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New camera mod adds a manual astrophotography switch on Google Pixel phones

Google’s default camera app’s latest trick, the astrophotography mode is capable of producing the kind of night-time shots that otherwise would have demanded high-end camera gear. However, there is a catch that Pixel owners have quickly discovered.

The astrophotography mode doesn’t have a manual switch and it only activates when the app’s algorithms sense ideal conditions. The restriction ends up practically making the feature useless especially for users who live in cities where there’s a lot of pollution. Despite largely relying on a higher shutter speed, the astrophotography mode also can’t be employed to capture other long-exposure pictures such as light trails.

Fortunately, the wild world of Android has yet again come to the rescue. A few folks from XDA Developers have managed to devise an external mod which adds a dedicated button for enabling astrophotography mode on a customized Google Camera app. On top of that, you’ll find another floating option called Light Painting in the Night Sight tab. This re-engineers the astrophotography mode and optimizes it for taking light trails shots.

All you have to do is head over to the download page and install the APK file. Once that’s done, you will have a new app titled Camera PK on your Google Pixel. It functions exactly like Google’s official Camera app but supercharges it with a handful of additional, handy features.

On the first launch, you’d be hard-pressed to tell Camera PX apart from Google Camera. You will have to manually enable the add-ons you want from the settings. To enter the settings, hold down the camera switch shortcut beside the shutter button. To turn on the astrophotography light painting options, head into PX Mod Settings and scroll down till you reach the Astrophotography Settings.

Do note that since Camera PX doesn’t offer manual shutter speed sliders, you will still need a tripod to hold the phone for at least a minute or two. Hopefully, those are next on Camera PX developers’ list.

Apart from that, Camera PX brings a range of missing features you should look into. You can get Pixel 4’s 16 zoom mode on Pixel models, edit the default the app should launch into, record time lapses in 4K, adjust the how long the astrophotography mode should take, and more.


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