To our surprise, Motorola went for a non-Quad-Bayer sensor for its main camera - 12MP with big 1.4µm pixels. The sensor is paired with an optically-stabilized lens with a huge f/1.5 aperture. This is a tad bigger than what we are used to seeing at around f/1.7-1.9. In any case, the aperture will give the sensor some advantage at night by capturing more light, but close-up shots will have very limited focus distance.
The ultrawide camera, on the other hand, is pretty standard and it's essentially the same one as on last year's Razr - 13MP f/2.2, 1.12μm with 108° FoV. And it supports autofocus, enabling macro-level shots.
The selfie also carries over from last year with a 32MP 0.7µm sensor, paired with f/2.4 aperture. And since it's a Quad-Bayer sensor, the camera outputs 8MP images.
The camera app on the Razr 2022 Ultra is custom despite the relatively stock-looking software package. When it comes to its implementation on the unfolded phone, it's essentially identical to what you get on regular, bar-style Motos.
The basics are as usual - the camera modes are arranged in a customizable carousel formation, with the 'More' tab at the rightmost end of the carousel holding the more seldom-used shooting modes.
Pro mode gives you full control over the camera's settings like white balance, ISO, focus, shutter speed, and exposure compensation, and it works on both rear cameras but not the front-facing one. A tiny live histogram is provided, but there's no focus peaking or zebras.
Additional settings for each camera mode can be found by swiping down in the viewfinder. There's a tiny bar at the far end to indicate that, but if you miss it, you may be left wondering where some controls are, like the flash and self-timer settings in Photo mode and frame rate in Video mode.
The gear icon for the general settings menu houses even more settings.
The one thing that sets the Razr's viewfinder apart from your regular Motos is the tiny icon in the top left corner that enables the outer display's live view when the phone is unfolded. That button cycles between three modes - outer screen off, outer screen on with live view, and outer screen on with a colorful animation meant to replace the 'say cheese' prompt.
With the outer screen having semi-full-fledged UI capabilities, it gets a camera app of its own too - for when you'd like to take pictures (or capture video) with the phone folded shut. You get a zoom level toggle and a mode selector (that you need to tap on to then pick between modes), plus an arrow button for further settings.
There are some limitations that apply when using the outer screen, and the most notable one is that you can't get the entire camera sensor's output. You get to pick between one of two crops - the default 1:1 or a 4:3 crop across the imager's shorter side.
The display's orientation is at a 90-degree angle with respect to the sensor, and getting the full coverage would mean letterboxing the live preview - so Motorola has just decided to skip that option.
The orientation mismatch and the resultant cropping also affects video recording. All of these seemingly arbitrary limitations could very well be addressed with a software update, but as it stands at the time of reviewing, some things are just not possible.
The daylight camera performance is decent enough though perhaps not stellar in the context of a flagship phone. The level of resolved detail in these photos is great, but the software goes for some additional (over)sharpening that can be obtrusive in certain scenes.
The color reproduction is lively; the dynamic range is very good, but we've seen better - you could see some highlight clipping in challenging scenes.
Noise is otherwise well-controlled, even indoors. However, the sharpness and detail suffer in unfavorable lighting conditions.
The extra wide aperture of f/1.5 is a double-edged sword, though. When shooting objects that are really close, it produces a nice and natural bokeh, but some parts of the subject may be blurred out due to the limited depth of field.
Motorola didn't include a 2x zoom toggle as the 12MP camera just isn't intended for zoom crops. Pinch-zooming allows you to take zoom photos, though, and the results aren't great. The post-processing is the same as in the 1x Photo mode, but the sharpness drops significantly.
The ultrawide camera is pretty solid in good lighting. Dynamic range is good; color reproduction and exposure metering are in line with the main camera's. And more importantly, the level of resolved detail is quite good, especially for an ultrawide shooter.
To our surprise, the ultrawide camera is more consistent across scenarios than the main camera, and we liked the ultrawide samples taken indoors just as much.
Since the ultrawide camera supports autofocus, the Razr 40 Ultra uses it for close-up macro photography. The samples below look solid, with plenty of detail and sufficient sharpness. Performance is good in poorly-lit environments too.
The portrait mode produces shots with nice bokeh, natural-looking colors and somewhat decent amount of detail and sharpness as long as the lighting conditions allow it. Even the slightest drop in ambient light results in extra skin smoothing and a significant reduction in quality. The edge detection is working pretty well even with complex backgrounds and fails only with stray hair.
We've provided some non-portrait samples as well, and it looks like the software adds just a dash of more than welcomed sharpness. Everything else looks pretty much the same.
We are providing samples from the default selfie camera and ones taken with the main camera using the secondary display as a viewfinder. To our surprise, the two methods produce samples of similar quality, which in most cases is excellent. However, we prefer the standard selfie camera only because it goes for more natural-looking colors and skin tones. Dynamic range, level of detail and sharpness are all excellent. Even in not-so-great lighting conditions, the selfie camera stays consistent.
The low-light photos in the standard Photo mode have a wide dynamic range - light sources look good, and the balance of highlights-shadows rendition is quite good.
However, sharpness leaves a lot more to be desired. The aggressive noise suppression smears most of the fine detail, and the images look quite soft upon closer inspection. There is a way around that, and it's Motorola's Night Vision mode.
The Night Vision mode fixes most of the issues with the sharpness. The rendition of the fine details improves, and light sources and highlights look even better too. The dedicated Night Vision mode also introduces some extra contrast and livelier colors overall. Still, we've seen better low-light photos from competitors, including the Galaxy Z Flip4.
The ultrawide camera without the Night Vision mode are quite dark and soft. The noise-suppression algorithm is acting up again, washing away any fine detail the camera may have a chance of capturing. The dynamic range and colors look good, though, and you can see plenty of stuff in the shadows. Things get better once you turn on the Night Vision mode ON.
The Night Vision mode improves overall quality quite a bit. It brightens the shadows, clears up the noise without messing up the detail in the process and improves the light sources like street lamps and neon signs. However, the colors with the Night Vision mode come out blander for some reason.
Here's how the primary camera on the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra stacks against the rest of the competition in the controlled environment of our Photo Compare Tool.
The handset can go up to 4K@60fps using the main and its selfie camera, while the ultrawide one caps at 4K@30fps. There's an option to disable the stabilization in case you need the extra FoV while using a tripod and also record using the Night Vision mode after dusk. However, the latter video mode is limited to 1080p resolution.
The standard 2160p@30fps videos taken with the main camera are solid - dynamic range is impressive, the colors are nice, and the level of detail is excellent. Sharpness could be better, though.
The ultrawide footage quality is understandably lower, but still pretty good. It's noticeably softer, and colors look somewhat more natural. On the other hand, the dynamic range is excellent, the detail is great, and there's no visible noise.
The stabilized 4K footage looks good, and the EIS is able to smooth out most of the vibrations, but there is a jello effect, mostly noticeable in the background.
The default low-light video isn't particularly impressive as it appears to be softer and darker than we would have liked. Noise is well-contained, though, and dynamic range is wide enough.
The dedicated Night Vision video matches the standard one in terms of sharpness and takes care of the noise, which wasn't all that obtrusive to begin, so we struggled to find any good reason to use the Night Vision mode. It records in a lower resolution, and all it does is boost the exposure resulting in a brighter scene with clipped highlights and blown-out street lamps and neon signs.
Once you are done with the real-life scenarios, take a look at our video compare tool to see how the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra stacks against the other phones we've reviewed.