New Google Pixel 4 leak brings sad news for ultra-wide angle camera lovers
The Pixel 3 phones were launched seven months ago, and we’re edging closer to the release of their successors. Leaks of the Pixel 4 phones have trickled down slowly over the past few months, and Google actually teased the devices officially a few weeks ago. In that teaser, the Pixel 4 was depicted with three rear sensors: two cameras and what could likely be a ToF sensor.
Of the two main sensors, the jury has been out on what the secondary sensor would be. There was the option of a telephoto lens, ultra-wide angle lens, or a monochrome sensor. New information points towards the first of the lot, though.
According to XDA-Developers, code on Google’s new update for the Google Camera—v6.3, to be precise—has the line _SABRE_UNZOOMED_TELEPHOTO. This is an obvious reference to the presence of a telephoto camera. Also supporting that idea is the fact that, on the list of sensor IDs, there’s mention of a “rear regular” sensor and a “rear telephoto” sensor. That’s two of the rear shooters accounted for, then.
The secondary wide-angle selfie shooter from the Pixel 3 phones will likely also make an appearance on the Pixel 4. There’s also mention of an IR sensor, perhaps for face unlock?
The debate over the real-life utility of a telephoto and ultra-wide angle lens has always been a heated one. We’re willing to admit that both are just as useful, and preference should very well be a matter of individual use-cases.
On one hand, Google’s Super-Res Zoom manages to outdo some telephoto lenses, which says much about how good the company’s computational photography is. Some would cite that as a reason for the presence of a telephoto lens, showing that Google has noted the importance of zoom. On the flip side, Google already implemented a wide-angle lens on the Pixel 3 and 3 XL, so the benefits of that photographic perspective are not lost to the company.
In any case, getting a secondary lens is always welcome, no matter which kind it turns out to be. Considering the existence of Super-Res Zoom, an ultra-wide angle lens may have been more useful, though. But then again, ultra-wide angle lenses don’t count in DxOMark’s evaluation, and the website’s camera scores are starting to have more impact than ever on public opinion of individual smartphone camera quality.