Pixel 8a lags behind Pixel 8 and Galaxy S24 in PhoneArena Camera Score, but beats mid-range archrival

The Google Pixel 8a is the latest and perhaps one of the best budget phones on the market.

And the name Pixel has also been associated with an excellent camera for years. But if you follow the series, you know that the camera hardware on the Pixel 8a Not much has changed and improvements are happening at a very slow pace. So is the Pixel 8a still the best camera on a $500 phone, or have other companies surpassed it?

The phone just went through our extensive PhoneArena Camera Score testing protocol and here’s what we learned about it.

*Read more about our PhoneArena Camera Score testing protocol here.

With a total score of approximately 133 points, the Pixel 8a is a marginal improvement over the previous generation Pixel 7a.
Compared to rivals at the same price point, it beats the Galaxy A55 5G in terms of camera quality, but according to our measurements it loses to the new competitor in the space, the OnePlus 12R.
And if you are curious how the Pixel 8a Compared to flagships, the gap is even wider when you compare it to the Pixel 8 and the Galaxy S24, so it’s not as good. But what compromises do you face?

Main camera

The Pixel 8a is equipped with a 64 MP main shooter with f/1.9 aperture and a 26mm lens. It uses a 1/1.73″ type sensor, so a lot smaller compared to a typical 1/1.3″ sensor used on premium phones.

With quad pixel binning you get a standard 16 MP photo, which offers a lot of detail.

Interestingly, the OnePlus 12R has the Pixel 8a beat for the quality of the main camera. There are fewer problems with over-sharpening, which contributes to more natural-looking photos.

The Pixel 8a It also lacks a high-resolution mode, so despite having a 64MP sensor on board, there’s no way to take a 64MP photo, while other devices can easily take full-resolution photos.

Zoom quality

As with most phones in the $500 price range, you do NOT get a dedicated telephoto lens on the camera Pixel 8a, so you have to rely on digital zoom. You have a 2X zoom preset in the camera app and the maximum zoom level is 8X.

Zoom quality is still a strong point for the Pixel compared to peers like the OnePlus 12R and Galaxy A55that have more problems with over-sharpening and capturing less detail.

Portrait mode on the Pixel 8a still lacks a good example of the background blur in the viewfinder and you get 1.7X and 2X presets for portraits. The difference between these focal lengths is small and there is absolutely no point in having these preset values. Luckily you can zoom in up to 3x which gives you a more zoomed in portrait, but as it’s all digital zoom the quality is quite poor.

Ultrawide camera

The Pixel 8a comes with a 13MP ultra-wide camera with an f/2.2 aperture, and the focal length barely qualifies as ultra-wide angle at 20mm. This appears to be the exact same camera as last year’s Pixel 7aat least when it comes to hardware, and unsurprisingly the score is almost exactly the same, with only minor variations in lighting and colors.

There are also some corner sharpness issues.

This seems to be a weak spot for the Pixel 8aas the Galaxy A55 5G and OnePlus 12R have fewer of these issues and offer macro shooting support, which the Pixel lacks.

Front camera

Although it slightly underperforms when it comes to the ultra-wide camera, the Pixel 8a does very well with selfies and scores comparable to the more expensive ones Pixel8 and surpass the $500 crowd.

The main advantage over its peers is the greater amount of detail you get in selfie shots.

The selfie camera hardware hasn’t changed much though and it appears to be the same 13MP shooter as on the Pixel 7ain case you were wondering.

Main camera – Video

Video quality captured with the Pixel 8a looks great with lots of details and pleasant colors.

The maximum resolution is 4K and you can choose between 4K30 and 4K60, which is great, but there are some limitations to the 4K60 footage specifically, as once you start recording with the main camera you can’t switch to ultrawide.

Furthermore, the video quality looks good and you have well-performing video stabilization on board.

Zoom Quality – Video

You can zoom in up to 5x on 4K video on the Pixel 8awhich is less than on premium phones.

But honestly, that’s enough for a phone without a dedicated telephoto camera. The Pixel does well for what it is, but details quickly fall apart at the longer zoom range.

Ultrawide camera – video

The images with the ultra-wide camera look a bit grainier compared to the main camera, but you still get good lighting and pleasant colors, so if you have enough light the images are certainly usable.

Front camera – Video

Finally, we’re impressed with selfie videos taken with the Pixel, as it can reproduce skin tones really well and you get a lot of detail.

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