During the press presentation of the Motorola Edge 30 Ultra, we had the opportunity to take some shots with its new Samsung HP1 sensor. Here is the result.
Motorola has recently introduced three new smartphones to complete its Edge range. On paper, the most interesting of the three is called the Edge 30 Ultra, for the simple and good reason that it is the first phone with a 200 megapixel sensor. We tested it for a few hours.
This is a phone with a perfect standard design for its price, with attention to design in the choice of materials, the satin coating on the back or the curvature of its edges. But what interests us today are the photo qualities of its main sensor.
Isocell HP sensor season 1
Before moving on, let’s wrap up the presentations. This is a Samsung S5KHP1 sensor, commonly referred to as the Isocell HP1. This is the first generation of sensors with this definition made by the Korean giant.
With a size of 1/1.22 inch, it integrates photosites with a size of 0.64 µm and can combine 16 of them at once to produce 12 megapixel photos, with pixels in the size of 2 .56 µm. In the Motorola edge 30 ultra, it is accompanied by a lens with an aperture of f / 1.9, a field of view of 82.3 degrees, optical stabilization and autofocus starting at 14 cm.
Our first shots
First observation that immediately jumps to the eye: the 200 megapixels in no way revolutionizes smartphone photography. We expect it, we can now confirm it.
Let’s make one point clear: the Motorola edge 30 ultra takes pretty decent photos. But we had a hard time recognizing the contribution of the 200 megapixel when we first held it.
We can never be reminded that today, smartphone photography is less about the hardware than about the quality of the algorithms that support it. This new Moto may be equipped with a new sensor, we found defects in the photos that we already know in other phones of the brand: small colorimetry problems, especially in the blues , red or skin tones.
If we compare it with a competitor, the Oppo Find X5 Pro, which, let’s remember, is also more expensive, we can see that the sharpness and HDR management are even worse.
Here is the HDR and the details of the background or the car.
Oppo Find X5 Pro
The Motorola Ultra
Here in the picture, look at my hair or the sun to the right of my face.
The Find X5 Pro
The Motorola Ultra
The interest of such a paper sensor, in theory, is to take shots at night with less noise. Regardless, here’s what it does in very little light.
The result is very faithfully controlled, although we see some corners of the photo that are slightly exposed and a little lack of sharpness here and there, the picture taken as a whole is aesthetic. Motorola might have something to do with it.
One of the promises of sensors with more pixels is that you can use an ultra-definition mode, which does not combine pixels and therefore allows, in theory, a higher level of detail. This allows especially forgrowerof the image, ie cropping within the image if desired.
Two concerns come to prevent this use: the first is that the gain in terms of sharpness, that is to say the fineness of the details of a picture, is not very clear, especially on the edges of the image.
Then the high definition mode seems to lose some of the algorithms of the normal shooting mode. Here is an example below, where we can clearly see that the HDR is collapsed.
12 MP mode
200 mpx mode (can be compressed if the technical director of the site is not angry)
Despite these few flaws, being able to crop photos more quickly is always a good thing and the presentation of the iPhone 14 Pro with its 48 Megapixel sensor will definitely push manufacturers to improve their algorithms to exploit it.
Note that the phone we took the photos above does not have the software version that Motorola will have at the time of sale. Clearly, we can expect improvements from here to release.
The number of pixels does not make the photophone
Overall, the 200 megapixel sensor used here by Motorola doesn’t really add to the photography experience of a flagship. The colorimetry, the sharpness, the dynamics management, everything seems a little behind the competition. Even the fact of cropping the image by taking shots in the highest definition leaves us a little wondering, because this mode leads to a decrease in overall quality and an uncontrolled HDR . The level of detail that we must recover is not justified by the addition of such technology.
Finally, this new sensor proves an immutable rule of smartphone photography: the number of pixels does not determine the quality. Remember that the iPhone, until the recent iPhone 14 Pro, monopolized the ranking of the best photophones with a 12 megapixel sensor.
This article was written as part of a press trip organized by Motorola.