That Pixel 4 20x zoom photo isn't from the Pixel 4, but is still impressive

The photo that got the internet buzzing was taken with a Pixel 3A, but there is still reason to be hyped for the Pixel 4.

Eli Blumenthal Senior Editor
Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
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Eli Blumenthal
2 min read

The Pixel 4, shown here, will have dual rear cameras. Whether it will support 20x zoom remains to be seen. 


The internet got excited Monday when Claude Zellweger, a former HTC exec who is now a director of design at  Google , shared a photo on Instagram with a 20x zoom. While vague, some speculated that the shot was a tease of the forthcoming Pixel 4, prompting Zellweger to hop back on the social network to clarify. 

"Just to be clear: This shot was taken with a Pixel 3A ," he wrote in the comments of the photo, referring to Google's cheaper Pixel phone that was released earlier this year. "Zooming + cropping did the trick. I love this phone! #pixel3a," he added.

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Light + Shadow #googleIDstudio

A post shared by Claude Zellweger (@claudezellweger) on

With Google having already announced that the Pixel 4 would have dual rear cameras and a Project Soli-based radar on the front, it was easy to think that the post was yet another reveal from the company ahead of its expected October announcement. Having the reveal be camera-related would also make sense as the Pixel line has long been praised for its excellent camera quality. 

While it's a bit of a letdown that this photo isn't from the Pixel 4, it's still pretty impressive that cropping and zooming on the $400 Pixel 3A can produce such a shot. 

To be clear, we don't know if everything in the shot was taken using just the Pixel and cropped or if an additional lens, like an Olloclip, was attached to give the phone a boost. The digital zoom on the Pixel line currently maxes out at 10x.

Either way, the cropped shot is still impressive. And if Google can do this with the Pixel 3A, it'll be really interesting to see what the company will be able to do with a more powerful 2019 processor and a second lens on the Pixel 4.

Watch this: Pixel 3A vs. Moto G7: Which one should you buy?

Photos from the Pixel 3A's camera

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