DxOMark Mobile Report: Motorola Moto X Style
The Moto X Style is Motorola's latest flagship smartphone, replacing the 2014 edition of the Moto X. In the camera department the new model uses a 1/2.4-inch 21MP BSI CMOS sensor that is combined with a fast F2.0 lens and a dual-LED flash. On the software side of things there is a new user-activated night mode that uses higher ISOs and is therefore capable of better exposing very dark scenes and freeze motion in low light, albeit at a reduced resolution. As before, the video mode can record 4K footage. Images and video can be viewed on a 5.7-inch quad-HD screen. Please also have a look at our Motorola Moto X Style preview and image samples.
With a DxOMark Mobile score of 83 the Motorola Moto X Style achieves the third highest score in the DxOMark smartphone rankings, slotting in right behind the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and in front of the Sony Xperia Z3+. The DxOMark team reports that the Moto X Style images show "very good detail preservation and low noise in outdoor conditions, good exposure, accurate white balance and generally pleasant colors". They also found that the "autofocus is accurate in all lighting conditions".
On the downside, "flash images without an additional light source are slightly over-exposed", additional tungsten light when shooting with flash can lead to a "slightly unstable autofocus", some highlight clipping can be observed and "in outdoor conditions, blue sky saturation is sometimes visible."
When shooting in video mode the Moto X Style shows "good detail preservation in both bright and low light conditions, one of the best stabilization results to date and fast white balance and exposure adaptation." However, "some autofocus instability in indoor conditions and noise in the corners in low light conditions" were observed as well.
Color, Exposure and Contrast
The DxOMark team found that when shooting with the Motorola Moto X Style "white balance behavior is good, pictures are well exposed and colors are generally pleasant." On the downside, some highlight clipping is noticeable.
Overall DxOMark awarded the Motorola Moto X Style scores of:
- 4.6 out of 5 for Exposure
- 4.5 out of 5 for White Balance accuracy
- 3.8 out of 5 for Color shading in low light*
- 3.0 out of 5 for Color shading in bright light*
- 4.2 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 Moto X Style images show "very good detail preservation in outdoor conditions" and that "noise is barely visible in outdoor conditions". "In low light detail is still visible" but " some noise is visible in low light" as well.
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.
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.
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 and Detail Perceptual scoring
- Texture (bright light): 5.0 out of 5
- Texture (low light): 3.5 out of 5
- Noise (bright light): 4.3 out of 5
- Noise (low light) 3.2 out of 5
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 Moto X Style are shown below:
- In outdoor shots blue sky saturation is sometimes visible
- Color fringing is noticeable in scenes with high contrast
- Ringing is slightly visible
- Sharpness 4.3 out of 5
- Color fringing 3.5 out of 5
- Ringing center 8.6%
- Ringing corner 2.5%
- Max geometric distortion -0.2%
- Luminance shading 16.8%
Distortion and Chromatic Aberrations
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 Moto X Style performs reliably in all light conditions. The overall score is 98/100 in bright light and 79/100 in low light.
- Accurate autofocus in all lighting conditions
- Fast autofocus in bright light conditions
- Slight overshoot during preview
DxOMark scored the Motorola Moto X Style 76/100 overall for its flash performance, which is average among the current generation of top-end smartphones.
- Accurate white balance
- Autofocus is slightly unstable with additional tungsten illuminant
- Without any additional light sources flash images are slightly over-exposed
- Strong chromatic noise visible in the corners
- Some slight color shading is visible, pink on the left and green on the right
Overall DxOMark Mobile Score for Photo: 83 / 100
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 Moto X Style's video footage to show good detail in both bright and low light but strong noise to be visible in low light shooting.
- Good detail preservation in both bright and low light conditions
- Good stabilization, one of the best results to date
- Fast white balance and exposure adaptation
- Some autofocus instability in indoor conditions
- Strong noise is visible in the corners in low light conditions
- Some frame skipping occurred in one video
Overall DxOMark Mobile Score for Video: 83 / 100
DXOMark Image Quality Assessment
With 83 points, the Motorola Moto X Style achieves the second highest DxOMark Mobile score in the DxOMark smartphone rankings, slotting in right behind the Samsung Galaxy S6 and in front of the Galaxy Note 4. The DxOMark team found the Moto X Style images to show very good detail in bright light, with good exposure and white balance. Additionally the autofocus worked reliably in all light conditions. However, some flash images can be over-exposed and highlight clipping can be visible in high-contrast scenes.
Detail in video mode is equally good and the testers were impressed by the Moto Style's video stabilization and fast white balance and exposure adaptation. However, noise creeps in when recording in lower light. For a more detailed analysis, visit www.dxomark.com.
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