Google Pixel 6a vs.  Pixel 6 Pro: Camera Quality Shoot-Out

Google Pixel 6a vs. Pixel 6 Pro: Camera Quality Shoot-Out

The middle register Google Pixel 6a ($449) earned our Editor’s Choice award in no small part because of its imaging prowess. Simply put, it’s one of the best midranges out there camera phones on the market.

For $899, the Pixel 6 Pro costs twice as much as the Pixel 6a and appropriately includes advanced camera components as part of the upgrade. But if image quality is your biggest concern, is the Pixel 6 Pro really worth double the price of the Pixel 6a?

To help you decide, we pit their cameras against each other in several common shooting situations so you can see the difference and decide which model is the best buy for your needs.


How do the Pixel 6a and Pixel 6 Pro cameras differ?

Before you look at our real-world photo samples from the Pixel 6a and Pixel 6 Pro, here’s a quick rundown of the camera specs and features you get with each phone.

For starters, the high-end Pixel 6 Pro’s main camera uses a 50MP Octa PD Quad Bayer sensor, while the Pixel 6a mainly relies on a 12.2MP dual-pixel sensor. The Pro offers four times the resolution of the 6a, but the image output sizes are quite similar because the former oversamples images; both phones save photos with a resolution of around 12 MP (4,080 x 3,027 pixels). If you’re interested in how oversampling works and why it makes a difference to detail capture, check out our article on CMOS, BSI CMOS and Stacked CMOS sensors and pay attention to the section on Quad Bayer technology.

Outside of resolution, the Pixel 6 Pro’s 26mm lens has an f/1.85 aperture. The Pixel 6a’s lens offers an aperture of f/1.7 and shoots at a focal length of 27mm. The difference between 26mm and 27mm isn’t huge, but the 6 Pro’s wider field of view lets in a bit more of a scene.

Google Pixel 6a


Review the image

Both phones use the same wide-angle hardware: a 12MP, f/2.2 camera with a 17mm focal length. Images from these lenses look almost identical, with the only difference being how the two devices process photos.

The Pixel 6 Pro has an extra lens that the Pixel 6a doesn’t have – a 48MP telephoto camera with a focal length of 104mm (4x optical zoom ratio compared to the standard lens). If you want to capture tight frames without compromising on quality, the Pixel 6 Pro is the clear winner on paper. We explore how the two handle zooming in on subjects in the tests below.

In terms of software, Google includes almost everything in the more expensive one Pixel 6 and 6 Pro in 6a. That means you get Real Tone, Magic Eraser, Night Shot, Top Shot and all the other software-based goodies.


Pixel 6a vs. Pixel 6 Pro: Main rear cameras

We took several pairs of photos in different lighting environments with each phone’s primary camera. In theory, the Pixel 6 Pro’s images should look sharper based on its higher-resolution sensor, but it’s more important to examine real-world results than just looking at the numbers.


Outdoors in sunlight

A playground

Pixel 6a (Credit: Dave LeClair)

A playground

Pixel 6 Pro (Credit: Dave LeClair)

It’s hard to tell the difference between the Google Pixel 6a and 6 Pro in well-lit environments. Although the 6 Pro captures more detail initially, its final output doesn’t look very different (especially on the web). The more expensive Pixel Pro still has an advantage in detail – it’s just not as dramatic an advantage as the raw numbers indicate.

Winner: Pixel 6 Pro (barely)


Indoors in low light

A dog on his bed

Pixel 6a (Credit: Dave LeClair)

A dog on his bed

Pixel 6 Pro (Credit: Dave LeCLair)

The Pixel 6a and Pixel 6 Pro both offer Google’s fantastic Night Sight feature on the main lens, which works well in low light. In the above photos of my dog, the image from the Pixel 6a seems a little brighter, but I prefer the slightly wider field of view of the 6 Pro. It will be a tie.

Winner: Tie


Indoors in very dim light

A closet

Pixel 6a (Credit: Dave LeClair)

A closet

Pixel 6 Pro (Credit: Dave LeClair)

I took the photos above inside my closet in near total darkness. Here, the Pixel 6 Pro captures a bit more detail than the Pixel 6a, although neither photo is particularly useful. Still, it’s a good way to stress test the Night Sight feature. We’re impressed that the jerseys are even visible in these photos.

Winner: Pixel 6 Pro


Portrait mode

A selfie by Dave LeClair

Pixel 6a (Credit: Dave LeClair)

A selfie by Dave LeClair

Pixel 6 Pro (Credit: Dave LeClair)

When using Portrait mode in sunlight, you should get similar results from both cameras. They even seem to apply about the same amount of bokeh to the background in the tests above. That said, the slightly wider view of the Pro gives it an edge.

Winner: Pixel 6 Pro


Close-up outdoors in sunlight

The words trash just on a sign

Pixel 6a (Credit: Dave LeClair)

The words trash just on a sign

Pixel 6 Pro (Credit: Dave LeClair)

It’s hard to differentiate macro performance between the two phones; both show the same amount of detail just in slightly different viewing angles. If you want to get close to your subject, you should be able to take great pictures with both cameras.

Winner: Tie


Pixel 6a vs. Pixel 6 Pro: wide-angle cameras

Although both phones use the same wide-angle lens, it’s still important to see if there are any differences in how they process images.


Outdoors in sunlight

An apartment complex

Pixel 6a (Credit: Dave LeClair)

An apartment complex

Pixel 6 Pro (Credit: Dave LeClair)

It’s not surprising that these images look similar given the identical hardware. We can’t pick a winner here.

Winner: Tie


Indoors in low light

A photo of a hallway

Pixel 6a (Credit: Dave LeClair)

A photo of a hallway

Pixel 6 Pro (Credit: Dave LeClair)

We also tested the wide-angle lens in low light to see if the devices process images differently. Here, too, the images look largely the same.

Winner: Tie


Pixel 6a vs. Pixel 6 Pro: Zoom

The Pixel 6 Pro has a dedicated zoom lens with 4x optical zoom. The Pixel 6a doesn’t. We zoomed in on photos we took in sunlight to see if we can figure out how much of an advantage the extra lens offers.


2x zoom

A bridge with graffiti

Pixel 6a (Credit: Dave LeClair)

A bridge with graffiti

Pixel 6 Pro (Credit: Dave LeClair)

When you zoom in, you can see some extra detail in the image of the Pixel 6 Pro. Both pictures look good though.

Recommended by our editors

Winner: Pixel 6 Pro (barely)


4x zoom

A bridge with graffiti

Pixel 6a (Credit: Dave LeClair)

A bridge with graffiti

Pixel 6 Pro (Credit: Dave LeClair)

The telephoto lens on the Pixel 6 Pro shines with 4x zoom, while the Pixel 6a starts to struggle. You can clearly see an improvement in detail on the 6 Pro; 6a’s image looks comparatively washed out.

Winner: Pixel 6 Pro


Pixel 6a vs. Pixel 6 Pro: Selfie cameras

Pixel 6 Pro comes with an 11.1 MP front camera with f/2.2 aperture. Pixel 6a has an 8MP lens with f/2.0 aperture. Obviously, the former hardware is better, but the practical difference is not that big.


Outdoors in sunlight

A selfie by Dave LeClair

Pixel 6a (Credit: Dave LeClair)

A selfie by Dave LeCLair

Pixel 6 Pro (Credit: Dave LeClair)

As mentioned, the Pixel 6 Pro’s front camera offers a slightly higher resolution. However, in practice both cameras produce very similar images in this scenario. I prefer the image from the Pixel 6 Pro because the colors in the Pixel 6’s image look a little too bright. Nevertheless, the differences are quite small.

Winner: Tie


Indoors in good light

A selfie by Dave LeClair

Pixel 6a (Credit: Dave LeClair)

A selfie by Dave LeClair

Pixel 6 Pro (Credit: Dave LeClair)

In a slightly darker indoor space, the images look even more similar. You really have to study them to see any differences.

Winner: Tie


Indoors in very dim light

A dark life by Dave LeClair

Pixel 6a (Credit: Dave LeClair)

A dark selfie by Dave LeClair

Pixel 6 Pro (Credit: Dave LeClair)

I took the above selfies in almost complete darkness, with only a small amount of light coming through the curtain. Neither image looks great (despite Google Night Sight’s best efforts), but neither is dramatically worse than the other either.

Winner: Tie


And the winner is…you

The Pixel 6 Pro’s camera stack is better than that of the Pixel 6a, but that’s not surprising given the difference in price between the two phones. Most notably, the more expensive Pixel 6 Pro shows more fine detail in complex scenes, along with more accurate colors. If you’re simply looking for the best Pixel camera quality regardless of cost, the Pixel 6 Pro is the phone to get. However, these differences alone aren’t enough to justify the Pixel 6 Pro’s $450 premium. Of course, the Pixel 6 Pro also brings a host of other improvements over the Pixel 6a that justify its higher price, including a larger, sharper display and class-leading battery life.

But when it comes to camera performance, the Pixel 6a offers truly impressive performance for the price, almost on par with the Pixel 6 Pro. That means the winner is you, the buyer, because both of these phones earned our Editors’ Choice award. They represent some of the finest mid-range and high-end phones currently available.

For more on mobile photography, check out our 10 simple tips and tricks for better smartphone photos.

Fully mobilized<\/strong> newsletter to get our best mobile tech stories straight to your inbox.”,”first_published_at”:”2021-09-30T21:18:21.000000Z”,”published_at”:”2022-03-23T15:52:47.000000Z”, “last_published_at”:”2022-03-23T15:52:43.000000Z”,”created_at”:null,”updated_at”:”2022-03-23T15:52:47.000000Z”})” x-showUp()Sign ” class =”rounded bg-gray-lightest text-center md:px-32 md:py-8 p-4 mt-8 container-xs”>

Do you like what you read?

Register for Fully mobilized newsletter to get our best mobile technology stories delivered straight to your inbox.

This newsletter may contain advertising, offers or affiliate links. Subscribing to a newsletter indicates your consent to ours Terms and Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from the newsletters at any time.


#Google #Pixel #Pixel #Pro #Camera #Quality #ShootOut

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.