The lower mid-range category in the smartphone market in India has a new entry this week, and it is the Huawei Honor 7X. Available for purchase from December 7 at a starting price of Rs 12,999 (for 4 GB RAM & 32 GB storage model), the Honor 7X is coming across as a competitive smartphone in its segment. We have already compared the Honor 7X with its smaller sibling, the Honor 6X, in terms of camera and performance earlier, it is now time to compare the latest Honor smartphone with the Moto G5S Plus in an extensive camera comparison. So let’s get on with it.
– Dual camera with 16 MP primary lens and 2 MP secondary lens
– Phase Detection Autofocus
– Wide aperture mode and Portrait mode
– 8 MP front camera
Moto G5S Plus
– Dual camera with two 13 MP lenses
– Aperture of f2.0
– Depth Enabled mode
– 8 MP front camera with f2.0 aperture
On to the images.
Daylight or Good Light Images
Daytime offers huge amount of natural light and while that is usually a good thing, it can also often pose a challenge with respect to the Exposure. If there is too much light coming towards the subject then it could risk over Exposure or lead to a burn effect.
At the same time, it is also an opportunity to be creative with the bright and shadowy areas, and to understand how well the camera is tuned to control various aspects of the lens and the sensor while capturing an image in the default Auto mode.
Here are a few examples from the Honor 7X and the Moto G5S Plus in DayLight condition.
In the above samples, there are certain aspects that are same throughout. The Honor 7X (on the left) displays better dynamic range (smaller difference between bright and shadowy areas in an image) especially in the 1st sample with nice colours, but the Moto G5S Plus (on the right) delivers punchier colours and it didn’t lose any detail even in the dark areas in the images. In fact, the G5S Plus manages to show better overall detail. For example, notice the small section of tiles under the sunlight in the 2nd sample as well as the sunlit wall in the 3rd sample (from the top) – in both samples, the sunlit areas presented from the G5S Plus display better detail and colour reproduction.
Winner: Moto G5S Plus
Night Time or Low Light Images
A situation which is universally regarded as inappropriate especially for capturing images through a mobile phone camera. Generally, the tiny lenses in smartphones simply struggle to capture enough light resulting in noise (or grain) in the images clicked in low light conditions. It does, however, also gives an opportunity to use the available light effectively.
Below are some samples in the Night or Low light condition.
In the night samples above, the Honor 7X manages to have a better control over the Exposure which is clear when we look at the passage way in the 1st and the 3rd samples. In these two samples, different elements within the passage way are more clearly visible from the Honor 7X’s camera compared to its competitor from Motorola. In the 2nd sample though, the Exposure is more or less same with the Moto G5S Plus only marginally keeping it higher. But in this particular instance, there’s nothing to complain really.
Still, we would like to highlight the fact that the slightly warmer feel in the G5S Plus images is actually closer to how the scene looked in reality. Furthermore, the G5S Plus once again retains overall better detail.
Winner: Moto G5S Plus, but the Honor 7X was closer in this category.
HDR (High Dynamic Range)
This is a photographer’s delight quite literally. HDR is a feature which has the capability to strike the perfect balance in the dynamic range between the dark and bright areas in an image. Functionally, in the HDR mode, a camera usually takes 3 pictures in fractions of a second that consist of 3 different lighting conditions (bright, normal, dark) and mixes them together to create a final photograph which represents the colour detail, in light and dark areas of an image, in a supposedly perfect output. Hence, depending on how much HDR has been performed, an image might look a bit unreal but mostly very good.
Let’s see a few HDR samples from the two handsets.
In the above HDR samples, the Moto G5S Plus delivers a more noticeable difference between the normal images and their respective HDR versions. And it continues to deliver colours with better contrast compared to the Honor 7X who produces relatively washed out colours. Although, we would like to point out that on its own, the Honor 7X camera generates quite good colours.
Winner: Moto G5S Plus
Manual Mode Images
A large number of smartphones also offer manual controls in their native camera app for the people who like to give their own touch to the light while capturing a scene. In this comparison, both smartphones offer manual controls for Shutter Speed, ISO, White Balance and Focus.
We have presented one sample from each camera clicked in the Manual mode (called Pro Photo in the Honor 7X and Professional Mode in the Moto G5S Plus).
In both the samples above, the image clicked in the Auto mode is on the left while the one clicked with the manual controls is on the right. To achieve images in the manual mode, we kept the ISO at 200 in both cameras whereas the Shutter Speed was 1/4000 of a second in the case of the Honor 7X and 1/4063 of a second in the Moto G5S Plus.
In both cameras, the image captured under manual control produces bluer sky and the building appears darker but the details are not lost. Let’s understand how these differences occur when we change certain settings in the camera.
In the case of the Honor 7X, the default ISO is at 50 and we changed it to 200 when we went manual. Increasing the ISO makes the scene brighter which means the lens take more light in. Likewise, if we decrease the ISO, the image will become darker. However, increasing the ISO also increases the risk of noise effect or the grain effect in the image. We can compensate this by changing other settings like the Shutter Speed to achieve a certain effect.
For this, we changed the Shutter Speed to 1/4000 of a second from its default setting which is 1/50 of a second. Remember that 1/4000 of a second is a faster shutter speed than the 1/50 of a second (simple math). On the contrary, this means we can achieve slower shutter speeds by going 1/30, 1/20… to up to 0.5, 1, 2 and 3 seconds. Basically it depends entirely on the camera manufacturer how much slower Shutter Speed they would like to offer. It is important to understand that slower Shutter Speed means that the Shutter remains open for a longer time, which means that 1 second Shutter Speed indicates that the Shutter remains open for 1 complete second. Also, the Shutter Speed is decreased in order to capture the movement of a person or an object (like a moving vehicle) in the span of time given to the Shutter to remain open (for example, 1 second, 2 seconds and so on).
Moving on to the Moto G5S Plus, the default ISO is at 101 (or 100) and we changed it to 200 (this means brighter images). But then in order to prevent the image from getting overexposed (more than required light), we increased the Shutter Speed from 1/1743 of a second to 1/4063 of a second (just like in the case of the Honor 7X above). Increasing the Shutter Speed means that the Shutter closes faster.
So, by changing different settings we can control the intake of light in different ways. Of course, playing with the manual controls require a lot of practice and it takes quite a good amount of time to become good at it. We would recommend our readers to regularly use manual settings if they intend to understand what various settings mean and do.
Winner: It is now time to declare a winner in the Manual category and it is the Moto G5S Plus. This handset managed to keep the edges of the building consistently sharp while we could notice some irregular softening of the edges of the building in the image taken from the Honor 7X.
Depth-of-field or Bokeh Images
Achieving depth-of-field or a Bokeh effect in an image is considered, sort of, a fine art in photography. Apparently, this is the best way to isolate the subject from its surroundings (which is the background usually). For this reason precisely, depth-of-field is largely used while clicking a person (or an object) by keeping him or her in focus and generally closer to the camera so that the out-of-focus background appears blurred.
Both smartphones, the Honor 7X and the Moto G5S Plus, have a secondary depth sensor which creates a depth-of-field effect. Note that the said effect is just an imitation of a true true depth-of-field effect and not the actual effect itself. This is because the secondary lens takes the help of the software to achieve this feat. In essence, a true depth-of-field (or Bokeh or Portrait) effect is achieved by the lens itself (the hardware).
And here’s the interesting part. This fake depth-of-field effect, in the Honor 7X, is achieved by increasing or decreasing the aperture size (from f0.95 to f16 respectively) which in turn increases or decreases the focus point while blurring everything else. Ideally, increasing the aperture size also leads to more light into the sensor resulting in brighter images. However, in the case of the Honor 7X, there’s no change in the light when we change the aperture. It remains same as in the default Auto mode. What changes is the focus area.
This is not an entirely accurate representation, or the usage, of the aperture. For example, Samsung Galaxy Note 8 with the larger aperture size of f1.7 (compared to f2.0 in G5S Plus and f2.2 in 7X) can produce brighter images than the two smartphones compared here. That’s why the Note 8 camera is also better in low light conditions.
On the other hand, the Moto G5S Plus does not indulge in such misleading trickery. It has a ‘Depth Enabled’ mode which simply gives freedom (a slider with the setting from 1 to 7) to change the size of the focus while blurring everything else around it. Suffice it to say that the fake Bokeh effect generated by the secondary lens in both handsets is hardly impressive.
Let’s take a look at the few samples.
It is clear from the above samples that the dedicated secondary lens meant to generate depth is not doing a good job at all. Especially in the 2nd and the 3rd images above, the blur effect is uneven and none of the two cameras comes out impressive.
On another note, the depth effect achieved in the images from the 1st sample in the group above is achieved by the primary lens and hence, is a correct representation of the depth-of-field or the Bokeh effect.
Winner: Honor 7X. Even when we have to declare a winner in this category, neither camera is good with this feature. In fact, we are sure that the secondary lens in both the Honor 7X and the G5S Plus is literally wasted.
The Panorama feature allows a person to cover a much larger area by stitching together a number of images (done by the software). Below is a Panorama image from each smartphone.
It does not take much effort to notice that the Moto G5S Plus is noticeably better in taking Panorama. The stitching, though not perfect, is smoother compared to what the Honor 7X came out with (broken partitions are clearly visible within the image). Also, the G5S Plus maintained the colours better.
Winner: Moto G5S Plus – far from perfect though. Remember that capturing a panorama requires the handset to be absolutely stable while it is rotated in one direction to capture multiple images in succession. Given that the two handsets were subjected to the same level of stability (images clicked by the same person), the Motorola has done a better job.
An important aspect of photography – taking images of self. The quality of the front camera in a smartphone plays a huge role in many people’s lives. So much so that their buying decision might depend on how good a particular phone is in taking selfies.
Let’s take a look.
Under the broad daylight, both cameras majorly suffer from too much Exposure as the light in the background shows. Yet, the Moto G5S Plus does a better job in highlighting (or isolating) the person from the overexposed background. Also, the G5S Plus offers the HDR option in the front camera too and while it is hardly impressive, the HDR mode marginally lowered the Exposure in the background.
Winner: Moto G5S Plus.
If not for the Depth-of-field category, the Moto G5S Plus would have clean swept the floor against the Honor 7X. The Moto G5S Plus produces colours with better saturation and contrast as well as maintains the details better in the images taken in different lighting conditions. However, both handsets suffer from over exposure consistently and even though the G5S Plus produces sharper looking images compared to the Honor 7X, images from both cameras tend to display soft edges around various objects.
However, one camera phone is better than the other, and in this case, it is the Moto G5S Plus which is the winner of our comparison.
Share your opinion as well with us on which smartphone you find better in taking images in the comment section below.