Google Pixel 5’s wimpy camera is driving me to the iPhone 12

I’ve used Google Pixels and Apple iPhones for my daily smartphone photography needs for years. I’ve mostly relied on Pixels because of Google’s pioneering computational photography software, which wrings superior image quality out of limited hardware. My current iPhone, an XS Max, has been relegated to occasions when I’ve needed a telephoto lens.



a close up of a cell phone: Google's Pixel 5 smartphone has ultrawide and wide-angle cameras, but no telephoto for more distant subjects. Stephen Shankland/CNET


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Google’s Pixel 5 smartphone has ultrawide and wide-angle cameras, but no telephoto for more distant subjects. Stephen Shankland/CNET

But two recent smartphone launches — of¬†Google’s Pixel 5 and Apple’s iPhone 12 lines — have changed my mind. The midrange camera hardware on the Pixel 5, and the high-end array of cameras on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, along with the gadget’s large image sensor and new software options, are pushing me to the Apple camp.

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It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I’ve been impressed by Google’s ability to

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