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Google Camera update suggests Pixel 6 XL could have a 5X 'ultra-tele' camera

It looks like we've got more evidence that Google is going with a periscope camera for the Pixel 6 XL.

Published onJuly 15, 2021

  • The latest version of the Google Camera app contains references to an “ultratele” camera and “5X” zoom.
  • This strongly hints at the Pixel 6 XL indeed having a periscope camera, in line with previously leaked renders.

The Google Pixel 6 XL is shaping up to be a photography upgrade for the Mountain View company, at least if leaks and rumors are anything to go on. Leaked renders show a triple rear camera that includes a periscope-style shooter, and it now looks like we’ve got more evidence for this addition.

XDA-Developers and Google Camera modder cstark27 discovered several references to “ultratele” zoom options and “5X” zoom within the latest Google Camera app update (version 8.3.252). Furthermore, the developer also uncovered evidence that the real native zoom factor might actually be 4.3X.

There were no references specifically tying the new ultra-tele or 5X zoom capabilities to the Pixel 6 XL, but it stands to reason that this is the case given the presence of what looks like a periscope camera in leaked renders.

If this latest info and previous renders are correct, it means the Pixel 6 XL would be the first Pixel phone with a triple rear camera system. The Pixels adopted a single rear camera system until the Pixel 4 series, which opted for a dual-camera setup (main and telephoto). Last year’s Pixel 5 maintained a dual-camera system but switched out the telephoto lens for an ultra-wide shooter.

A periscope camera would also open the door for better hybrid zoom on Pixel phones. Google uses Super Res Zoom technology to enable better zoom images, and the Pixel 4 combined this with a 2X telephoto sensor to deliver Super Res Zoom all the way to 8X. So it stands to reason that we could see decent 10X zoom and higher when combining a periscope camera with Google’s hybrid zoom tech.