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How good is the LG G4 camera? A real-world evaluation

JR Raphael | May 11, 2015
It's been a long time coming, but top-notch photography is finally making its way to Android phones.

Once you get into the Camera app, though, the interface is fantastic. By default, the app uses an Auto mode that gives you a shutter button on the bottom (or side, depending on how you're holding the phone) and a small handful of options at the top (or alternate side). All you do is tap anywhere on the screen to set the focus (if you want to override the system's auto-focus choices) and then press the shutter button to capture a picture. You can manually activate HDR, too, though in theory it should automatically activate on its own when appropriate.

By default, the LG G4 uses Auto mode, which lets you tap to focus.

You can also opt to use an even more pared-down Simple mode, which turns the entire screen into a giant viewfinder and lets you simply tap anywhere on the display to simultaneously focus and snap a photo. You can pinch to zoom in or out — and that's about it. If you're like most folks and don't plan to spend much time messing with settings, this mode is probably the way to go; capturing a photo can't get much easier. (The only caveat is that the mode appears to have no way to take a video — a strange and unfortunate omission.)

In Simple mode, the LG G4 becomes a basic point-and-shoot camera.

And last but not least, if you're feeling particularly ambitious and know your way around camera configurations, you can switch the G4 into Manual mode — which, like the manual modes on other Android phones, gives you complete control over advanced settings like white balance, focus, shutter speed and ISO. It also allows you to save photos in the editing-friendly RAW format, if you're a photo expert and want that kind of granular processing ability.

Photographers and experts will want to try Manual mode, which gives complete control over camera settings.

Regardless of which mode I used, I found shutter speed on the G4 to be generally pretty fast, though not instantaneous. In fact, it occasionally got perplexingly poky, like when the lighting wasn't great or I manually activated HDR. In those instances, a solid few seconds sometimes passed from when I pressed the shutter button to when the photo was actually captured, which made it hard to know when it was safe to move my phone without messing up the shot. But more often than not, it wasn't an issue.

By the way, if you ever feel like playing paparazzi, the G4 has the now-standard option in which you can hold down the shutter button (in anything but Simple mode) to take a series of rapid-style photos in close succession.

 

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