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Moto X to feature PureView-like oversampling for crisp videos, and other rumors

According to Taylor Wimberly, the upcoming Moto X’s camera will feature 1.4 micron sensor pixels and an oversampling technology that combines several pixels for optimal video clarity.
July 31, 2013
Eric Schmidt talking on Moto X

Eric Schmidt talking on Moto X

Ready for your daily dose of Moto X leaks, neatly served in bite-sized chunks by Taylor Wimberly?

Today’s leak involves the phone’s camera, which is widely expected to be a 10MP model. We’ve heard before rumblings about the camera taking great shots in low light pictures, though we could only speculate how that image quality would be achieved.

Taylor Wimberly, to whom pretty much everyone now looks for insider information on the Moto X, has just supplied a few more details about the camera technology on Motorola’s shiny new device:

  • Pixel size is 1.4 microns, which is better than the 1.1 microns pixels on the Galaxy S4, but nowhere near the 2 microns Ultrapixels.
  • The Clear Pixel camera will feature a 4XHD video capture mode, which combines information from four pixels from the sensor to create one sharp, clear pixel in the video.
  • Video can be recorded at 60fps and played back at 30fps in slow motion.
  • The Moto X will feature three microphones for what Wimberly calls “3D audio recording”.

Okay, let’s try to make some sense of this laundry list. First, the Clear Pixel camera that is supposed to perform great in low lighting. Clear Pixel refers to an RGBC sensor, that features an ultra light-sensitive clear “filter”, in addition to the conventional red, green, and blue ones. Thanks to the clear filter, an RGBC sensor can take better noise-free images even when the light is less than ideal.

The 1.4 micron dimension of the sensor pixels tells us that Motorola looked to strike a balance between getting enough light on each pixel (the larger the pixel, the more light it can capture) and cramming enough pixels in the sensor. For context, HTC opted for the large 2 micron pixels it calls Ultrapixels, but that resulted in the sensor having just 4MP in total.

4XHD video capture mode – it looks that Motorola borrowed a technique from Nokia’s arsenal – oversampling. The technique involves combining the information gathered from four physical pixels from the sensor into one final virtual pixel. The idea is to offer better video quality with less noise and artifacts, at the cost of reducing video resolution. So with 4XHD mode on, the Moto X will presumably record video at 2.5MP, which is still a bit higher than Full HD.

The 60fps recording and the 3D audio bits are pretty much self-explanatory. 24 hours left to go…