Motorola Moto X Style preview and samples
The Moto X Style is Motorola's brand new flagship smartphone and replaces the 2014 edition of the Moto X. We've had a chance to try the new model before launch, and we took it out to capture a range of sample shots in varying light conditions.
In the camera department, the new model has received a complete overhaul and now comes with a Sony IMX 230 1/2.3-inch 21MP BSI CMOS sensor and a fast F2.0 lens. A dual-LED flash is on board as well. There's also a new imaging software feature, the user-activated night mode, which uses increased sensitivity to better expose very dark scenes and freeze motion and reduce the risk of image blur in low light. However, image size is reduced to 5MP. Images can be viewed and composed on a 5.7-inch quad-HD screen.
The two images below were taken in bright sunlight and as you can see with its 21MP image sensor the Moto X Style is capable of capturing impressive fine detail. Images are sharp but not over-sharpened. Some noise is visible in the blue sky but despite the high levels of detail and therefore presumably low levels of noise reduction, it is overall very well under control. Sharpness is generally good across the frame but our test unit shows some softness toward the top right corner.
Below you can see two more bright light samples. Again, they show impressive fine detail. Colors are pleasantly natural and exposure spot on.
The next two images were taken indoors which made the camera increase ISO to 80 and 250 respectively. White balance and color are very good under the partially artificial light. The ISO 80 shot still shows excellent detail. Some noise is creeping in in the mid-tones but is very well under control. The same is true for the ISO 250 image on the right that shows very good edge definition and decent detail for the light level it was taken in.
For the night shot below on the left the Moto X Style camera increases ISO to 500. There is some noticeable noise in the mid-tones but noise reduction and detail retention are very well balanced and there's a lot of detail in the brighter parts of this image. The auto white balance system is dealing very well with the different light sources as well. Shadow noise is getting stronger in the shot on the right but again, there's still a good amount of detail for a low light image.
The left image below was taken in pretty low light at dusk. Fine detail is clearly starting to suffer in these conditions but edge definition, exposure and color are all very good. ISO 2000 is as high as the camera will go in standard mode. As you would expect the image doesn't look great when viewed at 100% but is perfectly usable at web resolution or small printing sizes. In very low light it can also make sense to opt for the night mode which we have a closer look at further down the page.
We also had a quick look at some of the special modes in the camera app. As you can see below HDR mode is capable of recovering a good amount of clipped highlights while maintaining an overall natural tonality of the image. There is a very slight drop-off in sharpness but you'd only notice at a 100% view.
Night mode increases ISO to achieve faster shutter speeds and reduce the risk of image blur. When the standard mode gets to its maximum ISO 2000 sensitivity you can also achieve a brighter exposure in night mode which can go up further to ISO 2500. On the downside, image size is reduced to 5MP. For the night shot below standard mode used ISO 640 and a shutter speed of 1/24 sec. Night mode achieved a faster 1/24 sec by upping the ISO to 1000.
Panorama mode seems unchanged from previous Motorola models. It produces panoramas with very good stitching but the images are much smaller with less detail than some of the panorama functions on competing high-end models.
So far, so good
We did not have too much time with the new Motorola Moto X Style but we like what we have seen so far. Image detail in bright light is impressive, and in lower light a well-balanced approach to noise reduction means that a lot of detail is preserved while noise isn't getting too intrusive until the very highest sensitivity levels. We're looking forward to doing some more intense testing and putting the Moto X Style through our full review process soon.
I own it
I want it
I had it
Discuss in the forums
Tiffen Filters has announced a new collection of drone filter kits for the DJI Mavic Air, Mavic Zoom 2, Mavic Pro 2, and Inspire 2.
Lexar has announced a new flash drive that features a fingerprint reader to protect its content from unauthorised access.
Following the release of footage showing what kind of damage drones can do to airplanes, DJI has responded with a critical open letter.
The Pixii camera uses the display of your mobile device for image review.
Celebrity photographer Manfred Baumann has been using a pre-release version of ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2019, and in this article he shares his impressions of using the software.
As a stills camera the Fujifilm X-T3 is a pleasant update to one of our favorite APS-C cameras, significantly improving the autofocus. If you're interested in stills and video, though, it's knockout.
Photographer Peter Guttman was given some of Kodak's revitalized Ektachrome 100 film and took over Kodak Professional's Instagram page to share the images he captured.
We sat down recently with top Canon engineers to talk about the EOS R, and the delicate balancing act of experimenting with a new platform and the risk of alienating existing users.
Sony has updated its image sensor spec page and as expected, a few of the chips they make bear an uncanny resemblance to sensors found inside Fujifilm and Panasonic cameras.
This week Chris and Jordan are joined by renowned macro photographer Don Komarechka, who demonstrates a few simple techniques that can improve your macro photos in a big way.
The group that provides Canon users with programs to expand the feature set of their cameras has begun cracking the new EOS R mirrorless firmware.
The Pixel 3 represents another step forward in computational photography for Google's smartphone. We're just getting started with our testing – for now take a look at some sample images, including 'computational Raw' files available for download.
Lens Rentals Founder, Roger Cicala, has given the Canon EOS R one of his signature camera teardowns.
Nikon says firmware version 1.03 "Fixes an issue that in rare circumstances would delay the shutter release or the start of the autofocus operation."
The Kickstarter campaign for Yashica’s digiFilm Y35 camera has produced a wave of complaints about delays in shipping product as well as cameras that don’t work.
Pixelmator today released Pixelmator Pro 1.2 Quicksilver, a major update to its image editing app for Mac.
Although Raw performance of the EOS R is very similar to the 5D Mark IV, Canon's done some tweaking on the JPEGs - take a look at our studio scene to see for yourself.
If you've backed one of the company's crowdfunding projects, the reward will not arrive and you won't get your money back either as Meyer Optik Görlitz's parent company, Net SE, is completely dead.
The importance of APS-C, a future a7S model in development and why customers want two card slots – read our full interview with Sony's Kenji Tanaka.
Google's Super Res Zoom technology uses pixel-shifting methods to achieve zoom results comparable to some optical solutions. Google has published an in-depth explanation on its AI blog.
CyberLink has release the latest version of its photo editing and design program PhotoDirector.
Toy manufacturer Tomy has launched a no-battery-required smartphone printer that is remarkably like the one Holga has been promoting via a Kickstarter campaign but which is already available for $40/£39.
A handful of Sony users have noticed a particular model of SanDisk SD cards is showing errors when used with Sony a7 III camera.
The Fujifilm X-T3's 4K video more than lives up to its impressive specification, making it one of the most capable video cameras we've ever tested.
VSCO has made it easier to find the right presets for your photos with a few interface changes to its smartphone app.
TinyMOS is back with NANO1, an all-new astrophotography camera that's one-third the size of the TINY1 it announced three years ago.
Huawei's latest flagship device comes with the widest range of focal lengths of all current smartphones.
After shaking up the Lightroom ecosystem with Lightroom CC last year, Adobe has released version 2.0 of the cloud-centric photo organizer and editor. We look at new features like People View, how far Lightroom CC has come in its first year, and where Lightroom is headed.
Today, at Adobe MAX 2018, Adobe previewed Photoshop CC on iPad, a full-featured, desktop-class version of Photoshop for iOS.