Last week, we unboxed this guy right here, the LG G4; took our first look and hands on. And I asked you guys what you want to see in future videos here at PhoneDog.com on the LG G4. And a huge amount of you wanted to see things about the camera. So welcome to my LG G4 Camera Review. And we’re really going to check out if this is any better than the LG G3, which already had a pretty good camera.
LG has done a host of new upgrades to the LG G4 in the camera department. But first we have to acquaint ourselves with the LG G3. That phone had a 13MP camera, had OIS, 4K UHD video. And it was really one of my favorite cameras of 2014. It even had a feature called laser autofocus, where it shot little lasers to figure out where to focus.
This year, LG bumped up the sensor to a 16MP camera. It’s still a 1/2.6-inch sensor, which isn’t too big at all. It’s less than a half inch sensor. But in general, they actually improved a lot of great things about the sensor itself. First of all, they improved Dynamic Range greatly on the sensor. Secondly, they improved the optics of the camera. They’ve improved the aperture opening to a 1.8 f-stop, which lets a lot more light in which is needed for a small sensor, which should be good. And lastly, they’ve improved Optical Image Stabilization because now it not only moves in up down left and right motions, it also does all those diagonal motions in between. So that means you can have a lot more stability and a lot more flexibility in terms of what you’re actually shooting in video.
Our way of approaching this camera review is based on the LG G3 and my impressions of that camera last year. The first thing I want to talk about is Dynamic Range. Last year, the G3 had pretty decent Dynamic Range in photo mode. It wasn’t terribly good in video mode so this year the G4 has a lot more improved Dynamic Range in photo mode. It can definitely handle with more light situations. But one thing that it still can’t do very well is just very contrast-y images. We’re talking about blue sunny sky and really dark settings.
In video mode, we’re probably seeing a little bit of improvement here. We’re talking about average Dynamic Range for a phone camera. Definitely the Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6 take better video. We’re talking about video quality but just Dynamic Range.
The second thing I want to talk about is the detail on the LG G4’s camera. Last year, 13MP camera had plenty of detail and this year, we have a 16MP camera and a larger aperture opening. So far, the detail has been fantastic. Really good vivid details, really sharp images as well. It can get a little artifact-y when the light’s kind of dim or you have a lot of shadow areas in the photo. It’s just a little strange but nothing out of the ordinary of a mobile phone camera. The detail in video mode is not as good as the 16MP photo stills obviously because it’s half the resolution. But generally, the 4K UHD video is probably not as good as the Galaxy S6, definitely better than the HTC One M9 and definitely better than the last generation LG G3.
The Optical Image Stabilization has also been improved on the LG G4. As I mentioned, it now works really in all directions. And one thing that I’ve really noticed, especially in video mode, is that it definitely moves quite a lot and it looks really robotic. Now this is nothing out of the ordinary again because well the Galaxy S6, the iPhone 6 Plus, and the Galaxy Note 4 all kind of suffer from the same thing of having really strange-looking OIS stabilization. And you really can’t defeat it because the actual lens is moving up and down, left and right and that’s just what happens when things move like that.
It does result in pretty smooth video. If you have it on a tripod or a monopod or if you’re going handheld and have very stable hands, it probably will do very well. But if I’m just like walking down a kind of bumpy path in the middle of the forest, we’re looking at some strange looking videos. It kind of looks just robotic. It definitely works better than the LG G3 but it’s just not as fine-tuned to something like the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.
Next thing I want to talk about is the improvement of laser autofocus. That was debuted with the LG G3 and it incorporated a laser system to kind of send out little beams and figure out the distances between the camera and the object you set to autofocus. And this year, it is lightning fast. It works really fast. The only thing I don’t like about the LG G4’s camera, in terms of autofocus system, is that it makes some really strange noises. And I’m talking about a kind of fake DSLR autofocus noise. And you just can’t turn that off and it’s kind of annoying.
But the actual performance of the autofocus system is amazing. It works really fast, quite not as fast as say the Galaxy S6 but it’s pretty darn fast. It’s faster than the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and that’s a spectacular thing.
The last thing I want to mention of the LG G4 in the camera department is the 8MP front-facing camera. This is, by far, the best selfie camera I’ve used ever. It really, really is freaking good. I’m not even sure how it’s really good. It’s an 8MP front-facing camera and it takes amazing selfies. The detail on the photos is just really good and I think a lot of people are going to be extremely happy with the quality of the front-facing camera.
Now to sum all of this up, the whole camera system on the LG G4, which means the 16MP rear-facing camera and the 8MP front-facing camera are both superb cameras. Rear-facing camera is fantastic, maybe not as good as the Galaxy S6 but freaking amazing in terms of quality. 4K UHD video is really good, 16MP photo stills are really good, panorama, slow motion are really good, and the laser autofocus system is really good. The OIS is a little robotic but still works really good wonders on your 4K video. And in general, it’s a big improvement over the LG G3 and it definitely is kind of a thing that makes you kind of itch and say “I freaking want to get the LG G4” if you already own an LG G3 because I think the camera is that much better.
But I definitely want to hear what you guys think of the LG G4, especially in the camera department. What do you think about the samples I posted in this video? Do you think it looks good, it looks bad? Make sure to leave your comments on the comments section below.