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Google Pixel 4 camera could have double the zoom power (Update: False alarm)

We thought a teaser photo shared by a Googler was from a Google Pixel 4. However, we now know this isn't the case.

Published onAugust 12, 2019

Google Pixel 4 XL Standing Render

Update, August 12, 2019 (12:57 PM ET): Unfortunately, it appears the photograph below was definitively shot using a Google Pixel 3a, not a Google Pixel 4 as originally thought. The Googler who posted the image originally has now posted a comment saying that the photo’s zoom was attained by zooming and cropping. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

Original article, August 12, 2019 (11:40 AM ET): Over the weekend, Claude Zellweger, Google’s director of design, shared a photo on his personal Instagram account (as spotted by 9to5Google) You can see the photo embedded below; however. it looks fairly uninteresting if you don’t know more about it.

According to Zellweger, the photo was allegedly shot using a Pixel smartphone. This could be any Pixel phone, granted, but in a later comment, he refers to the “20x zoom” used to capture the shot. No existing Pixel smartphone is capable of 20x zoom, which leads us to believe this photo was captured on a Google Pixel 4 and that camera could have a 20x zoom.

See the shot for yourself below:

View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Claude Zellweger (@claudezellweger) on

Considering the shot above is fairly clear, the alleged 20x zoom is quite impressive. There are multiple smartphones available already with high optical and digital zoom capabilities, most notably the HUAWEI P30 Pro which has a 5x optical zoom. It’s therefore possible that the Google Pixel 4 could have a 5x optical zoom to match and then use AI smarts to digitally perform the rest. It’s also possible the zoom will only be based on digital abilities.

If any company can best utilize digital zoom algorithms, it’s Google. The Pixel line is frequently heralded as having one of the best smartphone cameras you can buy and that success is mostly based on computational photography features.

The Google Pixel 4 is likely to launch in October.

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