The Moto G30 has what can be described as the best camera system in the G lineup at the time. It's headlined by a 64MP primary module, joined by an 8MP ultra-wide unit and two more 'cameras' for close-ups and depth detection.
The main camera uses one of the new Samsung Tetrapixel 0.7µm sensor designs, this one in 1/1.97" size. It bins 4 pixels into 1, resulting in a 16MP default image size. The sensor is coupled with a 26mm equivalent lens with a bright f/1.7 aperture, not stabilized.
The ultrawide camera is a fairly basic 8MP unit with a 1/4" sensor and 1.12µm pixel size. The lens has an f/2.2 aperture and covers a 118-degree field of view, according to Motorola's specs.
Then there are the two 2MP units that mostly just take up space - one for 'macro', the other for depth sensing. Each has an f/2.4 aperture lens.
The Motorola camera has its fair share of idiosyncrasies. Most perplexing is its way of handling resolution. You have a selector in settings that lets you choose between a 16MP recommended option (that much we get), and an 11MP one which seems arbitrary. Both of these apply to both real cameras. You do get to shoot in 64MP, too (on the main cam only), and that's a camera mode in itself, as opposed to a resolution setting. Ultimately, we're saying we found no way to shoot the 8MP ultrawide in its native resolution.
There's more. This may sound as nit picking, but the camera modes have been moved below the shutter key so your thumb naturally falls on the camera modes instead of the shutter. Almost all, if not all, camera apps from other brands have the shutter key below the camera mode carousel.
Additional camera settings can be adjusted by pulling upwards from the shutter key, opening up a menu that lets you tinker with some of the options. The general settings menu is in its usual place - the gear icon in the upper-right corner of the viewfinder.
There's a Pro mode, and we have some praise here, for a change - it gives you access to all three cameras, which is a rare sight. In here, you can adjust ISO, shutter speed, exposure compensation, and white balance, as well as focus manually (main cam only, no peaking). The live histogram is appreciated too, tiny as it may be.
The Moto G30's daylight shots are overall very good. There's a lot of fine detail, and random textures are rendered in a very natural way. There's some fine grain to be spotted in flat-color areas, but it's not the type of noise we complain about.
Dynamic range is excellent, so you get well-developed tonal extremes, but images remain nicely contrasty. We like the Moto G30's color reproduction, too - photos have plenty of pop without looking oversaturated.
That last bit, in particular, is in contrast with the Moto G10's take on colors - the more modest Moto's portrayal of reality is noticeably more muted, evident in direct comparisons. More conservative observers may prefer the G10's approach, but we're leaning towards the G30's. The G30 has advantages when viewing up close too, where we can see a little extra detail, while the G10 has more grain. Dynamic range is about on par between the two.
The Moto G30's Ultra-res mode is where you go to capture 64MP images. While it does appear to demosaic its Quad Bayer sensor straight to 64MP (unlike the Moto G10, which we're fairly convinced upscales its 12MP images to the nominal 48MP), we do not see a considerably more detail in the 64MP shots. There is a minor advantage in some scenes, but it's not something we'd use regularly. Noise does become more apparent in this mode, but that takes some staring to spot.
We tried the pinch gesture to zoom to 2x to see what results you can expect there, even though there's no pre-set shortcut to that magnification. We're seeing more limited dynamic range in these shots and an increase in sharpening to combat the inherent softness of what's essentially digital zoom. Overall, the photos are very decent at fit-to-screen magnification.
The Moto G30's ultrawide camera has an 8MP native resolution, but there's no way to get 8MP images directly out of it. We opted for the default 16MP resolution samples since you're likely to keep the phone in that setting for the main cam anyway, and it applies the same resolution setting to the ultrawide as well. Mind you, the state of ultrawide cameras, especially in the lower market segments, is such that there's a certain level of softness to be expected, making the results of such upscale jobs not terrible to look at, comparatively.
With that said, the Moto G30 takes okay ultrawide shots for the class. They're not super sharp, but the detail is good for the underlying 8MP resolution. Dynamic range is excellent in daylight, and the distortion correction is also very competent, so from afar, the photos are quite appealing.
Comparing the Moto G30's ultrawide camera against the Moto G10's is a bit difficult, even though they should be the same 8MP cameras, essentially - the available resolutions on the G30 are 16MP and 11MP, the G10's are 12MP and 8MP. We went for a 16MP vs. 12MP comparison - again, based on the default modes on the two phones.
There's little to set the two apart in most areas, with detail being essentially identical between the two and both exhibiting similar noise levels. Perhaps the one subtle difference is in the color reproductions where Moto G30 has a faint green cast, while the Moto G10 is more faithful to reality.
In low light, the Moto G30 puts out a decent performance with its main cam, some of the time - we found it couldn't be relied upon to produce the same level of output across different scenes. One variable is the Auto HDR which may not kick in (samples 3 and 4), leaving you with badly developed tonal extremes - or, more notably, clipped highlights. That may also vary from shot to shot in the same scene. The other liability is the focusing, which may require a tap to focus in the dark, and sometimes you can miss that (sample 2).
White balance is often off, too, with the G30's attempts to compensate for warm street lighting resulting in washed-out colors. It's not all bad, of course, and in more balanced lighting, the phone will produce fairly detailed images.
Night mode has the tools to combat many of these issues and results in superior development in both shadows and highlights. Some of the noise gets smoothed out too.
Comparing low-light images from the Moto G30 against ones from the Moto G10, there isn't a definitive winner, and that's not making the G30 look good. For one, the G10 was a lot more consistent with applying HDR, thus being more dependable in high-contrast scenes - not that its dynamic range is all that wide, it's just that HDR is better than no HDR. We also didn't have misfocused images coming out of the less expensive phone. Neither one does great with color saturation and white balance.
In Night mode, sharpness and detail were consistently better in the images from the Moto G10.
The Moto G30's ultrawide camera isn't a fan of the dark. What we captured with it are underexposed images with a narrow dynamic range. Detail is scarce and there's an overall softness to the photos.
If it's any consolation, at least the Moto G10's ultrawide isn't any better than the G30's.
Once you're done with the real-world samples, head over to our Photo compare tool to see how the Motorola Moto G30 stacks up against the competition.
Portrait mode on the Moto G30 takes some good-looking shots with competent subject detection and convincing bokeh. Spiky hair against a contrasting background remains iffy, of course.
The Moto G30 and G10 offer similar subject isolation but differ greatly in their skin tones rendition and exposure practices. In 4 out of 4 scenes, the G30 exposed brighter, whether it opted for higher ISO or slower shutter speed, or both. The G10, meanwhile, was somewhat more flattering of facial tones, rendering them with a warmer reddish tint, next to the more lifeless-looking G30 images.
The 'macro' camera of the Moto G30 takes predictably unimpressive close-up shots. The images look interesting in the viewfinder, though ultimately they're low on detail - it's just 2MP after all. Plus, they may often end up not in focus, seeing how the camera has a fixed focus distance.
The Moto G30's selfies are good if you keep your face well lit, delivering nice detail and appealing, warm skin tones. In more challenging lighting, the G30's output isn't so great. Ever so slightly dimmer indoor environments will result in soft and blurry selfies, though they do remain usable if you refrain from the up-close examination.
After having seen how the portraits compare between the G30 and G10's rear cameras, looking at the selfies side by side brings some surprises. Here, it's the G30 with the more saturated and reddish skin tones, while the G10's output is more muted. The G10 also has more aggressive HDR algorithms and handles high-contrast and backlit scenes better.
In Portrait mode, the Moto G30 does a reasonably good job with subject detection, though if you look closely at the border areas, you could spot imperfections - standard performance for the class, we'd say. Perhaps that's what you can call the lack of HDR in this mode, which results in even poorer highlight development than in regular photo mode.
The Moto G30 doesn't impress with video recording prowess, though it can at least capture in 1080p resolution at 60fps with its main cam - some lower-end devices top out at 1080p/30fps. Video stabilization is available too, on both the main camera and the ultrawide too.
The main cam's 1080p/30fps footage (20Mbps bitrate) is pretty underwhelming. Dynamic range is rather narrow, while detail has a very processed quality to it. On a positive note, there's actually a lot of detail for a 1080p video, and noise is practically non-existent.
The ultrawide cam's footage is softer and has an even narrower dynamic range. Not great ultrawide clips are better than no ultrawide clips, so there's that.
The electronic stabilization works well for ironing out walking shake for the most part, though the shake can cause the focusing to hunt, and that's hard to fix. Panning is smooth, too.
All of the good above applies to the ultrawide camera's video stabilization, with none of the bad - with its fixed focus, there's not focus hunting to worry about.
Here's a glimpse of how the Motorola Moto G30 compares to rivals in our Video compare tool. Head over there for the complete picture.