News by Andrew Kameka on Thursday August 08, 2013.
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What heck is a Clear pixel? It's a camera sensor designed to improve lowlight photography, and it's one of the hallmark features of the Moto X. A Clear pixel is designed to increase light capture and motion stability, something that the Moto X needs to regulate wisely because its software doesn't support manual controls for brightness, exposure, or much else.
Motorola is one of the few companies that doesn't have advanced controls for using its camera software. HTC, Samsung, and LG all have apps that allow the user to manually adjust brightness, exposure, and white balance. Having those controls is important because a camera is not always right about how much light to capture or what kind of color tone is right for a photo. There are times when the person using the camera knows better than an algorithm how a photo should be taken. The Moto X does not grant complete control for those situations.
On the other hand, perhaps that's a good thing, at least for some people. Smartphone cameras are generally used in situations in which someone simply wants to open a camera app and take a picture. The Moto X specializes in that. Motorola includes a feature that provides fast access to the camera. When enabled, a user can flick his or her wrist twice to jump straight into the camera app. Shaking the phone side-to-side will not suffice. Rotating the X twice as if tightening a screw or shaking a tambourine will open the camera app and take a photo with a single tap. There will be no controls for tuning an image, nor will there be any modes for specific camera styles or corrections like LG and Samsung have introduced in recent years. The Moto X taps a screen to take a picture and little else. The best a user can do is utilize the post-photo editing features of the Gallery application.
A Moto X can do the following:
- Use HDR to mix three different photo settings into one image to create a more dynamic picture.
- Take a panoramic image to capture more of a landscape like a mountain or skyline.
- Take multiple photos in succession by holding a finger down on the screen.
- Take a photo while recording a video by tapping on screen.
- Zoom in on an image by dragging a finger up vertically.
- Record a slow motion video without audio.
- Include GPS location of a picture's hidden metadata so photos can be plotted on a map.
Motorola designed the camera user interface to be incredibly simple. The end result is an oversimplification for many users but may be right for others. Photo and video samples of the results are available here in our full Moto X review, and the camera interface can be seen in the video below.
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.