The camera is one of the few departments where Motorola has invested some extra effort. Whether this, combined with the new fingerprint reader and the prospect for some extra memory and RAM are enough to justify the added price hike is, of course, strictly a matter of personal opinion. However, there is no doubt that the new 16MP snapper is technically superior to the 13MP module in the basic G4.
The 16MP camera is based on Omni Vision's OV16860 PureCel Plus-S sensor, which is marketed as a high-end or at least above mid-range model. It offers 1.3-micron pixel size with improved performance over lower-end 1.12-micron 16MP offers in both good and low-light conditions and significantly reduced pixel crosstalk. In the Moto G4 Plus it is coupled with a f/2.0 lens, as well as a few extra goodies.
These include a dual-tone LED flash and a combination of phase detection and a laser system for better and faster autofocus.
The Morotola camera UI looks deceptively simple, but you can tap into a surprising amount of power once you get used to it.
The most common shortcuts are available right in the viewfinder, including Flash and HDR toggles (with Auto modes for both). A right swipe brings up the settings.
Settings are slightly hidden-away. You can bring them up by swiping from the left-hand side.
You can also tap and hold on the screen to lock focus and exposure. Manual exposure control is available too, just drag the sun icon. This doesn't work with the "Tap anywhere" shutter button.
If you want more, you can go into the Pro mode. It gives you control over focus, shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation and white balance. You can also view all the dials simultaneously to make big adjustments quicker.
The Moto G4 Plus offers a burst mode called Burst Shot. You hold down the virtual shutter key and see a count of the number of photos taken. After you lift your finger, the phone will automatically select the best one. The others are still preserved if you want to override the auto selection. Even so, photos are grouped together so you can easily delete long bursts in one go.
The Moto G4 Plus takes decent stills, but frankly they don't really constitute that big of an improvement over the G4 with its 13MP snapper. The 16MP camera does OK in picking up detail, but shots tend to come out noisy. White balance tends to lean toward the extremes from time to time. But it is hardly a major issue.
What is troubling, however, is the significant barrel distortion, observable on most stills. Edge-to-edge sharpness isn't great and there is slightly limited dynamic range to work with.
That being said, you are probably better off leaving HDR to auto all the time. It takes its toll on shot-to-shot time, but the end result is worth the wait.
The 5MP selfie camera takes photos with very good quality, sharp and rich in detail, with little noise. It has an HDR mode (with Auto), which is well worth it. It appears to be the exact same snapper from the Moto G4.
Unlike the selfie experience, we kind of hoped the Moto G4 Plus wouldn't borrow the panorama from its sibling. Sadly, the resolution, detail and stitching are still just as bad.
You can also check how the Moto G4 Plus stacks up against other 16MP snappers in our database.
The Moto G4 Plus can record 1080p video (at 30fps) with both the front and back camera. It also offers a 120fps slow motion mode, but only at 540p (a quarter of FullHD, aka qHD). This is exactly what the regular G4 is capable of as well and understandably so, since the limitations don't come from the camera sensor, but rather the Snapdragon 617 SoC.
The videos are captured in the usual MP4 files at 17Mbps. Sound is recorded in stereo at a good 128Kbps (48kHz).
The videos keep plenty of detail, but the camera runs up against dynamic range limits.
Color rendering is similar to the still camera - that is slightly oversaturated and with a white balance that's slightly off.
We tried enabling HDR, but while it did bring out the highlights a touch, it crushed the shadows. We'd definitely skip the HDR video mode, it's just not as good as that of the still camera.
The sound in the recorded videos isn't perfect, we think it has to do with the mic positioning. One is on the back, next to the camera, the other on front (the mouth piece), which isn't the best way to capture stereo sound.
1080p video is the norm for the premium mid-range market. The Moto G4 shows strong sharpening, but the image is clean. Low-light performance is good, but it does have some edge-to-edge sharpness issues to note.