Camera Comparison: Motorola Moto X vs Moto G (New 2014 2nd gen smartphones)

September 7, 2014

Motorola Moto X 2014 camera, wooden cover

In this article we’ll take a closer look and compare the rear and front cameras of the newly announced Motorola Moto G (2014) and Motorola Moto X (2014), yes both are the 2014 models which were announced on September 5, 2014. Before we begin talking about the differences in-depth, let’s take a look at the specs first.

Moto G (2nd gen)Moto X (2nd gen)Moto X (1st gen)
Rear Facing Camera8MP

F2.0

5.0-inch, 1280x720, IPS LCD, 294 ppi, Gorilla Glass 3

- Single LED flash
- 720p HD video recording
- Auto HDR
- Burst mode
- Panorama
1/3.06" (4.69x3.53 mm) BSI-CMOS

13MP

RGBC color filter array (Clear Pixel)
(Sony IMX135, same as the LG G3, G2 and Samsung Galaxy S4)

1.1 micron pixels

31mm (35mm equivalent.) f/2.25 lens

ISO 50 -1000

5.2-inch display, 1920x1080, OLED, 423 ppi, Gorilla Glass 3

- Dual-LED ring flash
- 4K UHD video recording
- 4x digital zoom
- Slow motion video
- Burst mode
- Auto HDR
- Panorama
1/2.6" (5.08x3.81mm) BSI-CMOS

10MP

RGBC color filter array (Clear Pixel)
OmniBSI-2™ pixel architecture
(OmniBision OV10820)

1.4 micron pixels

30mm (equivalent) f/2.4 lens

4.7-inch display, 720x1280, AMOLED, 312 ppi, Gorilla Glass 3

- 1080p30 Full HD video recording
- 4x digital zoom
- Slow motion video
- Burst mode
- Auto HDR
- Panorama
Front Facing Camera2MP

720p30 video recording
2MP

1080p30 video recording
2MP

1080p30 video recording

As you can see from the (partial) specs comparison table above, the Motorola X rear facing camera has gone through a significant change compared to its predecessor. Motorola went with the stacked CMOS image sensor of 1/3.06″ type RGBC sensor, which has less resolution and it’s also smaller than the 1st gen Moto X, which was announced on August 1, 2013. The lens is now slightly narrower focal length (31mm vs 30mm; in 35mm terms) but it’s slightly faster (F4 vs F2.25). A wider aperture allows more light to pass through the lens onto the sensor. Unfortunately, considering the sensor size and the increase of resolution, each pixel on the sensor is now significantly smaller (1.1 micron compared to 1.4 micron). The larger the pixels the more light which can be gathered for each photo-site, and more accurate color data which leads to improved image quality overall and better low-light performance.

Compared to the Moto G, the Moto G has less pixels, but no more data about the sensor size and lens focal length has been revealed. The Moto X enjoys an innovative dual-LED flash, 4K video recording and a larger,high-res high-density OLED display.  That’s of course what you get for a much smaller price tag. I personally think that many people might be disappointed that Motorola hasn’t gone with a larger sensor, but hey, that’s what we get. We still need to wait for some comparison sample images to clearly see this implication, but overall I am not impressed with this upgrade myself, as far as the camera goes.

It is a better camera than its predecessor so it seems and better than the affordable Moto G, but people who expect to pay a $499.99 for this Gen2 Moto X smartphone, they probably were expecting more in return to their investment.  In general, the use of a ClearPixel color filter array, faster aperture, dual LED (ring) flash and a wide ISO sensitivity range, all should lead to very good low-light capability.  The “Clear Pixel” technology uses transparent pixels as part of the RGB filters in order to allow more light to be captured by the light-sensitive photo-diodes. This means that 25% of the pixels are designed for gathering more light and not color info. The Transparent/White pixel is therefore 3 times more sensitive than any of the color filtered pixels. This also allows the camera to capture images with half the exposure time required by a conventional Bayer color-filter array based sensor. However, as I said, I’m like you, waiting for some sample images to see how this new-tech works in practice all together with the new Moto X phone camera.

The Moto G rear facing camera is certainly an entry-level offering that should offer much less performance compared to the Moto X camera. If  you care about image quality and low-light performance, you should probably be looking at the Moto X offering. Of course as a whole, the Moto X offers better hardware specs overall.

What’s your opinion about the new Moto X and Moto G cameras? — share your opinion in the comment section below.



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