Lumia 650 vs. Moto G4


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Oct 9, 2012
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I've been using a Lumia 650 and Moto G4 as my main phones for a few weeks, and have taken many photos with both. Many reviewers have stated that the image quality of the Moto G4 (none plus model) is a vast improvement over the Moto G 3[SUP]rd[/SUP], which surprised me as both use the same IMX214 sensor. I would certainly expect the Moto G4 camera to be better than the one on the Lumia 650 considering it cost ?150, whereas my Lumia 650 was only ?75 on offer (half the price of the G4, normal RRP ?99).

I'll be comparing 7 separate images from both cameras to see how they performin like for like situations. This will focus on the main photo camera only, I will not be including front facing or video recording samples, but I can tell you that video recording is much better on the Moto G4 due to Full HD capture (Lumia 650 is limited to 720p).

The main specs for both cameras:

Lumia 650: 8MP, Sensor Size: 1/4 inch (pixel size 1.12 um), Aperture f/2.2,Focal length: 28mm
Moto G4: 13MP, Sensor Size: 1/3.06 inch (pixel size 1.12 um), Aperture f/2.0,Focal length: 28mm

The Moto G4 camera specs look better than the Lumia 650 specs. In theory, the Moto G4 camera should capture more detail due to having a higher resolution with the same pixel size (the sensor is larger), and it should also be cable to capture more light for better low-light photography due to having a larger aperture.

All images were taken with HDR off and on Auto settings, unless otherwise stated.

Click on the comparison titles to be taken to the OneDrive folder that containsthe full resolution photos.

1. Indoors, medium daylight, coke bottle, withtap to focus set to the coke bottle.

Indoor, Medium Light.jpg

Both photos look similar at first glance, however when viewing up close it's clear the Moto G4 has struggled with dynamic range at the brighter end. The white and red colours of the coke bottle are over-exposed, with the red appearing pink, the white and orange lip-balm is also over-exposed. The Moto G4 photo is also severely lacking in detail when compared to the Lumia 650 shot, any texture in the scene (see desk-top) has been blurred away by aggressive noise reduction.

The Lumia 650 easily beats the Moto G4 in this shot.
2. Red flower close-up, in full sun, all on Auto settings and Auto focusFlower Macro, Full sun.jpg

The Moto G4 struggled to focus correctly on the flowers. Macro photography is difficult on the Moto G4, even when using tap-to-focus, it often locks when its out-of-focus. I did manage to get an in-focus shot after a few minutes oftrying though.

Both cameras struggled with the bright red colour of the flowers in full sun. A lot of the colour variance has blended into one colour on the both images, with the Moto G4 retaining slightly more detail in this area. However, the Moto G4 has completely messed up the colours. The flower should be bright red, not pink/purple, and the greenhouse should be green, not blue.

The Lumia 650 wins this purely on its ability to capture the correct colours, despite having slightly less detail.

3. Garden 1, good light, sun directly in front of camera lens, all on Autosettings and Auto focus

Garden 1.jpg

At first glance, the images appear fairly similar to each other, however, there are multiple issues with the Moto G4 image. Firstly, dynamic range is very poor, with the sky, gazebo roof and white flowers being almost completely blown-out (solid white) and the darker areas being crushed to almost pure black. There are also issues with detail being blurred out by noise reduction, notice that there is much more detail captured in the yellow flower petals on the Lumia 650 shot. The Moto G4 also has a very slight purple tinge to the image (noticeable on the trees in the background, which should appear green, as in the Lumia 650 image).

Neither image is perfect, but the Lumia 650 has the edge with wider dynamic range, less aggressive noise reduction, and truer colours.

4. Garden 2, good light, all on Auto settings and Auto focus

Garden 2.jpg

The Lumia 650 has some issues with the brighter parts of the image being slightly more blown-out than those in the Moto G4.

The Moto G4 is the opposite, with the brighter parts being less over-blown, but the darker parts of the image are almost devoid of any detail at all.

The Lumia 650 image is easily the better of the two, there is far more detail captured in the darker areas. Clearly dynamic range is not one of the Moto G4’s strengths.

5. Garden 3, good light, Auto settings, Auto focus

Garden 3.jpg

The Moto G4 has made a mess of this shot. The entire scene is too bright which has made the path almost completely bleached out (it should be grey). Other bright parts of the image are also blown out completely. There is a good amount of detail in the darker areas.

The Moto G4 also has an odd blue/purple tinge to some of the darker parts of the image. The shed is dark brown in real life, but appears purple on the Moto G4 shot.

6. Garden 3, good light, forced HDR / Rich Capture, Auto settings, Auto focus

Garden 3 HDR.jpg

This is the same scene as the previous image, but with HDR forced on. Rich capture “choose the best lighting” has not been altered manually.

The Moto G4 creates a much better image with HDR on when compared to the imagewith it forced off. Some of the highlights to the plants on the left hand side of the garden are still a bit over-blown, and some of the colours still havethe odd purple/blue tinge to them.

The Lumia 650 image is almost identical to the Non-HDR image, but dynamic range was great in the Non-HDR image to start with. There is just a slight boost in brightness to the darker areas.

Both phones captured this scene well with HDR enabled, but the Lumia 650 edges it with colours that are true to real life.

7. Garage, poor light, Auto settings, Auto focus

Garage, Low Light.jpg

The Moto G4 is a poor performer in low light. This has been a constant issue while I have been using the handset, with most indoor shots appearing blurry due to over-aggressive noise reduction, and images in darker scenes being almost unusable due to the lack of detail captured. This is a particularly bad example though for the Moto G4, it is totally under-exposed, which might be due to the yellow high-visibility jacket confusing the software.

The Lumia 650 is also no power-house when it comes to images captured in low light. It doesn’t hold a candle to the images that can be captured in the same conditions by the Lumia 830 and Lumia 735. However, it is clearly significantly better at capturing this scene when compared to the Moto G4. The Lumia 650 image is vastly more detailed and brighter, and has easily created a usable shot. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the Moto G4, which has struggled to pick up any detail at all in the darker areas of the image.

So there we have it. The Moto G4 looks better on paper, but in reality it captures images with poor dynamic range(without HDR enabled), it has overly aggressive noise reduction in anything but perfect conditions, and it’s almost entirely useless when the lighting isn’t optimal. Of course, you can get the Moto G4+ which has an upgraded sensor and laser focus, but that phone costs ?200>?230, more than twice the price of the Lumia 650 in the UK, which pushes the Moto G series into the mid-high end bracket (where I personally think it does not belong).

I actually think that the Moto G4 is possibly even worse than its predecessor. The Moto G 3rd doesn't have a great camera, but I had far more issues with the G4 than I ever had with the 3rd, especially where dynamic range is concerned.

The Lumia 650 easily dominates the Moto G4 in general photography then, despite its small, low resolution sensor. It’s just a shame that the SD212 in the Lumia limits the video recording to 720p, as that is one area where the Moto G4 is significantly better.
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New member
Mar 15, 2013
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I didn't read the 100% of your comparison but I imagine the results (Lumia is Winner) and I tell you that because I even can tell you that my Lumia 640XL which is my secondary device (main is an iPhone 6s) can win over the iPhone, the only thing I don't like of the Lumia is that it is Sloooooow to shot and lacks of physical shutter.

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