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Google improves the Pixel 4 camera with Live HDR and more

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Hello, astrophotography mode

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Google showed off some new camera features on the Pixel 4 today at its annual hardware event, focusing on improvements to its Live HDR and Night Sight mode. The back of the Pixel 4 houses dual cameras in a new subtle square camera bump. There’s a 12.2MP main camera and a 16MP telephoto lens, which is a hybrid of optical and digital zoom.

New Pixel 4 features include Live HDR+, with dual exposure controls in the viewfinder, which shows how photos will look in real time. There are HDR sliders to adjust brightness and shadows when you compose. A learning-based white balance feature is applied to all photo modes, so shots come out with true-to-life colors.

Google spent quite some time explaining how computational photography works in the Pixel 4 — there’s an impressive improvement to Night Sight, which can be used with long exposure, and it combines multiple photos to capture shots of all the stars in the sky with astrophotography mode.

There’s also an improved portrait mode, which computes depth from dual pixels and dual cameras, and it can be used on more subjects like bigger objects from a distance, and furry friends like pets. And for subjects that are really far away, Super Res Zoom uses the 2x telephoto lens to let you zoom in close, without losing photo quality.

The Pixel 4 also touts features like the fastest face unlock on a phone because of Project Soli, Google’s radar motion-sensing system. Motion Sense prepares the system when you pick up the phone, and it can also recognize swipe gestures over the phone that can dismiss calls, skip songs, or wave at Pikachu.

The Pixel 4 starts at $799, and preorders are available starting today through every major US carrier.

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