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Moto X Camera Update: New vs. Old Software Photo Comparison (Updated)

moto x camera update

A new software update is rolling out to the T-Mobile Moto X variant starting today with a focus on improving the camera experience. We have had the pleasure of testing the software for about a week now, and have results to share with you below. With two Moto X phones in house, we had the opportunity to take a variety of shots in a variety of settings with a tripod to get a bunch of before and after photos. One thing is clear, the camera is certainly improved post-update. 

Here are the changes according to Motorola:

  • Enhanced auto-white balance performance and color accuracy
  • Improved exposure in outdoor and backlit scenes
  • Reduced noise in low light scenes

From our test results, you’ll see a pretty dramatic increase in color accuracy after the update. Photos no longer look like they have a brownish tint and actually show color where you wouldn’t have seen it previously. Take for example the picture below of a spare bedroom in my house that shows a white dresser up against a dark blue wall. The new camera software picks up the blue tint behind the white dresser, while the old camera shows the wall as almost a grey or charcoal color, along with a yellowish dresser. You’ll see the change in most outdoor shots as well, with sky looking bright blue and green shining through on vegetation, where the old camera software left the sky looking pale and greenery looking lifeless.

The only area I noticed a decline in performance was in extreme low light. I found that the new camera software couldn’t quite display as much of a dark closet, but I think I can live with the color accuracy improvements over extreme low light performance decreasing. How often do you need to take a picture in a completely dark room?

Other than that, I can’t wait for this to rollout to everyone.


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UPDATE:  A number of readers asked to see how the camera update makes the Moto X compare to other top devices. Here are some tripod shots with the Moto X up against the Galaxy S4 (Google Play Edition) and the LG G2 (international variant).

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So what do you think? Solid improvement?

  • James B

    So does anyone leave HDR in auto? My Moto X seems to take better pictures with HRD off.

  • chris125

    Any word on if this will be coming to the maxi? I think that would make it a huge check in favor of the maxx with that huge battery and the much improved camera software

  • Tim Swann

    Kellex, can you take the GS4 pictures again for the comp using the 16:9 ratio? It looks like you have it set to the 4:3 ratio which takes 13MP pictures. If you use the 16:9 ratio it takes 10MP pictures btw. Someone I work with has the GS4 and we went through the settings and saw that.

  • Rob

    Looks so much better and not washed out.

  • Hunter Stephenson

    Does anyone know if they have ripped the new camera .apk yet? I would really like to install it on my verizon moto x, but I don’t wanna wait until an upgrade b/c i’ll loose my root and write access. any links would be appreciated!

  • Rafael

    Impressed, in some shots (not all of them) it showed better colors than the other devices! Take for example the last comparison where the LG and S4 show overexposed colors in the objects behind the windows (the fence for example), or the comparison of the purple flower. Motorola is doing it right, and I’m buying this phone at whatever cost.

  • Pedro

    From the last set, you should not use your tripod during an earthquake. I almost got dizzy.

  • bluemon

    Keep in mind the Galaxy s4 camera is from a google play edition. Not touch wiz.

  • Gabriel Ionescu

    I’m not impressed at all. They seem to have raised the contrast and saturation and changed the white balance towards blue/violet.

  • n900mixalot

    None of this is helpful without an histogram. At least that what we could see what kind of levels the camera is shooting at so we can tell whether or not it is the camera or the software.

    All I see is purple.

    • dizel123

      If you can’t tell how good a picture is by looking at it with your own eyes and need some kind of chart to tell you if its ok, then you shouldn’t be looking at pictures. Ever.

      • n900mixalot

        A histogram is not just some kind of chart. This is why people like you need to get iPhones and stop trying to be smarter than you really are.

        If you can’t take the time to pull your finger out of your ass so you can Google a damn histogram, you can eat a bowl of hair.

        • dizel123

          Sorry…its a graph not a chart. Minor technicality. You still have no business looking at pictures because not only are you blind, but you’re a idiotic snobby little bitch. This why people like you need to stay off the internet.

          • n900mixalot

            People like me just know how to use the internet to LEARN about stuff like how histograms work and why they are VERY important to photography.

          • dizel123

            And people like me have the intelligence and self awareness to look at a picture and know if I like it without having to google it. But hey, if you need someone else to tell you whether or not you can like something, then more power to you. Whatever works for you.

  • TalkingMoose

    It’s pretty clear that none of the cameras do it all very well. Each seems to work best under some conditions, while not as good in others. The perils of automatic exposure.

  • chris125

    Well glad they improved it but I will still hold off until this makes it to verizon before deciding about buying. This was the only thing holding me back before.

  • MarkHammond

    Thank you Droid Life. This is exactly the kind of information we as consumers can use when selecting a phone. My wife and I currently have HTC DNA’S. Both have had probelms. I’d love to go back to MOTO but the crappy camera wasn’t worth it. Now that I know MOTO is working the camera issues, I may just go buy a couple.

  • Al-Burrit0

    Wow that is a great improvement. IMO the G2 did slightly better than the rest except for the picture in the room, the Moto X actually captured the light and colors better IMO.

  • shelderman

    Looks like i just found my new phone!!!

  • LionStone

    Wow! Niice update! Moto X wins!

  • jnt

    Can you add some shots with a flash? That’s where Moto’s really been weak before and was especially horrendous on the X, while the S4 and now the 5S really excel with these shots. I’d rather take a flash-based shot that turns out crisp than a low-light shot that sucks a little bit less than other phone’s low-light shots…

  • flosserelli

    Contrast and dynamic range are much better. Good job, Motorola

  • Brendan

    Can we see a low light vs the HTC One? Pretty sure the One will win, but I want to compare noise and color accuracy in both.

  • Tim

    Very big improvement in the Moto X…Some pics I think the X is best in others very close. The very last pic with the book shelf I think the X is by far the best. Just look at the books, you can see every books color much sharper than the other two. Now Motomaker to Verizon hurry up!

  • Gnex

    Could this be ported to the Verizon version? Me gusta.

  • Love my Moto X. Thanks for the update, Moto!

  • Excelsior1021

    Any word on whether or not the new Verizon Droids will also get this update? It would make sense as they all have the same hardware.

  • guest

    im not a camera geek ..for me all look good! with subtle differences ..if I had to look at each picture separately and told that this is what you will be getting with this camera i would be happy any of these phone’s as far as camera quality is concerned ..

  • guest

    s4 camera is superior

    • jbdan

      Agreed, although it’s superiority might just end there..

  • jbdan

    Thanks for the great comparo’s, nicely done. This might be the hair that broke the camels….The X is teasing me to no end..

  • Dominic Powell

    The last photo with the curtains I would personally take the Moto X shot over the other two. but I think the GS4 wins two out of the 4 the G2 wins 1 and the Moto X wins 1

  • Mordecaidrake

    All look good but looks like the S4 wins

  • ßen Murphy

    S4 wins any day, any night.

  • Jessie Cochran

    Ok so when is it coming to the ATT Version of the X

  • Kenny G

    That last photo doesn’t look good at all. What happened to the flash?

    • Justtyn Hutcheson

      From that distance, flash wouldn’t overpower the natural light, so its a good thing none of them went off. It looks like the Moto X used its HDR mode, while the other two did not, which is a good decision on the part of the X imho. The next to last photo the X and S4 are behind the G2 slightly with a cool and warm cast respectively, but all three nail the exposure.

  • chris420o

    After the ny giants broke my heart yesterday…i decided to take a lil trip to at&t by me…i said this in another article but i was truly impressed with the feel of the moto x…what a great design its like the nexus ive always wanted…i watched an hd trailer on youtube and it looked great to me not sure the hate on the screen yes 1080p would be nice but to save bat ill take 720 on a tiny screen any day…4.7 is the best screen size(i loved the gnex 4.65) and it felt so well built and it had weight to it which i love and was pretty surprised…feels better then other phones ive handled even the htc one(which i really like)…and the colors are def something u wanna see in person i actualy liked the red better in person then on motomaker were its very bright looking…moto maker needs to get to vz asap..this article takes the cake this will be my next phone(less vz gets nexus which i doubt)…or make the dev $449 woo ill buy ina heart beat