sure, I can post a selfie, check my email, pay for groceries, and work on the daily crossword puzzle with that $900 smartphone.
A smartphone camera is now better than nothing thanks to yearly improvements in picture processing and camera hardware. These tiny pieces of technology are getting better at getting decisive photos and expanding the creative options available to folks who are learning the benefits of photography.
I’ll continue to bring my DSLR on family vacations and treks. However, the Pixel 7 Pro, in especially its zoom and low-light capabilities, means I won’t be as concerned about missing the shot when I don’t because I won’t always have it with me.
My $2,700 Canon 5D Mark IV most frequently has the $1,900 Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens installed. In addition, I frequently use the $2,400 EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, the $1,300 ultrawide EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM zoom, the $1,300 EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM for close-ups, and the $429 Extender EF 1.4X III for further telephoto distances for photographing birds. Here is how that equipment compares to the 0.5x ultrawide, 1x main camera, and 5x telephoto cameras in the Pixel 7 Pro.