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The Moto Z main camera is 13MP with larger-sized 1.12um pixels, and includes a f/1.8 aperture with optical image stabilization and laser autofocus. Its quality is certainly a step up from the Moto X series.
The front-facing camera is 5MP and with an f/2.2 aperture and 1.4um big pixels for better low light and a real LED flash on the front. That's becoming a bigger and bigger feature for selfie-craving phone owners.
We no longer need to take, re-take, and re-re-take photos before giving up – the Moto Z comes through with colorful shots in the daytime and, at times, above average low light photos, too.
OIS and zero shutter lag make this a fine smartphone camera during daylight hours, one that can compete with Samsung and LG, in fact. Well, if you're not zooming in to 100% crop to nitpick.
Even with OIS and zero shutter lag here, however, photos like to blur with a modest amount of movement in dark situations. Stills require still subjects in low light.
We like the default Moto Z camera app better.
The good news is that Motorola has overhauled its camera software. Gone is the awful, hidden dial that housed all of the controls. New to the app is a Professional mode for fine-tuning the ISO, white balance aperture and other manual settings. Pro-level tweaks work for both the back and front cameras.
In additional to Professional mode, there are other basic modes of Panorama, Video and Slow Motion. Video can be shot at 4K UHD at 30fps and 1080p at 60fps or 30fps. Slow motion on the rear camera records at 120fps, but brings the resolution down to 720p.
It's still not as intuitive or robust as Samsung and LG's feature-loaded default camera apps, and we hate the way you swipe from the edges to review photos (it leads to many error-filled back button presses). But we love the returning "Quick capture" gesture in which you can twist the phone twice to launch the camera app and, within the app, perform the same gesture to switch between the front and back camera.
By default, the camera shoots in 16:9 and 9.7MP, but you can (and should) be change to the max 13MP, even though it's a 4:3 aspect ratio. Samsung's top-tier phones use the same boxy frame by default. That's the resolution and aspect ratio we used on our camera samples gallery on the next page.
The Moto Z can't quite compare to the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge in low light, but, as you can see, the quality and new app are a step in the right direction for Motorola in good light.
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