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Google has updated the camera modules on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro but as usual, the Pixel 8 Pro camera is superior. Here’s why… 



Key Takeaways: Which is Best and Why?

The Pixel 8 Pro stands out as the more advanced option. It’s ideal for:

  • Professional photographers and content creators.
  • Those who require high-end camera features like enhanced ultrawide and telephoto lenses.
  • Users seeking manual control over their photography.

The Pixel 8, however, is perfectly suited for:

  • Everyday users looking for quality without complexity.
  • Casual photographers who appreciate features like Macro Focus for close-up photography.

Who Are They Suitable For?

  • Pixel 8: Best for casual photographers and those who want a simple, quality camera experience. The Macro Focus will appeal to those interested in detailed close-up shots. It’s also quite a bit cheaper too.
  • Pixel 8 Pro: Ideal for professionals and tech enthusiasts who demand top-tier camera capabilities. Its Pro Controls and enhanced video features make it a leading choice for serious content creation.

Both the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are excellent options in 2023. If you need more information about their specs and how they’re different, check out our detailed guide on why the Pixel 8 series is worth buying in 2023.


Google’s Pixel phones have always had one, major USP (aside from timely, bloatware-free Android updates): the camera tech. Google has invested billions over the years in machine learning and R&D.

Initially, the sole goal with the Pixel camera was to do more with less. 

And it worked too. The first Pixel phones ran inferior camera hardware compared to most of their competitors, but the results were, in most cases, markedly better with clearer details, more natural contrast, and excellent color balance. 

With the Pixel 8 and the Pixel 8 Pro, however, things have changed yet again. There’s heavily updated hardware, new machine learning abilities, a myriad of new features, and plenty of extra performance. 

But how are the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro’s camera different? Let’s find out by comparing and contrasting the camera hardware used on both… 

Pixel 8 vs Pixel 8 Pro Camera Comparison

FeaturePixel 8Pixel 8 Pro
Main Camera50MP50MP
Light Sensitivity21% increase from Pixel 721% increase from Pixel 7
Ultrawide CameraEnhanced with autofocus; Features Macro Focus48MP with 105% increased light gathering
Telephoto LensNot specified48MP with improved zoom quality
Selfie CameraStandard autofocusUpdated with autofocus
Dual Exposure for VideosAvailableAvailable
Video Boost with Night SightNot specifiedAvailable
Pro ControlsNot specifiedAvailable; Manual adjustments to focus, shutter speed, and ISO with active HDR+ computational photography
Guided FrameAvailable on both front and rear camerasAvailable on both front and rear cameras
Advanced Editing Features“Best Take”, “Magic Editor”, and upcoming “Zoom Enhance”“Best Take”, “Magic Editor”, “Audio Magic Eraser”, and upcoming “Zoom Enhance”

Camera Upgrades

pixel 8 and pixel 8 pro buyers guidePin

Both the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro have seen a significant overhaul in their camera hardware. They now sport a 50MP main camera, marking a 21% leap in light sensitivity from the Pixel 7 series.

This means clearer, brighter photos, even in challenging lighting conditions.

While the Pixel 8 introduces an improved ultrawide camera with autofocus, it’s the first non-Pro model to feature Macro Focus. This allows for incredibly detailed close-up shots, previously exclusive to the Pro series.

On the other hand, the Pixel 8 Pro pulls no punches, and it takes things several steps farther.

Every camera, including the selfie one, has been updated. Its 48MP ultrawide lens boasts a staggering 105% increase in light gathering. Additionally, its 48MP telephoto lens ensures that zoomed-in shots remain crisp and clear.

Dual Exposure

One standout feature is the Dual Exposure on the main camera, and this is a feature that both phones have – it is not a Pro exclusive.

By capturing two images simultaneously – one optimized for low light and the other for high dynamic range – videos come out with richer colors and reduced noise. Think of filming a sunset; with Dual Exposure, the sun won’t be overexposed, and the landscape won’t be shrouded in darkness.

Real Tone

Google’s commitment to diversity is evident in its Real Tone feature. By focusing on accurately representing a broad spectrum of skin tones, especially darker ones, photos and videos now reflect real-world diversity.

This means no more washed-out flash photos for those with darker skin.

To be frank, this is something that I cannot believe hasn’t been addressed before. 

The fact that Google has gone away and thought about this, found a solution, and then actually baked it into the Pixel 8 series camera module shows just how much care and attention goes into its Pixel camera R&D. 

This not only makes Pixel phones more representative, but it also helps the finished result – your pictures – reflect a closer representation of reality. 

And that’s the entire point of photography, right? To capture moments as close to reality as possible. 

Pixel 8 Pro’s Video Boost with Night Sight

The Pixel 8 Pro’s Video Boost feature is a pretty big new feature for Google’s Pixel series, especially since most content creators these days tend to favor Apple’s iPhone Pro Max models.

During the past few years, Apple has successfully courted content creators with its Pro and Pro Max models. It sells plenty of its ultra-expensive 1TB models too. And the reason? Apple’s iPhone Pro and Pro Max models are excellent at shooting video.

Given all of the above, it was only a matter of time before Google fought back. And that’s exactly what it is doing with Video Boost.

But to truly appreciate Video Boost’s significance, it’s essential to understand the magic behind HDR, or High Dynamic Range.

  • How HDR Works: At its core, HDR is a technique that allows you to capture a broader range of brightness and color in an image or video. Traditional recordings might lose details in extremely bright or dark areas. HDR combats this by taking multiple shots at different exposures and then combining them. The result is an image or video that retains detail in both the brightest and darkest parts, offering a more vibrant and lifelike representation of the scene.
  • Why HDR+ in Video is a Game-Changer: While HDR has been a staple in photography for a while, its application in video content, especially on mobile devices, has been more limited. The Pixel 8 Pro’s ability to apply HDR+ algorithms to videos means it’s not just merging different exposures, but it’s also using advanced computational methods to enhance each frame.

Here’s a real-life example of how Video Boost could work:

You’re at a concert, and you want to capture the magic. With traditional video recording, the bright stage lights might wash out the performers, or the audience in the dimmer areas might be barely visible. With the Pixel 8 Pro’s Video Boost, both the dazzling stage and the enthusiastic crowd in the shadows are captured with clarity and detail. The vibrant colors of the stage costumes, the expressions of the audience, and even the subtle play of light and shadow are all rendered with breathtaking accuracy.

What makes this even more impressive is the technology driving it. The Tensor G3 chip, combined with Google’s vast data centers, ensures that the HDR+ processing for videos is both rapid and efficient. This synergy means that even in challenging lighting conditions, like during a sunset or in a dimly lit room, your videos won’t just be visible, they’ll pop with the precision of a well-lit sound stage.

I reckon this feature is going to make Google a lot of friends in the coming months, especially those who create content for a living.

Pro Controls: For Professional-Grade Framing and Capture

Pixel 8 vs Pixel 8 Pro Camera: What You Need To KnowPin

Pixel 8 Pro users can now fine-tune their camera settings with Pro Controls. Whether it’s adjusting focus, shutter speed, or ISO, users have the reins. And the best part? HDR+ computational photography remains active, ensuring top-notch photo quality.

Why does this matter? Simple:

Imagine you’re painting a picture. Adjusting the focus is like deciding which part of your painting will be detailed and which parts will be softer. Shutter speed is like choosing whether you want to paint a bird frozen in the sky or show the blur of its wings as it flies. ISO is like deciding how much paint to put on your brush; more paint can brighten up a darker scene, but too much can make it look messy.

These are the tools that professional photographers use on their DSLR cameras to create photos that look, well… professional. Sure, with a phone like the Pixel 8 Pro you can point and shoot and get good results. But having access to things like focus adjust, shutter speed, and ISO settings means you can really dial-in your shots.

Guided Frame

Guided Frame launched on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, so it isn’t technically a new feature. But it is a feature that is often overlooked given how useful it is in certain settings. 

Developed during a Google Hackathon event in 2021, Guided Frame is specifically designed for visually impaired users. Most people will never use the feature, but for those of us that visually impaired it is a truly amazing tool. 

Here’s a breakdown of how it works: 

  • Aid for Visually Impaired Users: Guided Frame is designed to help those with visual impairments take better photos by providing guidance on framing their shots.
  • Audio Cues & Feedback: When a user points their camera at a subject, the Guided Frame feature provides audio cues to help them align the camera correctly. For instance, it might tell the user to move the camera to the left or right to center the subject.
  • Animations & Tactile Feedback: In addition to audio cues, Guided Frame uses animations and tactile (vibration) feedback to guide users in positioning their camera for optimal shots.
  • Recognizes More Than Faces: While many camera features focus on detecting human faces, Guided Frame goes beyond that. It can recognize and provide guidance for capturing more than just human subjects, making it versatile for various photography scenarios.

Advanced Editing Capabilities

Both models come packed with advanced editing tools. From the Best Take feature for group photos to the Magic Editor for reimagining photos, there’s plenty of ways to rejigg your shots and make them look even better. And with the upcoming Zoom Enhance feature, users can zero in on specific areas of their photos with ease.

For now, though, let’s unpack what you can do with Best Take, Magic Editor and Zoom Enhance and why they’re so useful.

Best Take for Group Photos

  • What is it? The “Best Take” feature is a smart tool that uses Google’s advanced AI to capture multiple shots in quick succession and then selects the best one, ensuring everyone in the group looks their best.
  • Why does it matter? We’ve all been in situations where, after taking a group photo, someone blinked or wasn’t ready. With “Best Take,” the chances of getting that perfect shot where everyone is smiling and looking at the camera increase dramatically. It’s like having a professional photographer’s eye right in your pocket.

Magic Editor

  • What is it? Magic Editor is an AI-driven photo editing tool in Google Photos. It allows users to make complex edits without needing pro-level editing skills. For instance, you can edit specific parts of an image, such as the subject, sky, or background, giving you more control over the final appearance of your photo.
  • Why does it matter? Photo editing can be daunting for many, especially when trying to achieve a specific look or feel. With Magic Editor, even those unfamiliar with editing can produce professional-looking photos. Want to change a gloomy sky to a sunset or adjust the background to make the subject pop? Magic Editor makes it simple and intuitive.

Zoom Enhance

  • What is it? Zoom Enhance is a feature that uses generative AI to enhance the detail of an image when you zoom in after capturing the photo. It’s not just about zooming in; it’s about retaining and even improving the clarity of the image as you zoom.
  • Why does it matter? Imagine you’ve taken a photo of a beautiful landscape, and later you want to zoom in on a specific area, like a distant building or animal. Typically, zooming in would result in a pixelated or blurry image. With Zoom Enhance, you can zoom in and still retain a clear and detailed view. It’s akin to the “zoom and enhance” feature often dramatized in movies, but now it’s becoming a reality in our pockets.

Final Thoughts

Pixel 8 vs Pixel 8 ProPin

As with most things related to camera modules, there’s always a lot of ground to cover and a ton of jargon to munch through. But we’re at the end now, so if you made it this far well done, you! 

Of course, when it comes to overall features, performance, and hardware, the more expensive model is always going to be better. And in this context, the Pixel 8 Pro is no exception. 

The Pixel 8 Pro has a 48MP telephoto lens, Video Boost with Night Sight, and Pro Controls as well as generally much more high-end hardware in its sensor. The base model Pixel 8 lacks all of these things. 

But this doesn’t mean the Pixel 8 is a bad option. In fact, for most users it is going to be the best option based on value for money and overall needs/wants. 

Let’s recap some of the main points, so you can find out which model is best for your exact needs. 

Pixel 8 Camera System Highlights:

  • Ultrawide Camera: The Pixel 8’s ultrawide camera comes with autofocus and introduces Macro Focus, allowing users to capture stunning close-up shots with intricate details.
  • Selfie Camera: Standard autofocus ensures that your selfies are always on point.
  • Advanced Editing Features: Tools like “Best Take”, “Magic Editor”, and the soon-to-be-released “Zoom Enhance” make photo editing a breeze.

Pixel 8 Pro Camera System Highlights:

  • Ultrawide Camera: A 48MP ultrawide lens with a whopping 105% increase in light gathering ensures brighter, clearer photos.
  • Telephoto Lens: The 48MP telephoto lens offers improved zoom quality, ensuring that distant subjects are captured with clarity.
  • Selfie Camera: An updated autofocus system ensures that your selfies are always sharp.
  • Video Boost with Night Sight: This feature, combined with HDR+ computational photography, ensures that videos, even in low light conditions, are vibrant and detailed.
  • Pro Controls: For those who want more control over their photography, the Pixel 8 Pro offers manual adjustments to focus, shutter speed, and ISO.

Which is Best and Why?

The Pixel 8 Pro undoubtedly offers a more comprehensive camera system. With its enhanced ultrawide and telephoto lenses, as well as the addition of Pro Controls and Video Boost with Night Sight, it’s geared towards users who demand the best from their smartphone cameras.

Whether you’re a professional photographer or a content creator, the Pixel 8 Pro provides the tools you need to capture stunning photos and videos.

The Pixel 8, on the other hand, is perfect for everyday users who want a reliable camera that delivers high-quality photos without the need for manual adjustments. The addition of Macro Focus is a significant bonus for those who love close-up photography.

Who Are They Suitable For?

  • Pixel 8: Ideal for casual photographers and everyday users who want a camera that’s easy to use but doesn’t compromise on quality. The Macro Focus feature will particularly appeal to those who love capturing the finer details of life.
  • Pixel 8 Pro: Perfect for professional photographers, content creators, and tech enthusiasts who demand the best from their camera system. The Pro Controls and enhanced video capabilities make it a top choice for those who use their smartphone as a primary content creation tool.

You’ll also want to make sure you invest in a decent case for your Pixel 8 phone too. They’re pretty solid with respect to design but they can still get dinked and scratched pretty easily.

Pixel 8 & Pixel 8 Pro Deals

USA 🇺🇸

Mint Mobile

  • 📱 Get 6 months of free premium wireless service when purchasing select phones + a 6-month plan.
  • 🆕 Featured phones include the NEW Google Pixel 8, Google Pixel 8 Pro, Google Pixel 7a, Google Pixel 7 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S23, and NEW Apple iPhone 15.
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  • ➡️ VIEW ALL PLANS

VISIBLE

  • 🔄 Visible offers trade-in programs and even pays off up to 50% of eligible phones financed with Affirm when you upgrade.
  • 💰 Phones can be purchased through flexible payment plans.
  • ➡️ VIEW ALL PLANS

Amazon 

Amazon has both the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro up for grabs. If you want to buy outright and get it the next day, Amazon’s the place to go.

UK 🇬🇧

Three 

  • ⌚ Pre-order the Google Pixel 8 Pro and claim a complimentary Pixel Watch 2.
  • 🎧 Pre-order the Google Pixel 8 and receive Pixel Buds Pro as a bonus.
  • ➡️ VIEW ALL PLANS

O2 

  • ⌚ Pre-order the Google Pixel 8 Pro and claim a complimentary Pixel Watch 2.
  • 🎧 Pre-order the Google Pixel 8 and receive Pixel Buds Pro as a bonus.
  • ➡️ VIEW ALL PLANS

Vodafone 

  • ⌚ Pre-order the Google Pixel 8 Pro and claim a complimentary Pixel Watch 2.
  • 🎧 Pre-order the Google Pixel 8 and receive Pixel Buds Pro as a bonus.
  • ➡️ VIEW ALL PLANS

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