Astrophotography with the Pixel 4A

Astrophotography with the Pixel 4A

The Pixel 4A 4G is a phone that you can buy for about 100-200 Euros second hand, and it is an amazing device to take photos of the night sky. Most of the time you point and shoot and do no other edits. Like here’s a photo directly from the phone:

Very challenging with the Moon in the center stage, and yet it did great.

Another one from the terrace:

But when the light is weird it cannot do a great job:

I mean it is a very good photo but here it is after I manually edited the RAW one from the phone:

You can eve see a bit of the Milky Way there.

Another sample. This one it did very well:

But then I went a bit insane and edited (perhaps too much) the RAW file (because yes the Pixel also shoots in RAW):

The amount of stars is INSANE! But I feel like I made it too artificial…

Next one is a sample of a photo with yellow light pollution:

That I tried to fix using the RAW version again:

I know I made it a bit too blueish…but I think it is better than the original one. In that photo you can even see the Andromeda Galaxy:

That’s WOAH! Amazing!

Tonight we went out to take some photos before the Moon would ruin it. Here are some of the photos we took. My favorite of the night:

This is straight out of the phone. Zero editing. I LOVE it. So much that it is now the Wallpaper for my phone. Quite funny…the wallpaper that the phone took :D.

The rest of the photos are a bit edited by me but not so much:

Here are the original ones directly from the oven phone:

I think it is mindblowing to be able to do these photos only with my phone. And this is only the beginning! I have a telescope and a mount for the phone, so I will try to point it at say Andromeda or some nebulas or the core of the Milky Way and photograph through the phone. The main issue is that I have to make my telescope track these objects else they will move too fast even for the “smartness” of this camera. I cannot wait! Fuck yah!

You know I’ve seen many photos of the night sky that are 100 times better than mine. And for one they do not excite me nearly as much, simply because the ones you make are personal. You made them. So you are really enjoying them!

But second, this is about going out, seeing the night sky with your own eyes! Talk to each other, observe, be amazed. Learn more about what objects are out there….what other worlds. That’s the fun part! So I really love that there is almost no effort in taking these photos with the Pixel. I am using the Pixel Camera in Night Mode. Once it detects that it is still enough, it goes into Atrophotography mode and you simply press the shutter button. It takes usually 4 minutes to do these photos.

It’s been a while since I updated the photo gallery on my website, but now I will more often!

You know I tried to edit the above photos, their RAW files, quite a bit tonight but I feel like I should not spend too much time on that. Because it may take the fun away. In any case, if anyone is interested I am using Raw Therapee and Darktable for editing. Both trade-free.

I also took Sasha’s Sony a6600 camera to see how it compares with the phone. For sure it can take a lot better photos since the sensor is a lot bigger. But it is not that comfortable to take it with you and set it all up. I kinda fucked most of the photos I took but this one is good:

Unedited. I tried to tweak the RAW file but the above one is already good. We can even see Andromeda with a bit of color :).

I will try to do more photos with that camera too, but am telling you nothing compares with the comfort of the phone for this. However the sony camera may take such better photos if I eventually will get used to using it, that I may put up with the discomfort of it.

Next I will try some longer timelapses. The Pixel already creates some that are just 1 second long but I will find a way around it. Till then, here are some that I made:

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