Why Pro Photographers Say You Should Be Excited About the New Pixel 7 Pro

Wider images and better nighttime shots

  • The new Google Pixel 7 Pro is narrowing the gap between smartphones and dedicated DSLR cameras. 
  • The Pro offers features for improved zoom, night-time shots, and closeups.
  • Some professional photographers say they still prefer DSLR cameras over smartphones.
Person using a smartphone to take picture pictures of the port of Corricella, Procida Island, Italy.

Lathrin Ziegler / Getty Images

It might be time to think about ditching your DSLR camera if you haven't already. 

Google's new Pixel 7 Pro phone boasts many improvements to its camera system. It's got a telephoto zoom for magnifying distant subjects, Tensor G2-powered AI processing, faster Night Sight for low-light scenes, and a new macro ability for closeup photos. Experts say that the 7 Pro is an example of the growing power of smartphone cameras. 

"The recent Pixel 7 Pro is closing in on DSLRs, and the gap is getting smaller regarding image quality," professional photographer Ginger Liu told Lifewire in an email interview. "Naturally, DSLRs serve the pro who wants more control with output, but the ease of using a smartphone (size) is something else and serves the pro and amateur."

Better Pics in Your Hand

Google claims that when you take a photo at 2x zoom, the Pixel 7 Pro can use the camera's 50MP sensor to deliver a 12.5MP full-resolution picture comparable to dedicated 2x cameras.

The company says the picture on the Pixel 7 Pro is significantly wider than previous models and has autofocus. Adding autofocus makes photos sharper, and its ability to focus at just 3 centimeters enables the new Macro Focus for close-up images.

New software algorithms on Pixel 7 Pro allow its new 48MP telephoto camera with 5x zoom to give you better photos from 2.5x and higher. First, the phone fuses the telephoto with the primary camera to enhance detail before switching entirely to the telephoto. At 10x, it uses the camera's 48MP sensor to deliver a 12MP full-resolution photo.

The 7 Pro's ultra-wide camera also allows it to capture immense landscape images, William Pickering, an executive at The Big Phone Store, told Lifewire via email. He said the photos are consistently high-definition with an impressive color balance due to the phone's 12-megapixel zoom. 

"In terms of user experience, photographers are able to easily switch between a wide range of telephoto lenses, making the phone a useful tool in landscape shoots," he added. "The addition of a telephoto zoom to this version of the phone's camera results in distant objects being better magnified when these lenses are in use." 

I believe the future of smartphone photography lies in computational photography.

DSLRs Fire Back

Not everyone agrees that smartphone cameras have the upper hand on DSLRs. Camera manufacturer Canon's senior manager of product planning Drew MacCallum told Lifewire via email that he can't deny the convenience of a mobile phone and the ease of having one device in your pocket. 

"That said, using an interchangeable lens camera (ILC) is a beneficial tool for the photographer/creator looking for more control over their image creation," he added. 

Beyond being able to manually control the ISO, shutter, and aperture, the main benefit of having an ILC is simply the ability to interchange lenses to fit the need of the content, MacCallum. Also, with an ILC, you can switch between wide-angle, telephoto, macro, and super telephoto lenses without the sacrifice of loss of resolution that you would see in most mobile devices.

Professional travel photographer Kevin Mercier contended in an email interview that smartphones haven't yet gotten as good as DSLR cameras for many uses. A smartphone will not give you a 200mm telephoto lens range, but what it lacks in range, it makes up for in spontaneity, he said. 

A photo of a tree taken at night with the Google Pixle Pro 7.


"As a general rule, it is important to remember that smartphones do not give higher-quality images than DSLR cameras," Mercier added. "If you want to take great photos for your blog or social media, a smartphone would be your best bet, but if you're a serious photographer, go for a DSLR camera."

But Mercier conceded that smartphone camera technology is advancing quickly and closing the quality gap with standalone cameras. He pointed out that many smartphone cameras have new features like dual lens cameras allowing for wider shots and sharper optical zoom. HDR ( High Dynamic Range) mode on the latest smartphone cameras lets you capture quality photos with several tweaks for improvement. 

"I believe the future of smartphone photography lies in computational photography," Mercier said. "This involves using digital technologies such as artificial intelligence to enhance the quality of the images. Computation techniques have given us modern-day features like HDR, night mode, panorama, and color-toning."

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