Motorola Moto E4 Review
A problematic shooter that sometimes satisfies and sometimes disappoints
Before we delve too far into image quality, it’s worth mentioning the camera interface. You won’t find a ton of shooting modes as one would expect with a Samsung device, for example, but rather a clean, straightforward setup. Tap the ellipses and you’ll find shooting modes tucked away in a small pop-up menu. Selecting the “Professional mode” brings up a striping of slider controls that line the screen vertically, offering adjustments in ISO, shutter speed, aperture, white balance, and manual focus. While easy to use and fun to play with, they would be put to better use on a more competent camera, as they can do little to remediate this sensor's issues.
Color accuracy is also quite inconsistent. In some situations, the color difference is negligible and appears generally accurate, albeit incompetent to properly reproduce gradients, due to its limited range – another factor leading to lost details. Other scenes betray the sensor's tendency to shoot with a cold blue tint. This seems to appear in various lighting situations and is especially noticeable with paler colors, especially yellows and greens. Even when colors are vibrant and well lit, you may find the sensor slightly over-compensating with tints from other colors, like yellow or red. Or you can easily run into another issue: over-exposure. Again, these issues vary by situation, and are not necessarily always a product of the lighting in the environment. Suffice it to say, image quality is a mixed bag.
Naturally these issues are exacerbated in low-light situations – noise especially. The use of flash does little to help, other than making your grainy shots brighter.
Predictably, the 5 MP selfie camera suffers the same issues, though such close-up portraits are less likely to reveal the aforementioned ills, especially with the aid of beautification mode. This feature smooths out wrinkles, evens out blemishes, and generally does a good job “beautifying” – even with the LED flash on, a feature we can also appreciate.
You’re afforded only one recording mode (1080p) and, much like the camera, noise and artifacts are common. Stabilization is also poor and shutter-roll is a given, producing pixelated pans and movement. Automatic re-focus is almost non-existent.