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We asked, you told us: You want a manual or pro mode on Pixel phones

Over 80% of respondents said they do indeed want a manual mode on their Pixel.

Published onFebruary 23, 2022

Google Pixel 5 camera against ocean 1

Google‘s Pixel phones have long had a reputation for taking great photos, arguably popularizing the use of multi-frame algorithms to take better shots. The company has since offered features like Night Sight, astrophotography, and Super Res Zoom, making for quite a suite of options.

One major missing feature is a pro or manual mode, and we thought this is a long-overdue addition for Pixel phones. But what do you think, though?

Do you want a pro/manual camera mode on your Pixel?


We posted the poll inside our opinion article last week, accruing just over 940 votes as of writing. It turns out that almost 82% of polled readers think Google should bring a manual or pro mode to its Pixel phones, making it a landslide victory.

This isn’t much of a surprise, as manual mode has been a fixture on other smartphones since the early to mid-2010s. Everyone from Samsung and LG to Nokia and Xiaomi offers the option on their phones. It gives users complete control over the final image with controls for ISO, shutter speed, exposure, and more.

On the other hand, just over 18% of respondents say they don’t want a manual or pro mode on their Pixel devices. The comments supporting this stance suggest that phone cameras are better suited for quick auto shooting.

Then again, there are situations where manual mode might be preferable. These are often scenarios where getting a quick shot isn’t important, such as landscapes, sunrise/sunset, or cityscapes at night.


  • Massimiliano: Lack of manual control has always been the only thing that I miss when evaluating switching to a Google pixel. And the newly introduced long exposure mode is definitely not the best. Even my old huawei p20 pro was better at it. In terms of final results and control over it since the huawei camera app allows you to decide the long exposure duration. And it even has real time preview! Pixel instead just stops acquiring when it feels it had enough
  • Lcd1701: Seriously, if you want that much of a “professional” shot, just invest in a DSLR camera. Regardless of the way even Apple regards their 13 as something to shoot “motion picture” level video, it’s just not. At the end of the day it’s still a smartphone camera, not a dedicated camera rig.
  • Sascha Thier: What I miss the most is the ability to adjust white balance. I take a lot of pics under LED and HPS grow lamps and the pixel cam does not know how to get them right.
  • Thoroughmas: Filmic Pro keeps getting crippled on Pixel phones, so I would absolutely love some manual video settings in Google’s camera app. More frame rates, ISO, maybe a LOG or flat profile? Yes please. Anyone who says phones can’t do professional video or photography is really behind the times, IMO. The hardware is pretty good, they just need the software to match.
  • moabman: Have used Nikon DSLRs for years (prior to that F5s and F100s) and never shot any of them in auto mode. Always manual. And yes, phones need that option too.
  • Frettfreak: I think I am the only one not impressed with my pixel camera. It’s not bad and I could live with it but to me the photos are lifeless. Maybe more true to life than Samsung but I like the punch of Samsung photos (and the iPhone for the year I had one). Pixel camera blurs too much on some shots and the camera experience is just lacking a bit imo. But everyone has their own opinion. I would love a manual mode though. Love tweaking settings to see what I can get.
  • Anthorama: As a casual user that really likes to take pictures, I do not feel the need for a “pro” version of the Google Camera. The pixels shots are so good that I wouldn’t see the point.
  • William Ross: The whole purpose of getting a decent camera on a smartphone is to be able to take quick and simple photos without having to do a whole lot of fiddling with manual controls. I do not want a cell phone with manual controls on my camera app. It’s just overkill. The cell phone has a ton of stuff on it already. That’s too much for any normal user to be concerned with.