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How good is the Motorola Moto G camera?

The Motorola Moto G is a phone for the everyman. Incredible price balanced with tapered specs and less compromises than its £139 (8GB) price would suggest. Even its 5-megapixel camera sensor, f/2.4 lens and flash combination looks good on paper.  It’s too early to publish a full review of the Motorola Moto G, but one thing we definitely can do is share our samples and give an early verdict on its sharp shooter.

Complication, simplified.

The camera user interface (UI) on the Motorola Moto G is a reduction of the over complicated tiered stock Android camera UI found on Google Nexus. 

Gone is tap to focus, now a tap of the screen takes a shot. Tap the video camera icon and it will shoot video. Swipe in from the left to get a series of simple toggles (below). Swipe in from the right to glide into your gallery.

Motorola has included an optional, draggable ring. With it, you can set exposure, white balance and focus by placing it over a point in your viewfinder. Personally, we miss touch to focus and it’s ability to pinpoint focal depth precisely, an option we would have loved to see added alongside the ring.

All in all, everything is refreshingly simple, though with the lack of touch to focus coupled with the quick fire shutter, blurred shots do creep in every now and then.

As for the images:

The 5-megapixel photos the Moto G takes look really good all things considered. This is a £139 phone that can go toe to toe with the Lumia 620 and other pricier snappers.

Images are heavily processed, but in this price range and with what we expect is a cost-effective sensor, it’s actually a blessing on the Motorola Moto G. Noise is tapered, detail is respectable and there are more shooting modes than the Windows Phone competition offers.

Images pack pleasing levels of saturation along with satisfyingly high contrast, though scenes with extreme tonal range tend to crumble. As you can see below and above, black silhouettes and dark patches occasionally take the place of rich deep tones, while blown out whites replace lighter shades. In short – ready that thumb to flip HDR mode on (below, right).

Flash performance isn’t fantastic unfortunately, when we zoomed in close we picked up on more blur than we’d hope to see. From a distance and on the Moto G’s screen though, everything looks passable. Video is recorded in 720p and packs decent detail levels with fast adapting exposure and good auto-focus. The lack of digital or optical image stabilisation however means that handshake is an issue as illustrated below.

In isolation, the Motorola Moto G’s camera isn’t fantastic. When comparing it to the best-in-class for the price though, the Nokia Lumia 620, it is. Images alone are at least as good and the promise of Android and a 720p screen arguably makes it a more appealing phone as well. Well done Motorola, a great first impression; as for the review beyond the camera, we’ll be posting it next week so check back for that.


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