Every year, I snap countless thousands of pictures with my phone. I’ve been using Pixel phones as my daily vehicles for the past six years, starting with Nokia’s fantastic cameras in the mid-2000s. You can thus assume that I’ve grown used to the Pixel camera app. With the exception of the irksome selfie camera button swap, I really like the redesigned UI and its simplicity, but I wasn’t prepared for Google to explicitly destroy another feature of the Camera app on the Pixel 8 series.

The sliders were gone as soon as I started using the Pixel 8 Pro to take those 180+ pictures. You know, the ones you use to change the white balance, shadows, and brightness. Strange, I thought. Since those sliders may be toggled on and off in Settings, I went there to activate them, but they weren’t there. What?

I thought I was going mad for a bit until I realized that I had noticed those settings in the Pixel 8 Pro’s manual controls. Surely, they wouldn’t? In the event, they did. The three readily available on-screen sliders were moved by Google into three distinct menus with manual adjustments. And although if the Pixel 8 lacks any unique manual controls, this still applies to the Pixel 8 Pro and 8.

I’m LIVID, to borrow a phrase from when I first started testing the Pixel 8 and shared that realization with the rest of the Android Authority team:

Do you make use of the Pixel phones’ camera adjusting sliders?

Never, never.

Three taps? One extra tap is one tap too many.

Manual controls for the Google Pixel 8 Pro camera against the Pixel 7 Pro sliders 1

Let’s say I wish to adjust a photo’s brightness before taking it. I simply move the brightness slider, at least on the Pixel 7 series and prior. Whoa. Completed. I can quickly make a million adjustments while moving to get the exact shot I want in my shots. It’s among my best attributes.

I have to press the bottom right manual controls button on the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro before I can adjust the brightness. (Brightness is the initial preset.) It doesn’t seem like much, one extra tap, does it?

What about shifting the white balance or the shadows? Sliding the on-screen meters will also do the trick for Pixel 7 and older phones. I have to select the shadow or white balance options first, go to manual controls, and then utilize the slider for the Pixel 8 series. Two more pulls.

There’s a lot of additional tapping. It takes a lot of time. And I probably missed my shot by now.

So what would happen if I wanted to alter each of the three qualities of a picture? Okay, just slide them onto the Pixel 7 once again. Alternatively, take out your Pixel 8 and perform the most irksome action of accessing the manual options, modifying brightness, choosing Shadow and adjusting it, and finally choosing White Balance and correcting it. And that’s presuming I adjust each slider only once and am completely satisfied with my selection. I have to tap to return to it if I need to make any adjustments. That’s three more taps, minimum. and a procedure that takes a long time. I probably missed my shot by now.

How can I use the new Pixel 8 or 8 Pro’s brightness, shadow, or white balance slider?

The manual controls button on the Google Pixel 8 Pro camera interface

On the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro, the brightness, shadow, and white balance sliders are no longer visible on the screen. To access the manual controls, press the button located at the bottom right (the red pointer in the screenshot indicates this location), which will allow you to adjust the brightness, shadow, and white balance.

There is no way to revert to the previous feature regression.

Google Pixel 8 Pro Manual Camera Controls, Part Two

That is the essence of feature regression. I can see why this felt like a reasonable choice. One reason is that having all manual adjustments in one menu is neater and easier to understand. This is especially true for the Pixel 8 Pro, which also has shutter speed, focus, and ISO controls. Two, Pixel phones have some of the greatest cameras available, and their camera software is typically competent enough to take excellent pictures on its own without the need for any manual editing.

The pixel cameras are not infallible. I used to adore being able to instantly adjust white balance and shadows.

However, Pixel cameras are by no means perfect. Having taken countless numbers of pictures, I can say that, on average, I utilize the sliders roughly 10% of the time to achieve the exact shot I want and the one that seems more authentic. That is a significant enough percentage to have a detrimental impact on usability.

settings for the Google Pixel 7 Pro camera

Pixel 7 Pro camera configurations

settings for the Google Pixel 8 Pro camera

Pixel 8 Pro camera configurations

Furthermore, why isn’t this an option? Why must I utilize the newest phone’s subpar camera UI after all these years of ease and muscle memory? Just add the sliders option to the options so those like me who enjoy manually adjusting certain aspects of their snaps can keep doing so. Also, a simpler and cleaner user interface is available to individuals who simply point and shoot.

I used to adore being able to instantly adjust white balance and shadows on my Pixels. Now since it’s a necessary lengthy and laborious process, I get a little irritated every time I have to do it. Google, please fix it.

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