The Moto X Force comes with the same camera setup as the top-end Moto X Play and Moto X Style. A 21MP Sony IMX230 sensor sits behind an f/2.0 lens, and there's phase detection autofocus. There's a dual-tone flash, which should supposedly adjust the color of the flash light to produce more natural results.
You can launch the camera with a natural twisting movement from your wrist. It works while the device is locked, but can also fire up the camera from the homescreen or when you're inside other apps - basically a universal camera shortcut. A second double twist now switches between rear and front camera.
The camera app is a decidedly minimalist affair with nothing but a video capture button and a rear/front camera toggle. There's no shutter button, you tap anywhere on the screen to take a shot. Dragging upwards zooms in (digitally, of course), dragging down zooms out, simple as that. Long pressing on the other hand activates the burst mode.
There is, after all, a settings menu, evoked with a swipe in from the left. This pulls a wheel with commonly used settings like HDR and flash mode, stills and video resolution, panorama, the lot.
One of these settings lets you have control on focusing point and exposure and once you get used to it, you figure out how ingenious it is. You get a circle, which indicates where you want to focus and you can touch and drag it around the frame. You don't tap though, tapping is reserved for actually taking the shot.
Along with the focus selector you get an exposure compensation ring where you can adjust exposure continuously, though neither the range, nor current setting is displayed in number of stops. It vibes well with the overall simplistic design of the app.
Overall, we find the Motorola app somewhat unpleasant to use, which is a rare thing these days. It lacks most manual options, and the tap anywhere to shoot can be aggravating at times. Even when the focus ring is enabled, you have to drag it around to lock focus and exposure and can't just tap, which can be frustrating.
But that disappointment with the camera ends with the interface as the picture quality is superb. Detail levels are high on pixel level, and everything is nice and sharp. There is some corner softness, but nothing serious to worry about. You can see noise in areas of uniform color, but it's handled with care and produces a nice grain, instead of ugly-looking artefacts.
Motorola's processing algorithm is almost on point in this generation of devices. Motorola seems to have found a good balance between noise reduction, sharpening and keeping the natural details. Colors are great too, not over the top, but not dull either. Daylight images come out looking exceptionally clear and naturally sharp. You can trust the auto exposure too, it gets it right every time and doesn't produce different images in consecutive shots, one thing we're seeing all too often on other phones. Dynamic range is above average, highlights are well preserved, but on the shadow end, images come out just that one bit darker than perfect.
Just don't expect on par night shots.
The hybrid phase detection autofocus works remarkably well in daylight but gets noticeably slow in low light and can occasionally miss focus.
HDR mode pulls some more detail from out of there. It works conservatively, and resulting images can pass for a regular shot if you don't have the actual one for immediate comparison.
Unfortunately, the Moto X Force doesn't do a good job shooting panoramas. The images are very low in resolution - less than 1,000px tall, and there's very little detail. The fact that exposure is even across the frame doesn't make the panoramas any more usable.
The front camera is a 5MP unit, shooting images up to 5MP in 4:3 or 3.7MP in 16.9. Just like the Moto X Style, the Moto X Force comes with a front flash. There are no fancy beautification features, not that they will be missed.
The front camera offers rather uninspiring image quality, but its FoV is wide, so you could easily fit at least three people inside the frame.
Naturally, we shot our test posters with the Motorola Moto X Force. It does great in all three setups. Our tool allows you to compare it against any other smartphone that we've shot with.
The Motorola Moto X Force can capture 2160p videos. Naturally, 1080p video recording at 30fps is also available, but capturing at 60fps is not possible.
The camcorder interface is exactly the same as the still camera one.
The videos captured by the new Moto X Force are excellent. All samples came out with great amount of detail, smooth frame rate, good colors, and high dynamic range. The image quality is nearly as impressive as the still pictures, equally sharp and we couldn't wish for more - no matter the resolution.
There is also 720p video recording at 120fps, which outs 30fps videos after processing. Unfortunately, its resolution seems upscaled from 360p, but the effect is there.
And finally, you can check out our video comparison tool to see how the 2160p and 1080p videos differ in resolution, color rendition and more. You can also compare the Motorola to any of the numerous phones and tablets we've tested. The Moto X Force does great in good light conditions, but disappoints in the low-light scenes.