The ThinkPhone borrows its camera setup almost entirely from the recent Motorola Edge 30 Fusion. The main camera uses a 50MP OmniVision OV50A sensor behind an f/1.8 lens. It has an 8192x6144 native resolution, 1.0 µm individual pixels and a 1/1.5" sensor size. QPD enables 2x2 phase detection autofocus (PDAF) across the sensor's entire image array. Here, the sensor is also implemented with an OIS-capable lens.
Moving on, we have the ultrawide camera. It is based on a 13MP SK Hynix HI1336 sensor behind an f/2.2 lens. It has 1.12 µm individual pixels and a 1/3" optical format. It also has enough resolution (4208 x 3120 pixels) to capture UHD@30fps, which is not necessarily true for many modern ultrawide sensors. The ultrawide camera also has autofocus, which allows it to double as a macro cam.
Last and probably least, the ThinkPhone includes a depth sensor. It uses a GalaxyCore GC02M1B sensor - 1.75 µm individual pixels and a 1/5" optical format. It is just a simple 2MP, f/2.4 unit.
The selfie camera is where the ThinkPhone differs from the Moto Edge 30 Fusion. The international model uses a 32MP snapper courtesy of OmniVision - the OV32B40. It has a 1/3" optical format and 0.7µm individual pixels. It integrates a 4-cell color filter and on-chip hardware re-mosaic, which provides high-quality, 32MP Bayer output in real-time. It should be noted that the ThinkPhone specifically meant for the Chinese market, uses a 16MP selfie instead.
Like the rest of the OS, the camera app comes courtesy of Motorola. As such, it's mostly unchanged from what we've seen on previous Motos.
The camera modes are arranged in a customizable carousel formation, with the hamburger menu 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, autofocus, shutter speed, and exposure compensation, and Pro mode works on all three cameras. It even has a histogram.
Additional settings for each camera mode can be found by swiping up in the viewfinder - there's a tiny arrow hint to indicate that. Here, you'll find flash and self-timer settings in Photo mode and resolution and frame rate in Video mode. The gear icon for the general settings menu houses even more settings, including photo resolutions.
Let's start with the 50MP main camera. It uses a Quad Bayer pixel arrangement, which means that it captures 12.5MP stills by default. These photos look good overall but are not spectacular in any way. Detail is good, and colors are nice and true to life. There is plenty of contrast, too.
These photos could be better and have some issues as well, though. The finer detail looks a bit soft when pixel-peeping. There is also noticeable graininess to the shots. Dynamic range could be wider, too.
The ThinkPhone can be made to capture in its full 50MP resolution via its high-res mode. Thanks to the speedy chipset, capturing these photos doesn't take too long, either. You have to deal with the bigger file size, but we don't think it's worth it overall.
Looking closely at the 50MP shots, it is not hard to notice that they are softer still than the regular ones. There is less sharpening applied, and as a result, edges and lines are softer. Also, there is less denoising and HDR stacking going on here. Dynamic range is also not as good in this mode. Overall, we don't think it's worth using the 50MP mode.
Before we move on, here's how the Motorola ThinkPhone stacks up against the competition in our extensive photo compare database. Pixel-peep away.
The ThinkPhone lacks a dedicated telephoto camera of any kind. It can still do digital zoom, and the 50MP main camera has the pixels. At 2x zoom, photos generally look clean and practically identical in quality to 1x ones. Hence - perfectly usable.
However, there is no quick toggle for 2x in the camera UI, so you have to pinch and zoom, which is a bit of a hassle.
The ThinkPhone has three different zoom levels available for portrait shots. Despite being able to autofocus with both its main and ultrawide cameras, portraits are always taken with the main camera.
It can be a bit fiddly to get the subject in focus, but once you have that down, portraits look very good, with nice subject detection and separation and great background blur. Skin texture could be a bit better. It looks too smooth, particularly since we had disabled any in-camera beauty filters or enhancements.
Getting the focus right for portraits of non-human subjects is more challenging still, but these look pretty good as well.
The ultrawide camera saves stills in exactly the same 12.5MP resolution as the main camera. These look very decent overall, with a good amount of detail, a nice color rendition, even if not a great match to the main camera and a pretty good dynamic range for an ultrawide. The autofocus rarely misbehaves, and the vast majority of regular shots come out looking perfectly in focus.
Edge softness is a bit of an issue, and so is the image distortion near the edges, but neither is unexpected on an ultrawide. There is a bit of graininess on surfaces, just like on the main camera, but it's not too dramatic.
Thanks to its autofocus, the ultrawide camera is also responsible for macro shots. Interestingly enough, these get saved in just over 13MP resolution for some odd reason. That is the native resolution of the ultrawide sensor at hand, though, so the decision is not entirely arbitrary.
Quality-wise, these macro shots look very nice, with plenty of detail, low noise and great color.
We do have some complaints with the ultrawide in macro mode, mainly having to do with autofocus. Not only is it a bit fiddly at close range, but it doesn't even allow you to get that close to the subject. This is very odd behavior and hopefully fixable, given that the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion had no such issues in the same ultrawide macro scenario with the same hardware on board.
The ThinkPhone has a 32MP selfie camera, but it's not borrowed from the Moto Edge 30 Fusion. It uses a different sensor, and despite some conflicting information we've found online, it does not, in fact, have autofocus.
The camera uses a Quad Bayer pixel arrangement, producing 8MP stills by default. The selfie cam also has two zoom levels.
Quality-wise, we find the selfies quite pleasing overall. Detail is plenty. The colors are nice and natural. Skin tones and texture come through very well. Overall, we have no complaints.
Selfie portraits look great as well, with nearly perfect subject detection and separation and very believable background bokeh.
The ThinkPhone can record video on its main camera at a resolution of up to 8K@30fps. By default, videos get saved in an h.264 format with an AVC video stream (around 130 Mbps for 8K and around 50 Mbps for 4K) with a stereo, 256 kbps, 48 kHz AAC audio track inside an MP4 container. H.265 (HEVC) encoding is also available as an option in the camera settings.
8K videos don't look so good. They are rather soft, and the colors are a bit muted for our taste.
4K videos actually appear sharper than the 8K ones. Otherwise, the two are identical in properties. We would probably stick to 4K recording on this phone.
Here's how the ThinkPhone compares to its competitors in our vast video sample database at both 4K and 8K.
The ultrawide camera can capture video at up to 4K@30fps, which is not something you see on every ultrawide these days, many being limited to 1080p. It also saves in a standard AVC (around 50 Mbps) plus AAC, MP4 format. Quality is great here. Detail is plenty for an ultrawide, contrast is good, and colors are nice, though not exactly a good match to the main camera. Dynamic range is pretty wide, too, and there are no obvious defects like corner softness or excessive distortion.
The selfie camera, just like the ultrawide, maxes out at 4K@30fps. It also saves in a standard AVC (above 60 Mbps) plus AAC, MP4 format. And its quality is stellar. Facial features, color and texture, come out looking great with a lot of detail. Colors are good, too.
There is stabilization available across all three cameras on the ThinkPhone. The main one has OIS, which already smooths out larger bumps and shakes. Beyond that, there is EIS which does a great job on all the cameras. You can see the results in the following playlist.
One thing worth noting is that EIS appears to max out at 4K resolution, which means that you just get OIS at 8K on the main camera.
We don't particularly like how the main camera handles itself in low light conditions. The photos it captures are blurry and soft and way too dark, with crushed detail in the shadows. Light sources are blown out as well.
The ThinkPhone has an automatic night mode that kicks in of its own volition. There is a manual night mode beyond that, though, which makes a more tangible difference to the shots. It does take a couple of seconds or so for the ThinkPhone to capture a night-mode photo, but it's worth it.
On the main camera, night mode cleans up the image and sharpens it up noticeably. So much so, in fact, that these photos tend to look overprocessed but still better than the regular ones.
Light sources are handled much better in night mode too. Though, the shots are still a bit too dark for our taste.
The ultrawide camera resorts to automatic night mode a lot more often than the main cam, which is probably at least part of why its shots look quite decent in comparison. Detail is there, colors, while not necessarily true to life, look vibrant, light sources are handled well, and there is even detail in the shadows.
Toggling on manual night mode on the ultrawide has little effect beyond what is already being applied automatically. Still, you can get slightly more sharpening and a bit better light source handling.
Low-light selfies look great for what they are. Skin texture looks decent, and the facial features are intact.
Colors are slightly off, but we can't ask for miracles here. Plus, the screen selfie flash seems to be the culprit, at least to an extent.
There is no night mode available for the selfie camera.
8K low-light videos from the main camera aren't particularly impressive. These are way too dark, and there is quite a bit of focus hunting. Other than that, light sources are handled decently well, and the colors look nice and lively.
4K videos seem to look marginally better. At least slightly brighter. The focusing issue is still present, though. Overall, these are not flagship-grade low-light videos.
4K footage from the ultrawide camera is pretty dark, and a bit noisy, but both are a lot more forgivable given its hardware. There appears to be no focus-hunting either.