I really wanted to get a final answer about how good the LG G4 is in low light, how good is it’s high ISO performance. I’ve read some that say that it’s better than the iPhone 6, others saying that it’s worse. I’ve decided to take a look at some image quality tests the test I’ve seen so far on the web and found useful and summarize the results for myself.
Gizmodo — The first comparison test was done by Gizmodo in which they compared the iPhone 6, LG G4 and Galaxy S6 in low-light. I’ve checked the full-size LG G4 sample image. It was shot in F1.8, ISO 2450, 1/9 sec shutter speed, No flash and in JPEG. In those images it looks like the LG G4 have stronger NR (Noise Reduction) than the S6 and iPhone 6. That said, we have no indication of what ISO sensitivity the other images were shot. The iPhone 6 image processor might apply a stronger NR in higher ISO settings, so this test doesn’t tell us which one performs better.
- At higher ISO sensitivity, LG G4 applies strong NR
- LG G4 high ISO images are clean at the cost of fine details
- White balance can miss sometimes as it missed in that particular shot. The iPhone 6 color balancing was much more accurate
- In daylight, LG G4 shown superior detailed image (resolution aside). Per-pixel sharpness it shown significantly better performance than the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6
droid-life.com — the site compared the LG G4 in various shooting conditions, including in outdoor and indoors in different lighting conditions and subject distances, including in HDR mode. It’s interesting to see how the LG G4 compared to the HTC One M9 and the Galaxy S6 in their comparison.
Let’s see if the test was done appropriately using the same camera settings. Keep in mind that it’s not always possible if the camera doesn’t let you set it manually. Furthermore, each camera has its own unique setting boundaries. This means that a camera with a fixed-aperture of f/1.8 might result in a significantly better exposure and therefore less noise than a f/2.2 camera under the same other settings. And the aperture cannot be changed, it is fixed. But that’s OK, because it’s a fixed value, and we don’t ignore this advantage because it’s cannot be changed to match the other cameras. If that camera has a larger aperture, that advantage needs to be counted.
Furthermore, those sample images are taken at the same exact scene very close in terms of timing. This way we can understand, regardless of the different camera settings, which camera handles the scene better. Even further than that, we can understand which settings the camera prefer to use in Auto mode. Some cameras might favor higher ISO than slower shutter speed and vise versa.
Outdoor shaded lighting:
- LG G4: ISO 50, 1/60 sec, f/1.8, JPEG
- Galaxy S6: ISO 40, 1/60 sec, f/1.9, JPEG
- HTC One M9: ISO 80, 1/120 sec, f/2.2, JPEG
You can see what I mean. Each camera was taken with different exposure. For example, the S6 exposure is around half stop slower than the LG G4 and the HTC One MP is one stop slower than the G4. This is why the G4 exposure looks better on the LG G4 than the other two. The M9 image is the darkest among the three, but that’s because it has the lowest exposure value. I actually was more interested in the outdoor night shot, to inspect the high ISO performance, let’s take a look at the EXIF data.
- LG G4: ISO 1200, 1/9 sec, f/1.8, No Flash, JPEG
- Galaxy S6: ISO 1000, 1/9 sec, f/1.9, No Flash, JPEG
- HTC One M9: ISO 1600, 1/9 sec, f/2.2, No Flash, JPEG
All of the photos were taken with the same shutter speed, the default fixed aperture, no flash and JPEG. The only different he is the ISO sensitivity. The M9 has the noisiest image, but it was also captures at the highest ISO sensitivity.
I’ve also noticed that the Galaxy S6 produced better looking Bokeh effect. It seems that all the photos were taken from the same distance from the flower. The S6 has significantly shallower depth of field, which also blurred the flower buds. The focal length, aperture and distance from the subject effect the depth of field. But because it might shot in slightly different distances, we can’t evaluate the Bokeh quality. It has to be shot at the same exact distance.
Indoor Low Lighting:
- LG G4: ISO Not specified
The ISO for the LG G4 wasn’t specified (shown as o) for that image, so I can’t evaluate it against the other cameras.
- The LG G4 has an advantage over the HTC One M9, because in auto mode, it can use a lower ISO than the M9 for a given scene because it has a faster aperture lens
- G4 better than S6— The LG G4 performed better than the S6, even though the S6 sample image was shot with a lower ISO sensitivity
- Galaxy S6 white balance was more accurate correcting the artificial light color cast than the LG G4 and HTC One M9, the LG G4 did the worst in that test. We can see that also when the flash was used, the S6 white balance did the best job among the three.
We can see that this is the second test we can observe that the camera fails to detect the artificial lighting. It happened in the gizmodo sample image and we can see it here again. S6 did the best in detecting artificial lighting and making the right corrections to the image would appear natural without any color cast.
tomsguide.com — Tom’s Guide compared the LG G4 main camera vs the Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6 Plus rear cameras. We can see that the LG G4 wasn’t able to eliminate most of the lens flare. The S6 did much better and the iPhone 6 did better than both. This might be the result of the LG G4 wider aperture, FOV or lens coating whether exists or not. I don’t know what causes this because I don’t have enough info. But no doubt that the iPhone 6 Plus did a much better job when shooting against a strong light source.
Tom’s Guide also tested the depth of field. They shot the same subject from the exact same distance. This can help use understand which camera produces the most prominent blurry background. The LG G4 produced the most shallower depth of field effect with very smooth Bokeh
I the Low Light test and in auto mode, the LG G4 performed better than the S6 and iPhone 6+ under the same lighting conditions. We don’t have the exact camera settings, but for that particular given seen, the LG G4 result in a cleaner image. Like in other comparison, the LG G4 struggles to produce natural colors and eliminate the color cast in low-light situations and under artificial light source. The iPhone 6+ shown the least impressive results, which is understandable considering its slower aperture.
- LG G4 had difficulties eliminating lens flare. The iPhone 6 Plus shown the best results, followed by the S6
- LG G4 has the most prominent shallow depth of field effect (blurry background effect) and Bokeh (the quality of the blur effect) compared to the the S6 and iPhone 6+. The iPhone 6+ had shown considerably much less blur than the other cameras. I was very impressed with the Bokeh eof the LG G4, which is due to its faster f/1.8 aperture lens. Bokeh measured the quality of the blurry effect, and indeed it is super smooth on the LG G4.
- LG G4 white balance doesn’t work well indoors in low-light, both with and without flash. The S6 did better using Flash but produces yellow color cast without flash, the iPhone 6 Plus overexposed.
- LG G4 tends to use a higher ISO sensitivity instead of lowering the shutter speed
The LG G4 main camera isn’t a perfect one. The LG G4 produces beautiful and sharp high resolution images in daylight, although it struggled to eliminate lens flare, while the other smartphone cameras of the S6 and iPhone 6 did a better job. The LG G4 produces much more pleasing blurry defocused background effect. In low-light we’ve seen some mixed results. We’ve seen that the LG G4 has problems detecting artificial light source and correcting it, in that case, the Galaxy S6 did a much better job. The G4 also favor a high ISO instead of slower shutter speed in low-light scenes, although I expected it to be the opposite considering it has a superior 3-axis optical image stabilization.
All in all, the LG G4 has one of the most impressive cameras I’ve seen. In some areas it did better than the Galaxy S6 and in some areas id didn’t. The iPhone 6+ was the least impressive among the three in my opinion, especially in low-light. I’ll continue inspecting and evaluating more sample images and update this article accordingly – stay tuned.
Which one you liked better? — share your opinion in the comment section below.
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