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Motorola Moto G6 Camera Review: Best budget shooter?

We’ve fully tested the Motorola Moto G6 camera, and here’s our in-depth thoughts on this dual-lens snapper.

So it looks like dual lens smartphone cameras are here to stay – even our budget blowers are packing two lenses instead of one these days, and Motorola’s fresh new affordable Moto G6 is no different.

Like the Moto X4 and G5s Plus before it, the G6 sports a pair of camera lenses sat side-by-side on the back end. The primary 12-megapixel shooter is backed by a secondary 5-megapixel snapper. This doesn’t offer optical zoom or a wide-angle view of the world – it’s simply there to allow Motorola’s Portrait mode to produce a proper depth of focus. More on that bad boy later.

Moto G6 camera review: app

You can load up the camera app at any time, even when the G6 is hibernating, with a double-twist of your wrist. Not an ideal manoeuvre if you suffer from carpal tunnel, but hey ho. Alternatively, if you don’t want to look like a bit of a plank, you can just poke that app icon instead.

You’re thrust straight into the auto mode, ready to snap away using the on-screen shutter button or the volume rocker. Photo capture isn’t exactly super-nippy, so the G6 isn’t ideal for action shots, but it’s not too troublesome either. You can quickly flip to the video mode or the bonus features with a swipe up or down the display, while the main screen also houses a number of shortcuts and tools.

For instance, you can pop up some handy manual controls if you want to tweak the white balance or fiddle about with the shutter speed at any point. Motorola has also included an ‘Active Photos’ mode, which mimics the likes of Live Photos and Living Images on other smartphones. This brings your gallery to life when you’re flipping about, which is a neat effect if you spend a lot of time snapping your kiddiewinks or your pets.

Moto G6 camera review: photo quality

For your everyday shots, the Moto G6 performs to the same level of most other budget mobiles that we’ve tested recently – including the Honor 7C and Huawei P20 Lite.

As long as lighting conditions are fine and your subject isn’t jumping about the place like a hyperactive puppy, you can expect some good results. Shots are packed with detail, while colours are accurately reproduced. Snapping vibrant scenes results in some attractive pics, with no kind of artificial touching-up.

However, if you’re trying to snap a child or something else with a mind of its own, you’ll want to take a few photos just in case. A lot of our pics came out blurry where moving subjects were involved.

If lighting conditions are a bit off, the Moto G6 still does its best to compensate. Scenes with a high dynamic range are handled reasonably well, although you will notice some oversaturation in those lighter areas. And while the f/1.8 aperture means plenty of light is sucked into the lens for those darker moments, you’ll still find that dimly lit scenes come out quite grainy. Good thing there’s a flash, then.

You can also shoot some glamorous selfies using that 8-megapixel front-facing camera. This actually comes packing a flash of its own, so you can Instagram yourself having an awesome time up in da club. Like the rear facing camera however, this snapper once again struggles with imperfect lighting conditions.

Check out our photo samples below.

Moto G6 camera review: video quality

The Moto G6 can’t shoot 4K Ultra HD resolution footage sadly, although it does offer Full HD capture at either 30 or 60 frames-per-second.

Detail levels are again strong at that Full HD level, so your home movies will look reasonably sharp when viewed back on your telly. Strong light can again result in oversaturation, and you can expect a fair bit of lens flare on a sunny day. Still, the lens adapts well to changes in focal distance and the digital image stabilisation helps to cut down on judder. This is typically stronger at 30 frames-per-second, although our footage at the maximum 60FPS setting wasn’t too rough.

Moto G6 camera review: bonus features

Motorola has done a bit of a Huawei and stuffed the Moto G6 with loads of bonus camera features.

So for instance, right there on the main camera screen you have access to the object recognition tool, which can analyse anything you shoot and provide links for more information or to buy something similar. This is very much a hit-and-miss tool in real life however. Sometimes it can accurately guess what it’s seeing, helped along considerably by any visible logos or labels. However, most times you get a vague set of results, such as ‘yellow lamp’ or ‘green plant’, and other times it’s just downright wrong.

Flip into the modes window and you’ll find plenty more to play around with. Our old favourite the Spot Colour feature is thankfully back, to instantly produce those poser Instagram pics that wedding photographers in particular really love. Likewise, there’s slow motion and timelapse video modes, which do as they say on the tin.

However, it’s Motorola’s version of the Portrait mode which most intrigued us. This feature uses both lenses to lock onto your subject and then blur out the background, to really help them stand out. You can even change which part of the photo is in focus in post-edit, if it didn’t quite come out right.

The results are pretty good, although we found that our subject’s silhouette was occasionally a bit soft or blurred. The cut-off point isn’t quite as accurate as some competitors such as Huawei manage. All the same, considering that budget asking price, these are some attractive snaps.

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