Moto X Style vs Galaxy S6 Edge vs iPhone 6 Plus vs LG G4

August 6, 2015

Moto X Style Pure Edition rear-facing camera

In this article, I’ll compare the Motorola X style rear-facing camera versus Galaxy S6 Edge, LG G4 and iPhone 6 Plus main cameras. We’ll learn about the fundamental differences between those three main cameras and compare their performances. All of those three have superb cameras, and DxOMark and independent tests proved that. By analysing the hardware specs of those four smartphone cameras, we can get a better understanding what makes those cameras perform so well. I was also interested to see how the new Moto X Style / Pure Edition was able to go straight into the 3rd positioning in DxOMark mobile rating as Motorola doesn’t have a single phone there in the entire 32 phone listing on their main page. So how come in one day Motorola was able to make it, and make it big time?

Before we go talking about the differences, let’s take a look at the dry specs first.

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So how the Moto X Style stacks against the S7 Edge, iPhone 6 Plus and LG G4.  First of all, let’s take a look at DxOMark and see what the lab test say. The Moto X Style has received an 83 score and as of August 6th, 2015, it’s in the third position. The Samsung S6 Edge is in the first place with an 86 score, iPhone 6 Plus in the 5th position but the LG G4 isn’t listed yet. We can expect the LG G4 take one of the three top positions, but that’s yet to be seen.

Sensor Resolution and Pixel Size

The Motorola Moto X Style has the largest sensor among the three, but it also has the highest resolution among the three. This means that each pixel is smaller compared to the other sensors.  Luckily the larger sensor compensates for the bigger pixel density so that we can enjoy a higher resolution image will less impact on image quality. I’ve already inspected some of the sample images taken with the Moto X Style and the IQ is amazing in daylight but falls short in low-light. The image details are just mind-blowing. Apparently the iPhone 6 Plus can’t come even close to resolving such high amount of details in daylight with its 8MP sensor. The difference between the S6 Edge, LG G4 and Moto X Style is less prominent. I preferred that Motorola went with a lower pixel sensor, 21 seems a bit too much for that tiny sensor.

Moto X Style Max image resolution comparison

Moto X Style vs S6 Edge vs iPhone 6 Plus vs LG G4 - Max image resolution comparison

As you can see form the illustration above, the Moto X Style is only 32 pixels longer, but it’s 1020 pixels taller.  Having more resolution gives you more room for cropping in photo editing software and you can make larger prints out of it.

Camera Lens

The Moto X Style features a f/2.0 aperture lens, which is a very fast lens. But we can see that it’s not the fastest in our group. The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge features a f/1.9 aperture lens, and the LG G4 has the fastest lens with f/1.8 aperture. Keep in mind that all of the lenses have a fixed/constant aperture, it doesn’t change.

So what is the difference in terms of exposure between those four aperture values? Let’s take a look.

  • f/1.8 is our based aperture
  • f/1.8 – f/1.9 → 0.156 EV stops (1.114x times more light)
  • f/1.8 – f/2.0 → 0.304 EV stops (1.235x times more light)
  • f/1.8 – f/2.2 → 0.579 EV stops (1.494x times more light)

The iPhone 6 Plus has the slowest lens among the three. This mean that it allows less light to pass through the lens compared to the other lenses.  So the Moto X Style lens isn’t the slowest nor the fastest.

Does the Moto X Style Camera has OIS? Unfortunately, The Moto X Style rear camera lack an optical image stabilization mechanism, while the S6 Edge, iPhone 6 Plus, and LG G4 has an OIS.  So how the 3-axis OIS compares to the S6 2-axis?

The S6 seems to do a much better job, don’t you think? Maybe the LG G4 needs some firmware update, as I was personally expecting it to be even better than the 6 Plus. Keep in mind that this is for video and the Moto X Style does have digital image stabilization, which works quite well. But for stills (photos), the OIS can help when shooting in low-light, as you can use a slower shutter speed and still get a sharp image. With a non-stabilized camera, shooting at a shutter speed slower than the recommended by the shutter speed rule of thumb will probably result in a picture with soft, smudgy details.

In terms of focal lengths, Motorola didn’t say what is the exact equivalent focal length of the lens in 35mm. We know that it’s 4.7 mm, so in my calculation based on the sensor size and crop factor, the focal length should be approximately 27mm, but again, this is just an estimation. I also checked the EXIF, but it just shown me the original focal length of the lens, which is 4.7mm. If it’s indeed 27mm, the lens is the widest among the four. The S6 Edge lens is 28mm equivalent, which is slightly broader than the 29mm of the iPhone 6 Plus and LG G4.

28 mm → ~75.4 degrees FOV
29 mm → ~73.4 degrees FOV
27 mm → ~77.4 degrees FOV


Motorola Moto X Style, iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy S6 Edge, all have phase-detection AF system.  The LG G4 is the only camera among the four to utilize an IR Laser Auto Focus system instead of PDAF. The main advantage of the Laser AF is an almost instant detection of a subject distance up to two feet. It can also speed up the contrast-detection performance as the start distance data is already acquired, so the search distance for the contrast-detect AF is smaller. The contrast-detect is there to backup the Laser AF in case it fails to detect the subject distance.

192 AF points phase-detection

The Moto X Style/Pure Edition uses a 192 AF point image plane phase-detection AF system.  Usually, we don’t get to see how much AF points are used for the phase-detect AF system, but Motorola did reveal that information.  The phase-detection AF system should provide much better subject tracking performance for long both short and long distance objects. The LG G4 is likely to be less efficient when shooting long distance subjects (above two feet) outdoors.

The whole idea behind this technology is to allow the camera to focus faster and more accurately on fast-moving subjects. In that regard, the Moto X Style should do an excellent job. We still lack the information about the exact coverage of the AF points on the sensor on all the supported devices, so it’s hard to conclude which one of the four does a better job. The only way will be to go and test out all four devices, or test it in a lab.

I’ve checked DxOMark and the Moto X Style was slightly behind the iPhone 6+ and the S6 Edge in stills, but shown poorer performance in videos with a score of 75 compared to the S6 Edge score of 90. The S6 Edge was the top performer among the three (LG G4 wasn’t tested as of the time of writing). We need to wait for more testing to be done and see how the LG G4 fits in this, but overall you can expect an excellent AF performance from the Moto X Style.

 4K Video Recording

The Moto X Style (Pure Edition) features 4K video recording at 30 fps and with HDR. iPhone 6 Plus is the only one among the four the doesn’t feature 4K video recording. Some people use apps like Vizzywig 8xHD, Ultrakam 4K or ProCam 2 apps to capture 8MP video and output the capture as a standard 4K video.

Here’s a Moto X Pure Edition/Moto X Style 4K sample video:

The video stabilization works amazingly well according to some early tests. So although the Moto X Pure Edition lacks an optical image stabilization, for video recording the digital stabilization does an exquisite job. The iPhone 6 Plus, LG G4, and Galaxy S6 Edge should have a slight advantage because of their OIS and the fact that they also utilize a digital stabilization.


So how come the Motorola Moto X (Pure Edition) was able to perform so well? Well, it seems like any other camera, it’s the combination of an advanced sensor technologies,  high-quality optics and advanced image processing on most part. It seems that the Motorola Pure Edition got most of it right. It’s great to see that a camera with such a high-resolution sensor was able to perform so well on lab test results. It just makes you wonder how it could have been if Motorola went with an 8MP sensor.

I think that most people would prefer having a smaller resolution. 21MP image would obviously weight much more compared to 8MP and most people usually share a lower-resolution version of their images. A 21MP isn’t  intended for sharing, but more like an archive, so you can have a high-resolution image for print or editing. You can shoot at a lower resolution obviously, but I think that many would prefer better a better high-ISO performance.

So for me the Moto X Style is a mixed bag. I love the image quality, but I feel disappointed that it lacks an optical image stabilization and a slightly faster lens. Other than that, the Moto X Style camera looks great, and the image quality is superb. If I had to pick one, I’m not sure that I would prefer the Moto X  Style over the Galaxy S6 Edge, iPhone 6 Plus or LG G4, at least not only for its camera. You should inspect the other hardware specs to see if they meet your needs. You can rest assured that if you are satisfied with the Moto X Style overall specs, the camera won’t be the one to disappoint you.

What’s your opinion? Which camera among the four your think it’s better?

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