The Pixel 4 series come with a dual camera system this year: a main camera and a telephoto one that Google says comes in handy for zoomed in shots.
But does it really work in real life and how much of a gamechanger is it?
Super zoom tested
To understand that, we first start by comparing superzoom to an image captured with the main camera and then cropped to match the zoom level on the superzoom photo. We have used 4X zoom level for this example and we have cropped in the same part from the picture shot on the regular camera:
4X Superzoom, captured in camera
Crop made after the shot from a regular photo
As you can see, the difference is quite noticeable: you have a lot more noise on the cropped image. Superzoom does indeed make a difference.
We also compare Superzoom at various levels against the popular iPhone 11 Pro Max (which has a 2X telephoto camera, but no “superzoom” alternative).
iPhone 11 Pro Max, 1x
Pixel 4 XL, 1x
At this point, you can just see the difference in general, we start looking at the zoom levels from the next photo.
iPhone 11 Pro Max, 2x
Pixel 4 XL, 2x
iPhone 11 Pro Max, 3x
Pixel 4 XL, 3x
At 3X zoom, the advantages of the Superzoom system start to show as you get far less noise and a better resolved detail on the Pixel.
iPhone 11 Pro Max, 4x
Pixel 4 XL, 4x
Those differences only amp up at 4X zoom level. The iPhone looks grainy, while the Pixel still captures a very sharp and more pleasing photo.
The Pixel can zoom all the way up to 8X zoom and you will see the benefits from Superzoom all across the zoom range, at any level. It is not something that counts as a camera revolution, but it’s definitely an improvement that we appreciate seeing.
So yes, next time when you take a picture with your Pixel don’t hesitate about using the digital zoom at any level: you will capture the shot you want and chances are that it will look quite good.