Moto X camera

Motorola's original Moto X didn't have the greatest camera in the world. The 2014 model is a marked improvement, but still not as big or powerful as newer models like the Samsung Galaxy S6. It's a 13-megapixel shooter, and it's got a camera app that brings with it some of our favorite camera features and not a whole lot else. And we're going to show you how to make the most of that camera when you just have to get a shot — or a selfie — right now.

Twist and shout

One of the more obvious — and more beloved — features of the first Moto X was the twist-to-launch Quick Capture camera, and it's here, too. Turn it twice in your wrist — like you're turning a screwdriver — and the camera will load, even if the screen is off or the phone is locked. If you twist it twice again, it'll switch to the front-facing camera.

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Selfies have invaded everything, even the Moto Voice app!

Moto Voice can help you get a quick shot off, too. You can use your trigger — whatever obscure phrase you chose — and then say "take a photo (or selfie)" and the camera will launch, auto-focus, and take a picture. This can be quite useful if your hands are full, or if your phone is mounted to your windshield and you're driving.

The rings of power

Being able to set focus and exposure bring new depth to your photos.

When you slide out the settings from the left side of the screen, we see an option that looks like a person touching a small box. This is the control and focus setting, which allows you to focus your shots a little more accurately. You can drag the focus ring to almost any point on the screen for it to focus, and then, tap anywhere to take a picture.

That may actually be one of the most wonderful things about the Moto X camera, forgoing a dedicated shutter button. No matter what awkward angle you're holding the phone at, so long as you can touch the screen you can get the shot off. Tap for a single shot, hold for rapid-fire shooting.

Settings are magic

The settings ring may look small, but it holds a lot of power.

Did you know you probably aren't taking full advantage of your Moto X's 13 MP sensor? For widescreen images, the quality actually drops from 13 MP to 9.7 MP. Video quality can likewise be tweaked for slow-motion or for 4K video, but keep in mind that 4K will eat your storage alive, it's also not accepted by the Highlight Reel in the Motorola Gallery — nor is it something you'll be able to easily share.

You may not need to fiddle with flash or HDR much — auto will get you by most of the time — but they're here if you need it. Likewise, panorama and timer are there if you need it, but out of the way when you don't.

Geotagging is great when you're on vacation or maybe when sight-seeing, but when you're just taking pictures of some awesome new swag at home, geo-tagging can get a little dangerous. Tag with caution, or better yet, just leave it off until you absolutely want it. Tagging your location can also help Google+ built an awesome story out of your vacation pictures.


Your Moto X may not have the most sophisticated camera known to man, but at least it isn't hard to find your way around. And with these little tips, you should be just a little more prepared should the ultimate selfie opportunity — or your kid doing something adorable/embarrassing/viral — appear at a moment's notice.

Are there any other tips you have for getting the most out of your Moto X's camera? Leave your techniques in the comments!