However, a developer named “cstark27” over at XDA Developers has figured out a way to bump up that artificial zoom all the way to 50X. Granted, the images you get from that much zoom will be very bad, but XDA’s own Mishaal Rahman took shots with 16X zoom and they look pretty good.
Check out an example of the 16X zoom in the images below:
It’s likely Google limited the official Google Camera app on the Pixel 4 to just 8X zoom because the resulting pictures still look crisp at that level. If you’re OK with losing out on quality though, there’s plenty of room for more zoom with the app cstark27 modified.
Regarding that Google Camera app, there’s both good news and bad news. The good news is that anyone with any Pixel device — including older Pixels — can install and use the app. The bad news is that, in order to bump up to that 16X zoom (or 50X zoom, if you’re feeling bold), you’ll need a rooted device.
XDA goes over the steps you need to take to use the enhanced zoom capabilities of the modified app. It’s very likely that at some point in the future the extra zoom features will be accessible by those who have unrooted Pixel devices, but for now, you’ll need root access.