Motorola Moto X Style uses the Sony IMX230 camera sensor; when will we see it in an Xperia device?

by XB on 28th July 2015

in Imaging, Rumours


Moto_X_Style_White_Front_BackSony fans have been waiting for an improvement in the camera tech inside Xperia devices for a while now. Most of the recent flagship Xperia devices have used the Sony IMX220 camera sensor, but the latest Sony Exmor RS IMX230 CMOS sensor is yet to make an appearance. Ironically, the new camera chip has now appeared in a smartphone, a competitor, the Motorola Moto X Style that was announced earlier today.

The Moto X Style has a 21 MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture, 1.1 micron 1/2.4-inch sensor, Phase Detect Auto-Focus (PDAF) and 1080p/4K video HDR. DPReview has a number of sample picture of the new sensor, whilst DxoMark ranked the phone second only to the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. The sensor looks great so we look forward to seeing it in an upcoming Xperia device – the only question is how long will we have to wait?

Motorola Moto X Style sample images

(click for original image)

Moto X Style Sample Image_1

Moto X Style Sample Image_2

Moto X Style Sample Image_3

Moto X Style Sample Image_4

Moto X Style Sample Image_5

Thanks Sanjaya!

  • Rolf Martin Schmidt

    IMHO we will see a new Sony smartphone with that camera sensor at the IFA 2015 in Berlin.

  • smartuser8

    One word: COMPACT.

  • Jonfensu

    Anyway the performance will be worst due bad post processing

  • Guys, look, the Xperia C5 Ultra was stolen here in our country ( Brazil )

    http://nmobile.info/2015/07/prototipo-do-sony-xperia-c5-foi-roubado-e-foi-aqui-no-brasil/

  • lbwc

    Sony makes all of these great camera modules…and yet their flagships still get the same 2 year old EXMOR RS?! Sony is allowing their competitors surpass them and snatch up all their sales by allowing the competition to have the latest and greatest camera technology. Same tired old camera sensor from Z1 to Z4. No OIS, no laser autofocus…I own a Z1, love the design but hate the camera now.

  • Augustine Kau

    call me selfish, but I rly feel furious when other rival’s camera is btr than xperias’, esp when they are using Sony’s camera sensor. It is just doesn’t make sense :( I know sales of camera sensor is gaining a lot of profit but i just dont like it when other companies ‘stole’ Sony’s credit.
    Hopefully the next flagship will feature the best camera in the market will improve software and will knock all their rivals off the ‘top camera phones’ shelf

  • I’m not trying to sound like Timel but it is no use if they don’t fix the fucking Superior Auto mode it is terrible

  • Well motorola really inproved in camera department so you can’t apply that to motorola that would apply to Sony as they need to fix Superior Auto mode

  • xperiaDROID

    If the Z5 has an old camera sensor, same old OmniBalance design, Snapdragon 810, then I’ll be jumping to either Motorola or Huawei for a while. After supporting many of their Xperia devices, I realized that they’re not really focusing much on their mobile division, they don’t improve much from their mistakes, yet they still keep on banging themselves to the wall.

    They just ruined their Xperia’s reputation, no matter what CEO they have, it will still be the same shit.

  • Timel

    Sony is a victim of it’s own strengths…the day Sony decides to put it’s foot down in the mobile camera area, it will at the same time bid farewell to it’s compact camera business. Maybe so much so that it might even dent it’s RX series cameras as well and only the DSLRs will remain..Is it really any difficult for a company which is powering almost every camera/optical device we are using (iphones.SAMSUNG, LG, Chinese phones, GoPros,…..) to come up with an absolute killer? No, it’s just the Kaz Hirai needs to swallow the bitter pill and either let mobile flourish and compact camera drown or vice versa..Honestly, camera is the deciding factor in smartphones these days (specially for non-technical and female audience)….

  • Alvin

    It breaks my heart so bad

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  • nfs2010

    Z1-4 use IMX220 which actually has larger sensor than this IMX230. I don’t see how this IMX230 would be an upgrade. DXO score difference is only 1 & Moto’s low light shots doesn’t look impressive. Sony’s night mode is great, but day mode needs work. It needs to shoot at 16/20.1 mp in auto during the day. If they go for a new sensor, it should at least have a 1/2.3″ stacked sensor along with PDAF.

  • Phil

    I have my ideas to explain why they haven’t done much to improve hardware and camera in particular:
    1) they focused on bringing new Android versions faster. A lot of users complained about this in the last couple of years, now they really improved on this.
    2) they prefer to sell their own Alpha camera lines that have bigger margins and markets shares. More and more people use their phone to take photos and they will think “i prefer to buy a phone that can do nice photos rather than a camera”. And that’s 90% of camera owners I’m sure. Sony prefers their existing Alpha users to keep buying Alpha cameras instead of an xperia for taking photos. So the user will have an Alpha and an Xperia, not just an Xperia. Dangerous bet, but that’s a possibilty.

  • Jonfensu

    I have heard that from 2013, so…..

  • lbwc

    I actually like Omnibalance…I just hate how they rehash the same old camera and feel the need to refresh the flagship line once every 6 months with almost the exact same phone as the one they just released a few months ago. A company like Sony should never fall behind other big OEM’s in terms of camera performance. It’s actually embarrassing.

  • Vuyo Ncube

    Well on the upside, Sony’s rumoured to use the 16MP version of the sensor in one of their upcoming phablets. It should be interesting as the IMX230 is larger than both the IMX240 from the Galaxy Note 4 / Galaxy S6 and the IMX234 from the LG G4 and the ISP seems very promising (full resolution HDR looks great for the Moto X)

  • Abhinav Tella

    Cannon is already seeing sales decline according to recent news, thanks to increased smart phone usage.

  • Svnjay

    Motorola has had their design as long as Sony has had omnibalance.

  • Svnjay

    Someone who’s in the market for a new smartphone camera probably doesn’t care about a dedicated camera.

  • DieMusik

    Give us proper camera2 api! I want to take the older sensor to its full potential!

  • Itsarapong Intoum

    I think this is the truth. But it is tragic for xperia owner like me. I have rx100 mk2 and it did a great job. however I would like to see a new xperia with better camera module.

  • mountain

    I thought you said you will jump ship since Z1…

  • Billy de Fretes

    it’s not all about sensor , post processing also.

  • Billy de Fretes

    3) if they use imx230 sensor, samsung, sony, xiaomi will not buy from sony again and that means sony will lose profit from selling camera module.
    but if sony can use this sensor properly with better post processing algorithm i’m pretty sure sony will outclass samsung &iphone since xperia phone superior auto worse than any competitor..

  • What we’ll see is the exact same thing if the software still sucks. I’m leaning towards Moto a lot now. It’s like an Xperia but not. Sony camera, stereo speaker, looks as nice, water-resist coating and near stock software. Maybe even less bloat. All of this for $399

  • kido

    Whatever camera sensor sony uses in its next flagship should be paired with ois and better post processing software. And also please give us at least full manual control over shutter speed etc.

  • Faisal Armand

    Not sure if sony is a good guy or a scumbag

  • Itsarapong Intoum

    at least what I know is the imx230 have a phase detection auto focus which the imx220 doesn’t have

  • jag

    Business as usual. Tch! I just hate it when it happens.

  • jag

    Yup, I totally agree with you on this Timel. It is business as usual.

  • Utsav Shah

    I don’t care that my z3 doesn’t have this sensor. I mean look at those pictures in full resolution. No details and Low light textures are awful.

  • Timel

    Sorry but the camera is the biggest deal for most people. Whatever you say Svnjay, but If Sony doesn’t focus on smartphone camera, that means people will remember about the image of Xperia phones that Xperia phones ain’t the good choice for photography and they have better choices like iPhone, Galaxy S and Note, LG G, that means Sony will lose more and more customers, that means Sony will lose the money again.

  • nfs2010

    Yes, but a smaller sensor with PDAF would still be a downgrade. That’s why I said we should at least get a same size sensor with PDAF

  • Timel

    Sony: Hey Xperia fans, Do you guys want IMX230? Please wait until Xperia Z6 or Z7.

    Apple, Samsung, LG, Motorola and Chinese brands: smile and say “Great Sony!”

  • Timel

    Camera software is very important too, don’t forget it.

  • Timel

    Correct !

  • Alex Norris

    Honestly both MX220 and MX230has small pixel size, only 1.1micron. Small pixel cannot get a lot of light, so 20mpx Sony Z cameras show us a bad detailing. I don`t see no advantages MX230, over the old MX220 , IMHO, the same shit, like its predecessor, it is necessary to introduce only Sony`s curved sensor, this is innovation.

  • Shubham Mutreja

    They Should make a new sensor of 16mp with 1/2.3 sensor size having f/1.8 aperture

  • Faisal Armand

    Dude, ain’t S6, G4, Lumia 930 & 1520 has 1.1 micron as well? But oh wait.. They have OIS..

  • Alex Norris

    Hi Faisal! I so waited Xperia Z5 with new innovation, but innovation will be only new 8mp. front facing camera.. The main camera will be another 20 megapixel failure!

    Seems to me Kaz Hirai for sony mobile, like Stephen Elop for Nokia…(

  • Faisal Armand

    Hi there alex.. And Sony also shoots himself in the di*k because they use SD 810 again :(

    What saddens me the most is the lack of full manual controls like those of LG G4. I’ve been waiting for that since before the rollout of lollipop, but too bad :(

  • mountain

    Did any one you actually look at the review? For still photos, Z3+ is rated higher than MMXS, but for video, MMXS is a lot better. I can confirm this, the photos from MMXS does not look any better than Z3+.

  • Alex Norris

    It would be better, if they presented Z5 in December with the new SD820, and of course, with new innovation camera. Because, Z5, will be compare with future generation Samsung, Galaxy S7 and Lg G5 and than because Z5 must have powerful processor like 820, but not this horror 810.

    I could not understand the logic of this company…

  • nfs2010

    Exactly, people just look at the combined score and start whining. At least XB should have mentioned the breakdown of scores in the post. I walked into a dark room with 220 (Z3+) , 240 (S6) , & 234 (G4). IMX220 destroyed the other two with its largest sensor. Anyone can test it himself. Sony needs some serious work on their SW for the day mode & video to beat the competition. Since we also want PDAF, at least give us a souped up 220 with that instead of these half-assed 230,240,234 & what not

  • Skipper

    If you are looking for DSLR-like quality in smartphones maybe your expectations are too high. The single speed bike was shot from close rage but no flash, ISO set to 2000. Even with a Led flash the outcome can’t be much better. Sure, Nokia 808 PureView and Panasonic CM1 will do a bit better but with huge sensors and xenon flash. Exposure time was 1/17 sec, way to short.

  • Alex Norris

    Lumia 1520 & 930, yes has 1.1mcr, but i thought that galaxy S6 with Lg G4 has 1.2mcr.. Look bro, i was surprised, but my 808 Pureview still unbeaten ) http://cs625318.vk.me/v625318445/26953/1dHpjf3s244.jpg http://smartcam.club/node/3303

  • Faisal Armand

    LOL at the image!

    I tested Z3+ at local sony store and compared it against my Z2. The nightmare of SD810 is proven. I opened both Z2 & Z3+ camera at the same time and Z3+ heats more quickly than Z2. Image quality isn’t much different than Z2, Z3+ boosted pixel contrast so it gives the illusion that the image is sharper but actual detail & noise performance is nearly the same. Even the display is better on Z2

  • Faisal Armand

    You need a sony camera with 1 inch sensor to beat 808 pureview, below that 808 has no competition

  • Alex Norris

    Z2 the best of all Z series generation 7:18 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzQItfHhc_w

  • Alex Norris

    But IMO Curved sensor was be great answer for Pureview technology… http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/08/sony-shows-off-first-picture-taken-with-curved-sensor/

  • roeshak

    Well the sensor is just one part of the equation. The lens in also very important. In some cases as in sharpness and details ,it’s more important .The Sony xperias since the Z have been using very soft wide angle lenses so not very good with fine details unless you’re shooting macro .The lack of OIS also means a dependence on high iso and fast shutter for lowlight resulting in much noise. The camera module needs a much better lens and OIS to give any significantly improved results .
    That ain’t gonna happen though, any time soon, as Sony mobile see obsessed with design and slimming down their devices.
    LG are the only ones looking to improve on the camera front . The s6 and iPhone are extremely overrated !

  • Naail Zahid

    lol so true.

  • Naail Zahid

    you dont have to sound like timel, about 90% of sony’s forums are filled with people raging against the superior auto mode.
    But don’t listen to me, there are a few “pros” on this website who will claim you don’t need auto mode.

  • Shubham Mutreja

    sony uses very wide lens in its camera
    how it can cause problem?

  • Abdul Ghani

    superior auto is poop manual mode is also like auto with no controls most importantly their software algorithm and processing is still shit

  • Abdul Ghani

    all sonys image sensors imx220 or imx230 are awesome and their lens the g lens is the second best in the world and also award winning, only thing sony lacks is the processing algorithm because of that the images come out shit in low light,images taken on my z2 and z3dual at iso 50 or 100in low light has shutter speed of 1/8s its sonys software set to achieve highest shutter speed as possible in any mode so basically what i am saying sony auto and manual mode are poop

  • kin p

    Many smart pants in here when it comes to business decisions. Sony will never cannibalize their camera business.
    Maybe those ceo knows something better than us whinners crying about laserfocus, ois, heat, pixel, etc.

  • Abdul Ghani

    he and his imaginary theories

  • Abdul Ghani

    i even made a petition but the experts on xperiablog laughed at it claimed i was delusional

    https://www.change.org/p/sony-mobile-fix-the-camera-software-sony

  • Faisal Armand

    It was but unfortunately sony may never ever consider putting it in their smartphones. But for their camera, yes

  • spatch72

    This absolutely proves that Sony doesn’t really want to be in the smartphone business. They make more money selling camera sensors to competitors, so we may never see this camera in Xperia smartphones.

  • Augustine Kau

    yes, of course, they should improve ALOT on their superior auto….if they don’t, I rather they call it inferior auto

  • lbwc

    Superior Auto isn’t very superior at all. With a 20.7 MP sensor, there is no need or reason to limit Superior Auto shots to only 8 MP. Other smartphone cameras allow for higher resolution auto mode shots…why can’t Sony? Give me the option of 8 or 15 MP Superior Auto shots. I don’t want to play with all the settings in manual mode if I want a higher resolution shot. And 4 iterations later, the camera software is still the SAME.

    A lot of things Sony does, just holds them back. It’s a backwards thinking company…and I can see why they are in financial trouble.

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  • Svnjay

    That’s not what I argued. Sony’s smartphone division wouldn’t affect their camera divisions. Dedicated camera take better pictures.

  • The sensor is second only to the Galaxy S6 edge. That is, it’s second to a 16MP Sony sensor. This means that 21MP have no advantage over 16. In fact, they’re even worse.

  • Shawnesome

    Should we expect better auto focus, better colour reproduction, better flare control for low light, lesser blur when we zoom in the pic? From Sony? I’m using a Sony A7 mark II, and I can tell Sony mobile division, you are damaging Sony ‘s excellent camera reputation, seriously, for sure. Please work harder on your xperia camera, even moto surpass latest z3 plus.

  • Faisal Armand

    Lens CAN cause problems.. He is not talking bullshit. I can prove his lens arguments.

    https://drive.google.com/folder/d/0B2xbzy4iULR-UWRIM1VfTFlrcjA/edit

    Both Z2 & Z3 has the same IMX 220 1/2.3″ 20.7MP sensor, the same image post processing (different in white balance only), but their lens are different. Z2 uses 27mm lens and Z3 use wider 25mm lens

    It is very simple mathematical equations. When you have larger area to describe, the pixels are more spread in one area.. Causing it to have less details. And when you have less area to describe, the pixels are more tightly packed and hence more details.

    That is why we see Z2 has more details than Z3. It is an interesting trade off, Z2 has narrower shot with more details while Z2 has wider shot with less details

  • roeshak

    The wider the angle of the lens the more zoned out the perspective is so when you zoom in details aren’t as defined as with a narrower lens of the same quality. Leave the angle to one side, the lens on xperias is just rather soft. That’s the main thing hence the amount of sharpening employed during processing.

  • iia3ezu

    You do know that you don’t have to take a 21MP photo just because the camera has a 21MP sensor, right? Usually it’s downsized or there’s oversampling.

    Just checking.

  • iia3ezu

    The sensor will eventually make its way to Sony phones, but even the best sensor will be hampered by crappy software postprocessing and mediocre optics (Zeiss is an example of good optics).

    If only Sony would cease making silly themes and crapware e.g. Lifelog and Socialife, which hardly anyone uses, and instead use those resources to brush up the camera software.

    Oh, and don’t forget that silly obsession with product placement in a Bond movie. All that millions spent on something that will hardly boost sales. Fantastic priorities, eh?

  • iia3ezu

    By that time Xperia may well be a Chinese brand or subsidiary.

    Which isn’t a bad thing. Chinese phones have mediocre or crappy cameras, but their build quality and software are improving by leaps and bounds,

  • roeshak

    The trouble with you is that you’re just an arrogant ignoramus. You just speak so comprehensively on a subject you know very little of. It’s a very pompous type of stupidity. Indeed!

  • roeshak

    The trouble with you is that you’re just an arrogant ignoramus. You just speak so comprehensively on a subject you know very little of. It’s a very pompous type of stupidity. Indeed!

  • it’s not oversampling. The Nokia 1020 had oversampling, and made a spectacular 5mp image from an initial 40mp image. But 20mp are not enough to do true oversampling. This is just downsizing the image. And all the tests have shown that there’s no advantage in having 21mp…

  • There are no real reasons for Sony to really push innovation on mobile cameras.

    They have much of the market and if they get too good then they will destroy revenue for their own compact and dslr ranges.

    On the other hand, I like the camera in my Z2, it is fast and takes fair pictures.
    Using the same sensor in many devices equals faster updates to new Android versions. While it would be fun to have manual settings it is more important that the operating system gets updated.

  • Faisal Armand

    Hey there bro.. I have one interesting find. Yesterday I did a comparison. I took the back cover off my Z2 then shot a picture, then I re attach the back cover. The results are shocking! Without the back cover, ISO 800 image looks like it’s taken with ISO 100 or 200, crystal clear LOL! Pic taken with back cover on is somewhat foggy & hazy. So you are right about the lens quality has an effect to image sharpness

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d5fb685edbc170ab381d947ba2e16b0787eae76a0534f051de61a32306bd6e90.jpg

  • Keion London

    Sony is a troll………….sorry to say. :/

  • Timel

    I don’t mean or expected that the quality of smartphone camera must be as great as DSLR in soon but it sounds like you still stuck with the old vision

    “Smartphones and photography shouldn’t be used in the same sentence.”

    Really? I don’t know you may be right but Sony’s competitors such as Apple, Samsung, LG and Nokia didn’t think like you exactly! These handset manufacturers have always focused on smartphone camera and now they proved that their smartphone cameras are good enough to kick compact camera out from the market.

  • Svnjay

    Dxomark rated the Z3+’s camera performance higher than the iPhone 6.

  • Timel

    Oh c’mon the pool Svnjay, trust me, most people will care the results in reality or the results that their can see in font of them or the tangible reality results more than the arithmetic mean or standard deviation from DxOMark.

  • Shubham Mutreja

    Well that explains the very good Image details in Xperia T2 ultra phone which has 30mm lens And Xperia Z Sensor!!
    thanks for a good reply!
    EDIT: Sony should not consider slimming their device but should consider OIS
    But G lens is already good the softness is due to software because some guy in XDA did comparison of Z3 with 4 Camera applications
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/z3/general/camera-tests-z3-post-pics-t2887635/page175

  • Mario Junior

    The CyanogenMod using the Z1 camera driver, can offer me better results than Sony’s own software with the correct driver for the sensor on my Z3C, without this DRM bullshit and etc.

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  • Faisal Armand

    Please share samples

  • Mario Junior

    I would have to post using the Sony software and Cyanogenmod, making a comparison.

  • Mario Junior

    But, look this example:

    CM camera, auto mode, 8.3 megapixels “16.9” https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/65cd260651d77e185768788b3a3b1673090cb128ea89d00007fd82572c89ee2d.jpg

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  • roeshak

    The lens is definitely soft but I’m not sure that’s what’s responsible for the milky photo worth the back cover on. Looks like you’ve got moisture over the lens

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  • Faisal Armand

    Actually my lens has some kind of smudge that won’t disappear after I clean it with a soft cloth..

    But after I replace my back cover with a new one, the pic taken without back cover still sharper.

  • Faisal Armand

    Hmm.. Artifacts are visible even in 8MP resolution. Not much better than sony software I think

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  • Shubham

    Why do you need OIS? When sony’s digital image stabilizer does the same job well? clearly you are just following people’s rants!

  • lbwc

    I own a Z1 and have tried a LG G4 and I can tell you…nothing beats hardware OIS.

  • Svnjay

    Apple, Samsung and LG don’t have the IMX230 and the M5 has the IMX230

  • Richard

    Hahaha so true! Think sony hired some retards to do the thinking for them because if they didn’t do this their phones would even sell lots more.

  • Richard

    Well the old models could only use the auto mode on the 8mp and the new Z5 can shoot in auto mode on any mp. so that alone would be a big plus.

  • Richard

    Does it really matter when lollipop has a own camera api so that you can pretty much use any 2rd party camera app.

  • Richard

    LOL you clearly have no clue what people want and clearly you can tell when you lost you little girls argument because Timel is hitting the nail on its head and people care the most bout the camera.

  • Richard

    Dont even waste your energy on that fanboy. But it looks like you now how it works in the real world :) Its a shame that all phones uses a sony sensor and sony itself fails so hard on the picture quality. The z3c is my first sony phone after i came from a samsung s4, and i must say that the s4 and even the s3 shoots better photo’s then the z3c. And for people like me the camera is a must and its the only reason i buy new phones.

  • Svnjay

    The only little girls here are the people who use smartphones for “photography”.

  • Richard

    Thats what she said!

  • Svnjay

    That is also what she said.

  • Richard

    Can you come up with anything better? Or do you have the IQ of a boiled egg?

  • Svnjay

    This is coming from the person who said that’s what she said? The real idiot here is you.

  • Svnjay
  • RiTCHiE

    Nope not really because thats just numbers bro. I trust actual people more. Day time aint the problem but night time is when you look at camera samples and 4k video. Just do some research on your own and you will see for your self that at night its packed with artifacts.

  • Svnjay

    You prefer opinions over scientific facts.

  • RiTCHiE

    scientific facts? Those numbers came from someones opinion. But yes i believe experience beats numbers.

  • Svnjay

    No, Dxomark is purely objective and are the leading the camera reviewer around. http://www.dxomark.com/Mobiles/Sony-Xperia-Z5-Mobile-review-Best-mobile-photo-video-scores-to-date

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