Motorola Moto X Style Camera Features

August 5, 2015

Motorola Moto X rear facing camera

The Motorola Moto X Style (Pure Edition) is the most advanced camera among the three that Motorola announced on July 28, 2015. The front camera has 5MP f/2.0 lens but it’s isn’t that exciting in my opinion. The rear camera is what I wanted to talk about in this post.

Moto X Style rear-facing camera features a Sony Exmor RS IMX 230 1/2.4-inch sensor (Stacked sensor) with a 192 AF point phase-detect Auto-Focus system, PDAF for short. We’ve already seen many companies implementing a phase-detection AF in their camera smartphones. Phase detection AF allows the camera to focus quicker and more accurately on moving subjects compared to contrast autofocus.  Phase-detect AF works by comparing two offset images, so the camera has a starting position to start focusing from. Contrast detect employs a different technology, and it can focus on the subject by trial and error.  With phase-detection AF, the camera knows the subject distance before the AF kicks in, by just sampling the scene using two images. When the camera AF starts working it starts comparing those sets of pictures and work in a relative position range to find the correct focusing point.

The Motorola Moto X rear camera is therefore very useful when taking pictures or capturing videos of a subject that moves towards or further away from the camera. For example, if you take a photo of a person coming towards you, shooting a basketball game, a rocking swings in the garden, etc.

Besides an excellent autofocus system, the Motorola Moto X also features a fast f/2.0 aperture lens. The Moto X, unlike regular cameras, features a fixed aperture. So no matter what you shoot, the camera will shoot at F2.0 aperture all the time. To correct and deal with different lighting conditions that might cause the image to over- or underexpose, the camera uses the shutter speed and ISO sensitivity.  With f/2.0, the camera can use faster shutter speed to freeze the action and produce sharper images instead of bumping up the ISO that leads to more image noise.

For a 1/2.4″ inch sensor, 21 megapixels seems a bit too much. I went to check some sample images on dpreview, and I was amazed by the image quality. At daylight or under good lighting conditions, the Moto X Style captures stunning tack sharp images. Usually when you view a 100% scaled images, you can find some defects, but at ISO50 the Moto X Style performs amazingly well. I was stunned seeing such high quality coming from such small sensor. It’s like it was shot with an APS-C DSLR, bot with a smartphone camera.

Here is a Moto X Style camera 1080p video test:

and a Moto X Style 4K video test with the rear camera:


At high ISO, the image quality was less, but I didn’t expect it to be considering the sensor’s small pixels. UP to ISO 640 the image was still good, but above ISO 800 it’s kind of start getting pretty messy.  The Moto X Style also features a Night Mode, which utilizes increased sensitivity but at the cost of reduces resolution (5MP).  The Moto X Style rear camera isn’t going to be my favorite for low-light shooting, but you’ll love its image quality if you shoot mostly in daylight. You still have a dual LED flash on board which you can use to light up close-subjects.

Other features include a dual LED CCT (Color correlated Temperature) flash that provides better color correction and result in more natural looking image.  There is 4K (Ultra HD) video recording, HDR in video recording and 520p 120fps slow-motion video recording  as well. The Moto X Style camera has already been tested by with a good overall score of 83.

Does the Moto X  Style has an optical image stabilization? – Well, The Moto X Style doesn’t come with an optical image stabilization system. This could have helped with the low-light performance of course. All in all, the Moto X is probably camera isn’t that good for low-light shooting, and there are other mobile cameras that do much better job. It’s better than the second-generation Moto X.  For video recording the digital stabilization actually works quite nice and stabilizes the image quite well to be honest.

Overall, the Moto X Style rear camera provides excellent performance under good lighting conditions, but falls short in low-light. The autofocus is super-fast, which is crucial when shooting fast-moving subjects.

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