Motorola Moto Z Play & Hasselblad True Zoom: The Ultimate Power Couple

 

Motorola Moto Z Play & Hasselblad True Zoom

Conchita Fernandes places the dynamic duo, the Moto Z Play and the Hasselblad True Zoom on the test bench.

The rather small realm of modular phones have so far been limited to just battery attachments. This changed though with Motorola’s latest flagship, the Moto Z Play and its range of moto mods—one of which is the Hasselblad True Zoom. When put together, it promises to be a strong partnership.

Owing to the considerable bulge that comes with the Hasselblad module, the company has provided a suede pouch to keep the device intact, while you’re on the go.

What’s Inside the Moto Z Play
It features a 16MP rear camera (f/2.0 aperture) with dual LED flash, 4x digital zoom, laser AF and PDAF, 5MP front camera, and shoots 4K Ultra HD video at 30fps. There is a Professional mode (Focus, WB, Shutterspeed—up to 1/6000 sec, ISO and Exposure Compensation) too, available for the front camera as well. You can also shoot panoramas and slow motion videos, along with HDR on both the cameras.

This image was shot on the Moto Z Play. The phone beautifully renders colours and contrast in the image, and requires barely any adjustments at the editing stage. Photograph/Conchita Fernandes

This image was shot on the Moto Z Play. The phone beautifully renders colours and contrast in the image, and requires barely any adjustments at the editing stage. Photograph/Conchita Fernandes

How Did it Fare…
The Moto Z Play was a quick shooter and did a good job of locking focus, even in low light. It also performed well in avoiding blown out highlights and renders colours well. Up until ISO 2000, the camera does a good job in keeping the details intact, beyond which there is a steady increase of noise reduction. On the not so pleasing side… Images shot with the camera’s dual LED flash appeared as if a bad cast had been applied to it. Also sometimes, even if the scene did not warrant it, the phone would automatically switch to the Night mode. This would require a little extra effort from my end to keep the camera steady. Additionally, the burst rate of the camera seemed to lag behind a bit. The smooth exterior of the phone felt a bit slippery and not as sturdy to hold.

AT A GLANCE
SPECIFICATIONS D16MP rear camera with dual LED flash, laser AF and PDAF, 5MP front camera, 4K Ultra HD video, Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, Rs. 24,999
WHAT WE LIKE Good camera, sleek design, fast AF
WHAT WE DISLIKE Dual LED flash, no RAW, pricing
WHY BUY IT The phone is a good buy if you are looking for a device that provides good image quality, UI and a premium finish.
FINAL RATINGS 85%
CAMERA FEATURES 16MP, Laser AF, PDAF  23/25 
IMAGE QUALITY  Good low light performance  25/30
VIDEO QUALITY 4K Ultra HD video at 30fps  13/15
HANDLING  Sleek but slightly slippery to hold  12/15
SPEED & RESPONSIVENESS Slight lag when shooting in the burst mode  12/15

What the Hasselblad is All About
The Hasselblad True Zoom magnetically attaches to the back of the Moto Z Play, and receives its power from it. The exterior of the module features a power button and zoom toggle, which also acts as a shutter button. The back features a textured rubber grip at the bottom, making it convenient to hold. The module comes with a 25–250mm (35mm equivalent) f/3.5-6.5 lens and a 12MP 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS sensor, with 10x optical zoom and 4x digital zoom (there’s an option to turn off the latter), and also features a Xenon flash. The camera can shoot 1080p Full HD videos at 30fps.

The Hasselblad True Zoom lets you shoot in three formats— Colour JPEG, B&W (JPEG) and Colour (RAW+JPEG). The RAW files are saved in the DNG format.

It also features a Professional mode (Focus, WB, Shutterspeed—up to 1/2000 sec, ISO and Exposure Compensation) and lets you shoot Panoramas as well. There are a bunch of scene modes to try out as well— Sports, Night Portrait, Backlight Portrait, Night Landscape and Landscape.

The compact camera sensor in the Hasselblad True Zoom did a good job in bringing out details in the photograph. Photograph/Conchita Fernandes

The compact camera sensor in the Hasselblad True Zoom did a good job in bringing out details in the photograph. Photograph/Conchita Fernandes

The Good and the Not So Good
In low light, at ISO 800, there is a fair amount of noise in the RAW files, but the images are still usable. However, at ISO 3000 and above, luminance and chrominance noise is very evident. The camera’s JPEG engine did a decent job in processing the RAW files. I also particularly enjoyed the results of the images shot using flash, and the quality was similar to something you’d get out of a DSLR. The camera’s AF was good under ambient lighting. Additionally, the burst speed, just like in the Moto Z Play, was slow, and the phone also took time to render JPEG+RAW files. Moreover, along with the module, the phone lost its discreetness, and invited quite a bit of attention in public.

Is it Worth the Price?
Despite its good image quality and shooting experience, at Rs. 24,999, the Moto Z Play is a tad bit expensive. It doesn’t offer anything exceptional on the camera front. But I do appreciate the phone’s UI and build, and may consider spending a little more for a device with a good camera and design. On the other hand, the Hasselblad is priced at Rs. 19,999, an amount equivalent today to a good cameraphone. However, for this price you get a compact camera sensor in a phone device, superior flash, 10x zoom and the ability to shoot RAW. If you are serious about photography and the quality of your images, then the Hasselblad True Zoom is probably something you should consider investing in.

AT A GLANCE
SPECIFICATIONS 25–250mm (35mm equivalent) f/3.5-6.5 lens, 12MP 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS sensor, 1080p Full HD video, OIS (stills), EIS (video), Rs. 19,999
WHAT WE LIKE Camera sensor, RAW shooting, Xenon flash
WHAT WE DISLIKE Slight lag in RAW+JPEG processing, not as discreet
WHY BUY IT If camera quality is important to you, then the Hasselblad module gives you a superior sensor, along with 10x zoom
FINAL RATINGS 86%
CAMERA FEATURES 12MP 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS sensor, 10x zoom  23/25 
IMAGE QUALITY  Good low light performance and RAW files  26/30
VIDEO QUALITY 1080p video at 30fps  13/15
HANDLING  Bulky exterior  12/15
SPEED & RESPONSIVENESS Slight lag when processing RAW+JPEG images  12/15
Tags: 4k, Cellphone Review, Conchita Fernandes, December 2016, Hasselblad True Zoom, Moto mods, Moto Z Play, PDAF, Raw, zoom

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