One of the cornerstone mechanics of smartphone cameras is tapping the screen to expose the image automatically. On the Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro, that tap exposure feature is seemingly broken at its default focal length due to an interesting bug.
The Pixel 8 and 8 Pro are highly regarded as bringing some of the best mobile cameras to the table in 2023 and even going into 2024. This is heavily due to how Google processes images after the capture button is tapped. As for the UI, it’s also very simple and easy to use, almost completely automated.
One Pixel 8 camera feature, however, seems to be suffering from a small bug. Spotted by one Reddit user, the Pixel 8 does not allow you to re-expose the image after tapping anywhere on the viewfinder at 1x zoom. At 1x zoom, you’re essentially using the main 50MP camera at its natural focal length. Generally speaking, that also means most images taken on the Pixel 8 camera will be from 1x zoom, as it looks the most natural.
What’s strange about this bug is that zooming out to 0.9x zoom allows you to expose the image with a single tap. On the opposite end, zooming in to at least 1.1x zoom brings the basic feature back into play. You can test this by taking the Pixel 8 camera and pointing it at a bright light. Tapping the light is supposed to step the exposure down, which will show you more detail in the light bulb or fixture. However, at 1x zoom, absolutely nothing happens.
The bug happens on both the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro camera, as confirmed on our end (version 22.214.171.1240672654.18). We’re not sure if this is intentional or not, but on the user-facing end, it appears completely broken. It also doesn’t look like the camera is capturing any further detail at 1x on the backend. Editing the photo in post doesn’t bring out any extra shadow or highlight details, as a RAW image would.
It’s worth noting that there is a way to get the Pixel 8 camera to incorporate automatic exposure on tap. If you zoom in a little bit, tap a couple of times to activate auto exposure, and zoom back out to 1x, it seems to fix it. At least for the time being.
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