Google Pixel 4: Astrophotography Mode Review

The Pixel 4 and 4 XL are the first smartphones with a full-fledged and fully automatic “Astrophotography Mode.” In this short video review, Ian talks about his experience shooting astrophotos with the Google Pixel 4 in the dark skies of the California deserts.

We recently made a trip to Joshua Tree National Park and Mojave National Preserve in California. While the primary goal of the trip was to photograph the night sky with a new lens for our Sony cameras, we also had the opportunity to try out the new Google Pixel Astrophotography Mode on the Pixel 4 XL smartphone.

Of course, we wanted to see how shooting on the Pixel 4 compared to using a “real” camera, so we shot a few side-by-side comparisons between it and a Sony a7S. Check out a full review of our experience shooting with the Pixel 4 in the short video below:

Google Pixel 4 Astrophotography Mode Takeaways:

  • Fully automatic shooting makes astrophotography easy
  • Limited exposure controls
  • Limited focus controls
  • Sometimes focus struggles to achieve properly sharp results
  • Best results take a full 4 minutes to expose and process
  • Noise levels can be similar to a DSLR or mirrorless camera
  • Details in output jpegs are sometimes over-smoothed looking
  • Requires a tripod and smartphone clamp

Equipment Links

This is all of the equipment that we used for this review. These links allow Lonely Speck to earn fees by linking to and


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Learn Astrophotography

Astrophotography 101 is completely free for everyone. All of the lessons are available on the Lonely Speck Astrophotography 101 page for you to access at any time. Enter your email and whenever we post a new lesson you’ll receive it in your inbox. Updates will be sent out only periodically, usually less than once per week.


Help us help you!

Believe it or not, Lonely Speck, along with North to South make up our full-time jobs. It’s been an amazing experience for us to see a community develop around travel and learning astrophotography and we’re so happy to be a small part of it. I have learned that amazing things happen when you ask for help so remember that we are always here for you. If you have any questions about travel or photography or just want to share a story, contact us! If you find the articles here helpful, consider helping us out with a donation.

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Thanks so much for being a part of our astrophotography and travel adventures.

-Ian and Diana

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