Hasselblad True Zoom Moto Mod camera samples: 10x optical zoom is awesome

Lenovo’s whipped up some pretty cool Moto Mods for its Moto Z series. You can add an extra battery, a Bluetooth speaker or even a projector onto the back of your device, but the most enticing accessory might be Hasselblad’s True Zoom module. The German camera maker offers powerful 10x optical zoom, promising a superior camera experience.

But does it live up to that promise? Motorola sent us Hasselblad’s Moto Mod and the Moto Z Play to find out.

There’s no denying that adding 10x optical zoom is a great feature. It makes it easy to snap crisp clear photos from a distance without lugging around a standalone camera. But at a closer range, the attachment didn’t seem to make much of a difference. The Moto Z Play and its 16-megapixel shooter actually took better pictures than Hasselblad’s 20-megapixel sensor in some situations where zoom wasn’t required.

See for yourself in the galleries below, which compare identical shots taken with Hasselblad’s True Zoom and the Moto Z Play’s regular camera. Then read on for a more detailed breakdown of what this Moto Mod has to offer.

Hasselblad True Zoom:

Moto Z Play:

It’s tough to say exactly why Hasselblad’s module suffers in some settings. I think that in less-than-ideal sunlight the Moto Z Play’s built-in camera simply offers a more natural look. It’s not a huge difference, though, and the photos taken with the True Zoom mod looked pretty good overall. Still, I wouldn’t recommend grabbing this camera module along unless you think you’ll be making good use of that optical zoom.

As soon as you start to zoom the difference becomes clear. The Moto Z Play’s photo quality almost immediately starts to blur, while Hasselblad’s True Zoom stays crisp thanks to that optical zoom. People and objects almost a block away are easy to make out, and the details of NY’s iconic skyscrapers are clearly visible from across the river.

The True Zoom attaches to the Moto Z Play with a satisfying snap. As soon as the magnets align it’s connected, and it pulls off easily too thanks to a small ridge on the bottom edge. Once the Moto Mod is attached it takes over the camera automatically. You can even launch it by quickly twisting the smartphone twice. Turning off the module is as simple as closing the camera app, though there’s also a physical power button built into the module.

Hasselblad included a physical shutter button as well, with a rotating knob for controlling the zoom. You can press the shutter down halfway to focus and click it all the way to snap a shot. Focusing that way can sometimes take a little longer, though, and it’s often easier to simply tap the screen and specify exactly where you want the camera to focus.

The True Zoom module is clearly well designed. It feels solid in my hands and the lens extends smoothly when as it zooms. Unfortunately, it’s also really bulky, more than doubling the thickness of the Moto Z Play. When the smartphone and Moto Mod were attached they were too bulky to fit into my pocket; even on its own, the camera felt awkward in my jeans. You’ll definitely want to bring some sort of bag with you to carry this module around when you’re not using it.

On the software side, Lenovo did an admirable job of keeping the software simple. There are some settings to dive into, but everything works automatically if you let it. All your pictures will go straight to Google Photos. From there you can do whatever you want with them right on your smartphone, or log into your account on a computer and download them there.

The Hasselblad True Zoom module is available for $250 from Verizon (Motorola is also selling it for $300). It’s a nice addition if you’re using a Moto Z smartphone. Just don’t expect all your photos to come out better as soon as the Moto Mod is attached.

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