On viewing the first test images of the new high-end smartphone from Google, one thing seems to be obvious: the digital zoom is equal to or superior to entry or even mid-range bridges. Effectively killing a new photo category.
After travel compacts, are smartphones preparing to bury entry-level or even mid-range bridge cameras? Looking at the first two sets of shots that illustrate the zoom power of the new Pixel 7 Pro, freshly announced by Google, the answer seems clear: death is announced.
Google has published two series of classic images in the evaluation of the zoom power of a photographic system: one starts from the most ultra wide-angle position, and then triggers at each zoom level. Several photos are available, but two series, one in Manhattan, the other in San Francisco, are interesting. For one the Freedom Tower, for the other the Golden Gate Bridge.
Two zoom power tests for an observation: the level of detail is good, comparable to or even superior to bridges below 400-500 euros. If there are not many references left on the market, it is because below a certain price, they suffer from mediocre image quality coupled with a size greater than that of a compact. But this type of device was still of interest for small budgets who have a real need for magnification power, whether for architectural details, or for occasional nature/wildlife photography.
Impressive for the general public, the shots of the Pixel 7 Pro are, depending on the zoom level, from good to technically correct. A sharp eye will notice the lack of sharpness, the fact that everything seems on the same plane, the faded colors. This look, technically correct, must however be balanced by the reality of use: for the very general public (and even for grumpy photographers), the photos are sufficient. And technologically astonishing when you realize that Google has replaced a large optical block with moving lenses here with a fixed focal length mini-telephoto lens, assisted by the power of its Tensor G2 chip and advanced digital zoom algorithms.
Read also : Pixel 7 Pro: for the photo, Google is making big efforts… enough to keep its promises?
After terminals like the Mate 40 Pro or the Samsung Galaxy S21/S22 Ultra have definitively proven that travel compacts have (almost) no longer any interest, today it is the small bridges that are dying. Leaving no more room than the jewels of the category. Such as the Sony RX10 Mark IV, a box around 1,700 euros which benefits from a 1-inch sensor, a 24-600 mm f/2.8-4 zoom and subject tracking at 20 fps for stay in the race.
It will be appropriate to test this smartphone ourselves, or even perhaps to devote a proper photo review to it, as we do for the iPhone and some exceptional terminals in the field. But looking at Google’s images, we struggle to see how its engineers and marketing team would have cheated. These images do seem to come out of a smartphone… Who is going to have the death of a category of cameras on their conscience!
Google Official “Super Res Zoom on Pixel 7 Pro” Gallery
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