Google is bringing the Pixel 4's improved Night Sight to the Pixel 3 and 3a

Astrophotography (Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • Pixel 4 uses both specific hardware and software to get long exposures for the astrophotography feature.
  • Pixel 3 and 3a series devices will get a version of the new astrophotography in a software update.
  • Nighttime sky shots won't be exactly the same as Pixel 4 due to some hardware limitations.

It seems Google believes that taking great photos of a clear starry sky shouldn't be limited to only Pixel 4 users. In a blog post, Google noted that the Pixel 3 and 3a series phones would be getting a version of the new astrophotography feature in a camera software update.

With the update to Google Camera version 7.1, in addition to the new astrophotography feature, there are some other additions to the camera as well. The update will bring things like a slight UI change, a social media quick share from the viewfinder, and more to the Pixel 3 and 3a phones.

While it's great that Google can bring these new features to previous generation phones with only a software update, it's worth noting that you shouldn't expect identical photos from the Pixel 4 and Pixel 3. Some of the magic that Google does to get these fantastic night sky shots requires specific hardware to achieve. It's encouraging that Google is confident that even with the hardware limitations versus the Pixel 4, that the Pixel 3 and 3a phones will still be able to get some beautiful shots of the Milky Way.

Chris Wedel
Smart Home Writer
Chris Wedel is a fan of all things tech and gadgets. Living in rural Kansas with his wife and two young boys makes finding ways to get and stay online tricky. By utilizing his years of experience with the tech and mobile communications industries — success is assured. When not conquering connectivity challenges and testing new gadgets, he enjoys cruising a gravel road in his UTV with some good tunes.