DxOMark Mobile Report: Motorola Droid Turbo 2

Summary

The Droid Turbo 2 is Motorola's latest high-end model for US carrier Verizon. With Sony's 1/2.4-inch 21MP IMX230 sensor and an F2.0 aperture the camera specification is pretty much identical to the Moto X Style but the new model comes with a more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset, a shatter-proof display and a massive 3760 mAh battery that, according to Motorola, is good for 48 hours of battery life. At 5.4 inches the display is a touch smaller than the X Style's 5.7-inch screen but offers the same Quad-HD resolution. A microSD slot is on board for memory expansion and like other high-end Motorola devices the Droid Turbo 2 can be ordered with wooden or leather backs and is customizable via the MotoMaker website. 

With a DxOMark Mobile score of 84 the Droid Turbo 2 achieves the same score as the Google Nexus 6P and places itself on the number four spot in the DxOMark smartphone rankings, only topped by the Sony Xperia Z5 , the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and the Nexus 6P. The DxOMark team reports that the Droid images show "very good detail preservation in outdoor conditions" and "good white balance and generally pleasant colors". "Pictures are well exposed" and "noise is barely visible in outdoor conditions".

On the downside, "fine details are lost in low light conditions, ghosting and other artifacts are sometimes visible" and when shooting with flash "strong luminance shading and chroma noise is visible in the corners".

In video mode the DxO team liked the "good stabilization, fast white balance and exposure adaptation and pleasant color rendering". The team also found that "detail is well preserved". However, "in low light, strong luminance noise and chroma noise is visible, particularly in the corners, autofocus instabilities are visible and the camera has difficulties tracking objects". The DxoMark team also found that "in low light autofocus is sometimes slow to trigger after a scene change".

Still Photography

Color, Exposure and Contrast

The DxOMark team found that when shooting with the Motorola Droid Turbo 2 "pictures are well exposed" and show "good white balance and generally pleasant colors". On the downside, "some highlights are occasionally blown in bright outdoor scenes" and "some white balance and exposure irregularities" can be observed in low light.

Overall DxOMark awarded the Motorola Droid Turbo 2 scores of:

  • 4.5 out of 5 for Exposure
  • 4.6 out of 5 for White Balance accuracy
  • 3.8 out of 5 for Color shading in low light*
  • 4.2 out of 5 for Color shading in bright light*
  • 3.0 out of 5 for Color Rendering in low light
  • 4.5 out of 5 for Color Rendering in bright light

*Color Shading is the nasty habit cellphone cameras have of rendering different areas of the frame with different color shifts, resulting in pictures with, for example, pinkish centers and greenish corners.

Noise and Details

DxOMark's engineers reported that the Motorola Droid Turbo 2 images show "very good detail preservation in outdoor conditions" and that "noise is barely visible in outdoor conditions". However, "some luminance noise is visible in low light conditions".

Texture Acutance

Texture acutance is a way of measuring the ability of a camera to capture images that preserve fine details, particularly the kind of low contrast detail (such as fine foliage, hair or fur) that can be blurred away by noise reduction or obliterated by excessive sharpening.

Sharpness is an important part of the quality of an image, but while it's easy to look at an image and decide visually whether it's sharp or not, the objective measurement of sharpness is less straightforward.

An image can be defined as "sharp" if edges are sharp and if fine details are visible. In-camera processing means that it's possible to have one of these (sharp edges) but not the other (fine details). Conventional MTF measurements tell us how sharp an edge is, but have drawbacks when it comes to measuring fine detail preservation. Image processing algorithms can detect edges and enhance their sharpness, but they can also find homogeneous areas and smooth them out to reduce noise.

Texture acutance, on the other hand, can qualify sharpness in terms of preservation of fine details, without being fooled by edge enhancement algorithms.

A dead leaf pattern is designed to measure texture acutance. It's obtained by drawing random shapes that occlude each other in the plane, like dead leaves falling from a tree. The statistics of this model follow the distribution statistics in natural images.

In this example from a DSLR without edge enhancement, sharpness seems equal on edge and on texture. Many details are visible in the texture.

In this second example, edges have been digitally enhanced, and the edge looks over sharp, with visible processing halos ("ringing"). On the texture part, many details have disappeared.

At first sight, the images from these two cameras may appear equally sharp. A sharpness measurement on edges will indeed confirm this impression, and will even show that the second camera is sharper. But a closer examination of low contrasted textures shows that the first camera has better preservation of fine details than the second. The purpose of the texture acutance measurement is to qualify this difference.

Note: Acutance is a single value metric calculated from a MTF result. Acutance is used to assess the sharpness of an image as viewed by the human visual system, and is dependent on the viewing conditions (size of image, size of screen or print, viewing distance). Only the values of texture acutance are given here. The measurements are expressed as a percentage of the theoretical maximum for the chosen viewing condition. The higher the score, the more details can be seen in an image. 
 
For all DxOMark Mobile data presented on connect.dpreview.com we're only showing 8MP equivalent values, which gives us a level playing field for comparison between smartphone cameras with different megapixel values by normalizing all to 8MP (suitable for fairly large prints). DxOMark also offers this data for lower resolution use-cases (web and onscreen). For more information on DxOMark's testing methodology and acutance measurements please visit the website at www.dxomark.com.
Luminance texture acutance decreases noticeably with light levels.  
In bright light the Droid's texture acutance is up with the best but the Motorola loses ground in dim conditions.

Edge Acutance

Edge acutance is a measure of edge sharpness in images captured by the phone's camera. Again we're only looking at the most demanding of the three viewing conditions that DxOMark reports on - the 8MP equivalent.
In terms of edge acutance the Motorola Droid Turbo 2 leads the competition at all light levels.
There is no loss in edge acutance as light levels go down.

Visual Noise

Visual noise is a value designed to assess the noise in an image as perceived by the human visual system, depending on the viewing condition (size of image, size of screen or print, viewing distance). The measurements have no units and can be simply viewed as the weighted average of noise standard deviation for each channel in the CIE L*a*b* color space. The lower the measurement, the less noise in the image.

Noise levels increase noticeably in low light. 
In terms of measured noise the Droid Turbo 2 compares well against the competition.  

Noise and Detail Perceptual scoring

DxOMark engineers don't just point camera phones at charts, they also take and analyze scores of real-world shots and score them accordingly. Their findings for the Motorola Droid Turbo 2 are:

Natural scene

  • Texture (bright light): 5.0 out of 5
  • Texture (low light): 3.6 out of 5
  • Noise (bright light): 4.3 out of 5
  • Noise (low light) 3.3 out of 5
Bright light sample shot
100% crop: very low noise levels
100% crop: very good detail
Low light (20 Lux) studio shot
100% crop: some luminance noise visible
100% crop: very fine detail is being lost

Artifacts

Phone cameras, like entry-level compact cameras, tend to suffer from artifacts such as sharpening halos, color fringing, vignetting (shading) and distortion, which can have an impact on the visual appeal of the end result. DxOMark engineers measure and analyze a range of artifacts. Their findings after testing the Motorola Droid Turbo 2 are shown below:

  • Ghosting sometimes visible in HDR mode
  • Some blue sky saturation in bright outdoor scenes
  • Noticeable color fringing in high-contrast scenes
  • Slight ringing
Some blue sky saturation in bright outdoor scenes

Perceptual Scores

  • Sharpness 4.3 out of 5
  • Color fringing 3.4 out of 5

Measured findings

  • Ringing center 7.5%
  • Ringing corner 2.4%
  • Max geometric distortion -0.2%
  • Luminance shading 16.7%

Distortion and Chromatic Aberrations

The graph shows the magnification from center to edge (with the center normalized to 1). The Motorola Droid Turbo 2 shows a slight pincushion distortion, which you are not going to notice in normal photography.
Some lateral chromatic aberration is noticeable in high contrast scenes. 

Autofocus

DxOMark also tests autofocus accuracy and reliability by measuring how much the acutance - or sharpness - varies with each shot over a series of 30 exposures (defocusing then using the autofocus for each one). As with other tests these results are dependent on the viewing conditions (a little bit out of focus matters a lot less with a small web image than a full 8MP shot viewed at 100%). Using the 8MP equivalent setting, the Motorola Droid Turbo 2 performs very well at all light levels. The overall score is 93/100 in bright light and 91/100 in low light.

Pros: 

  • Accurate and stable trigger mode in all lighting conditions
  • Accurate and stable auto mode in low light conditions
  • Fast autofocus in bright light conditions

Cons: 

  • Slight irregularities in low light trigger mode
  • Slight overshoot in low light preview
Autofocus repeatability - average acutance difference with best focus: low light 4.15%, bright light 4.42%

Flash

The Motorola Droid Turbo 2 comes with a dual-LED flash and DxOMark scored the camera 80/100 overall for its flash performance. 

Pros: 

  • Good exposure with and without additional light sources
  • Good detail preservation
  • Generally accurate white balance and good color rendering

Cons:

  • Strong chroma noise visible in the corners
  • Strong luminance shading without additional light source
  • Slight color shading

Overall DxOMark Mobile Score for Photo: 84 / 100


Video Capture

DxOMark engineers put phone cameras through a similarly grueling set of video tests, and you can read their full findings on the DxOMark website here. Overall, DxOMark found the Motorola Droid Turbo 2's video footage to be well stabilized, with good good detail and colors. White balance and exposure adapt quickly to changing scenes but the AF shows some instabilities and noise becomes visible in low light. 

Pros: 

  • Detail is well preserved
  • Good stabilization
  • Fast white balance and exposure adaptation
  • Pleasant color rendering

Cons: 

  • In low light, strong luminance noise and chroma noise is visible, particularly in the corners
  • Autofocus instabilities, difficulties when tracking objects
  • In low light, the autofocus is sometimes slow to trigger after a scene change

Overall DxOMark Mobile Score for Video: 84 / 100

DXOMark Mobile Score
84

DXOMark Image Quality Assessment

With a DxOMark Mobile score of 84 the Motorola Droid Turbo 2 achieves the forth highest score in the DxOMark smartphone rankings, being beaten only by the Sony Xperia Z5, Samsung Galaxy S6 and google Nexus 6P.

The DxOMark team liked the Droid's good exposure and pleasant color. In bright light they measured low noise levels and very good image detail. However, they also noted a loss of detail in low light conditions and chroma noise when shooting with flash. The latter is also noticeable in low light video but general video quality is good, with very efficient digital image stabilization. For a more detailed analysis, visit www.dxomark.com.

Photo Mobile Score 84   Video Mobile Score 84
Exposure and Contrast 89   Exposure and Contrast 91
Color 84   Color 86
Autofocus 92   Autofocus 76
Texture 79   Texture 88
Noise 78   Noise 78
Photo Artifacts 82   Video Artifacts 91
Flash 80   Stabilization 78