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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.

In order to test this, I took a few photos with both the LG G4 and the Olympus OM-D E-M10, a favorably reviewed midrange mirrorless camera. The results were fairly predictable — I didn't really expect the G4 to come up to the standards of a "real" camera — but I thought they were still interesting.

The top shot of brightly colored algae on a lake, taken by the LG G4, looks decent. But when you compare it to the same shot (bottom) taken with automatic settings on the Olympus, you can see that the G4 failed to pick up some of the vibrancy of the green hues in the scene.

The same applies to the two photographs of a forest scene below. The photo on top is the G4's version and at bottom is the same image taken on the Olympus OM-D E-M10 moments later. All things in perspective, of course: Considering that we're talking about a smartphone shooter alongside an $800 camera, the G4's image really isn't half-bad.

Dealing with movement and low light

Two of the most difficult types of photos to capture are moving objects and low-light environments. Under those conditions, even the best smartphone camera can falter.

Capturing moving objects with the G4 can be pretty iffy. I took four photos of this stunning subject in a gently swinging baby chair. This was the clearest shot; the others had even more motion blur.

In moderate low light — at night, with just a small pink lamp on the wall overhead — the G4 does okay. Its photos look a little grainy, but there's still a reasonable amount of detail and the image is usable, if not stellar.

In even dimmer low light — at nighttime, with only a single soft lamp across the room — the G4 starts to struggle. It still manages to deliver an image in which I can make out the subject, but the quality is pretty poor. (In fact, it's possible that someone unfamiliar with the photo may not be able to make out any details at all, especially when the image is shrunk down to fit this article page.)

The above photo, meanwhile, was taken in a garage with a single covered window. The G4's image isn't awful — it captures a little detail, while many smartphones would have delivered a useless black rectangle in the same conditions — but like the previous image, this one is barely passable. (You'll be able to make out more detail if you click through to the hi-res version.) I had much better luck with the Galaxy S6 in low light, as you can see in images similar to this one and to the baby shot above (both taken on different days but with comparable conditions).

 

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