Features

Compared to some competitors the Moto X Style comes complete with a concise imaging feature set but all the important and most used functions, such as HDR or panorama mode, are there and on the new model Motorola has added a couple of new software functions as well. 'Night mode' can be manually activated and is useful when faster shutter speeds are needed in low light, reducing the risk of camera shake. In extreme situations it is also capable of achieving slightly brighter exposures than standard mode but the difference is small.

The camera app is now also capable of reading bar codes and the front camera comes with a flash, giving the Moto X Style a distinct advantage when shooting selfies in low light. Unfortunately for more tech-minded mobile photographers, as we've already noted, Raw capture and full manual control are not possible.

HDR Mode

HDR mode works in a very similar way as on previous Motorola models. As you can see in the sample shots below, which were shot on a very bright and sunny day, it does a good job at recovering some lost highlight detail while maintaining a natural overall tonality. 

 HDR off
 100% crop
 HDR on
 100% crop

Occasionally HDR images can be a touch softer than the standard-mode equivalent but you would only notice at a 100% view. In some instances you'll notice some ghosting on moving subjects, as you can see in the following sample. It is generally well controlled though and usually only visible on subjects that are very small in the frame.

HDR on
100% crop

Panorama mode

Like HDR, panorama mode appears unchanged from previous Moto models. Panorama images are well-stitched but, compared to the competition from Apple or Samsung, they're small, with low levels of detail. At 2992 pixels on the horizontal axis the sample below is significantly smaller than a standard 21MP image that measures 5344 pixels across. 

Vertical panorama, 2992 x 928 pixels
100% crop

Panorama mode is best suited for static scenes as it is easily confused by moving subjects, which frequently lead to ghosting artifacts in the final image. There's no dynamic exposure feature either which means that if you start the panorama in a dark part of the scene the rest of the image could be overexposed or vice versa. Overall, if panoramas are a big part of your mobile photography the Moto stock camera app is not the best option and you might be better off with a specialist app from Google Play.

Vertical panorama, 2872 x 928 pixels
100% crop

Front Camera

The Moto X Style comes with a 5MP front camera that is capable of capturing a decent self-portrait in good light. Detail is very good for a what is essentially a selfie and Skype camera, and color and exposure tend to be spot on. As with the main camera on the rear of the phone, a steep tone curve can occasionally lead to blown out skin tones but overall the Moto X Style front camera does a good job. Thanks to the wide-angle lens it's also easy to fit more than one subject into the frame.

ISO 64, 1/781 sec
ISO 64, 1/1278 sec

As you would expect, image quality decreases as the light goes down but compared to many rivals the Moto X Style front camera holds up well in lower light and is capable of capturing decent exposures in pretty dim conditions. And it has another advantage over most of its direct rivals: a front flash. It is small and not very powerful but in very dark situations it can help you get an image where other smartphones would have long given up.

ISO 1600, 1/15 sec
ISO 320, front flash