Can the Moto X change smartphone photography as we know it?

by: Kristofer WoukJuly 18, 2013

new motorola logo

We’ve been hearing about the Moto X’s ‘Clear Pixel’ camera and how “It means ‘dark, blurry pics and lack of details’ will be things of the past…”, for a while now, but let’s dive in and see what this could really mean.

In a somewhat unusual turn for smartphone technologies, ‘Clear Pixel’ is actually remarkably descriptive of how the technology works. Digital camera sensors are made up of pixels that record how bright light coming into them is, but only this. To actually bring color into the image, these sensors are covered with a color filter array, which only let’s light of certain colors through. This is great for capturing color, but since it’s a subtractive process, the image is made darker.

Smartphone cameras traditionally use the Bayer RGBG filter, which is comprised of one red, one blue and two green filters. As Phone Arena mentions, it’s very possible that the Moto X could use the new Aptina Clarity+ sensor, which uses an RGBC layout: red, green, blue and clear (aka. no filter).

By using a pixel that does not filter the color spectrum, this setup allows more light into sensor. The end result? Well, hopefully better low light performance. Capturing more light also means that the camera shutter doesn’t need to stay open as long, meaning less of a chance for those blurry, out of focus pictures that most of us are all-too-familiar with.

Whether or not this new technology will be used in the Moto X remains to be seen, though previous rumors seem to point to a similar sensor at the very least. No matter what, we’re definitely excited to see what this could mean for the future of cameras in non-flagship devices.

Do you think that ‘Clear Pixel’ cameras are the way of the future? Or do you think it’s going to take more than just making one pixel transparent?

  • Richard Borkovec

    I’m getting really excited about this phone. Hopefully it won’t be priced too high, cause I’m ready for a new phone!

  • Rage06

    An Ultra Pixel competitor :D. Can’t wait for this phone to be officially announced!

  • Daury Morillo

    That’s cool, brands are getting their attention on cameras & speaker instead of just keep upgrading the Megapixel number on the camera.

  • jjordan

    I think motorola might be on to something. The only reason htc’s ultra pixel camera isnt very good is because of the 4 megapixels…megapixels do matter because the sharpness suffers. There is almost no zoom with htc’s camera

    • Android wins!

      Megapixels do matter as long, as they’re less than 8. After 8 megapixels, IMHO, the megapixel count doesn’t matter that much. If there would be an 8 Ultrapixel camera, I bet, it’ll beat any 13MP shooter on any smartphone around.

      • jjordan

        Yea I completely agree thats why I think if the clear pixel thing is anything like ultrapixel at 10MP this should be a real contender it will have y he low light performance we all want without sacrifing on sharpness

  • Balraj

    Did Google buy kodak camera company?
    If yes, then maybe they’re having something up their sleeves !!!

    • jb

      google teamed up with apple to buy patents from kodak when they went bankrupt

      • Balraj

        So may be there are using some of those patents in the motto x
        So it might be exciting
        Just 5 days to go

  • Tamadrummer94

    Price this thing at $299, have the purported “industry-leading battery life,” and I’ll buy a crate of these things.

    • Cao Meo

      We all want that, but is there any cheap Motorola flagship?

      We should not confuse Moto X and a Nexus even when Motorola is owned by Google.

  • Cao Meo

    I think when Larry Page says he is excited we can be too

  • Grman Rodriguez

    The dark picture taken with the “conventional” smartphone camera looks like a 5mp feature phone’s camera

  • alan

    IT’s COMPRISING, NOT COMPRISED OF. Of should never follow “comprised.” “Composed of,” yes.

    “Smartphone cameras traditionally use the Bayer RGBG filter, COMPRISING one red, one blue and two green filters.”

    Sorry, pet peeve XD

  • Luka Mlinar

    There seam to be about 3 or 4 new groundbreaking camera theologians on the way. They all seam awesome but until we get a chance to test them in a finished product it’s all a bunch of concepts to me.

    • andyroo77

      Seem. A seam is the stitching on your clothes.

      • Luka Mlinar

        Dude i speak 6-7 languages and English is not my native one. How about you?

  • Roberto Tomás

    so many new techs coming this/next year: focus-after-shot, super low light (clear pixels, other tech too), xenon flash, field-wise lytro, traditional lytro, 3d .. cameras are getting interesting.

  • EvenInTheDarkestHour

    Cool! Can’t wait to see this thing in action, and read a few reviews. Seems there is more than one way to improve SP shooters.