Pixel 4's Astrophotography mode has now officially made its way to older Pixel devices via an update to the Google Camera app. While it makes for excellent shots of the night sky under the right conditions, there is no way to trigger it manually. One has to point the camera at the sky and hope for it to initiate automatically. A Google Camera mod now makes it possible to enable the Astrophotography mode manually, and it can make for some interesting photos.
Astrophotography mode works by exposing the camera lens to the light sky for extended periods of time. The technique can also be used to create a 'light painting' effect that creates trails of light. The mode is available in Camera PX, a Google Camera mod for Google Pixel devices. Three senior XDA Developers members worked on the app, which also enables a host of other features on Pixel devices listed below:
- Enable Astro mode for Pixel 1 & 2
- Enable Focus options in Night Sight (along with “infinity” – may be same as far)
- Modded lib for Learned Depth in Portrait Mode (Pixel 2)
- Enable Super Res Zoom while zoomed or in Night Sight (no zoom required) – this is like Pixel 3 stock
- Enable auto timer (photobooth), it’s in the selfie camera in the Timer options
- Enable synthetic fill flash for Pixel 2 and enable SFF in Camera mode for 3a
We'd still recommend that you use a tripod while attempting to capture light trails, though. Long exposure shots are meaningless without a steady lens and you'll end up with less than ideal results even of the camera shakes a little bit. You can download it using this link. Once you've downloaded the app, follow the steps detailed in the images below to get started.
Camera PX thus lets users to manually enter or force Astrophotography mode on Pixel devices via a button. Additionally, Light Painting mode gets a dedicated button too. The Camera PX GCam mod is only available for the Pixel devices. It is unclear if it'll make its way to other non-Pixel devices at this point.