Galaxy S7 vs LG G5 Camera Comparison

February 21, 2016

Galaxy S7 and LG G5 rear facing cameras

Samsung has introduced the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge and in this article, I want to compare the S7 and S7 edge cameras versus the LG G5 one. Both LG and Samsung worked to improve their high-end devices and provide consumers with better features, mainly focusing on more advanced online social interactions. LG G5 did it with a modular phone design using ‘Friends’, Samsung seems to put a great deal of focus on Virtual Reality where it has an edge over its competitors because of its Gear VR headset and the newly announced Gear 360 camera.

The G5 also has a VR headset and a 360 camera as external Friend devices, and it seems that in 2016 most of the mobile phone companies will put more effort to show presence in this field. Let’s not forget the Facebook Oculus Rift and Sony PlayStation VR are also planned to be released this year and that will certainly bring the attention of the market towards VR and increase VR related product sales by a large margin. But that’s aside, let’s take a look at the Samsung Galaxy S7 Camera and see how it differs from what the LG G5 has to offer.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Camera

Watching the Samsung Galaxy Unpack 2016 left me with an underwhelming feeling. Maybe I was expecting something really unique from Samsung that made me feel (Again) that there isn’t any true innovation. That said, Samsung did made some very noticeable updated to its camera.

The new S7 rear camera improved in low-light performance with a brighter F1.7 aperture lens and larger 1.4 micron pixels. In the event, Samsung compared the S7 low-light image to the iPhone 6S, showing how the S7 can produce brighter and sharper images under the same lighting conditions  in low-light situations. But one of the most important features is the new 12MP Dual Pixel image sensor for the rear camera.

This Dual Pixel technology is also used by Canon in some of its DSLR cameras. In this technology, every single pixel serves as a phase-detection pixel and used to measure subjects distance. This provides the camera with superior subject tracking performance, especially when shooting in low-light were contrast-detect can fail you down.  The iPhone 6S also use phase-detection pixels, but less than 5% of its effective sensor pixels are used for phase-detection, whether in the S7 and S7 edge, all pixels are utilized.

The S7 and S7 edge have optical image stabilization, and both have a 5MP front-facing camera with also an F1.7 aperture lens.  So what Samsung did was to lower the resolution from the S6 / S6 edge 16MP to have larger pixels and increase the aperture size of the lens from f/1.9 to f/1.7 for both lenses to increase the camera’s low-light performance.

The camera bulge has been reduces and now the camera is almost leveled with the glass. The S7 and S7 edge also has IP68 water-resistant rating (Can be submerged for 30 minutes up to 1.5m deep).  Samsung also improved the battery capacity from 2550 mAh / 2600 mAh in the S6 and S6 edge to 3000mAh and 3600mAh on the S7 and S7 edge respectively.

This all means that the S7 and S7 edge will be able to take better pictures in low-light and provide photographers will considerably faster subject-tracking performance, even in low-light. To me it happens a lot that I miss a shot when trying to focus on a moving subject at night, and Samsung talked about this issue, and solved it with the new Dual Pixel Autofocus system. This Autofocus system is super useful for videos as well, where the camera need to continuously focus on the subject or the subject will in some parts of the video it will appear out of focus and in others it won’t. This will provide you with more consistent results and more professionally looking videos.

Samsung also introduced Motion Panorama, which allows you to take a panorama image but still capture the movement as you sweep the phone from side to side to capture the image. Other two modes include Motion Photo (motion photo of 3 second before and after you press the shutter button) and Hyperlapse for professional looking time-lapse footage (utilizes the vDIS video digital image stabilization). Other features include: Spotlight, Selfie Flash and Wide selfie mode.

So how the S7 camera compared to the LG G5′s?

LG went with a rear dual camera setup. This works pretty well for Samsung in the V10, but now this dual-camera setup is at the back instead at the front. The LG G5 essentially has two rear cameras not just one. The first one is a 16MP camera with 78-degree field of view, the second is an 8-megapixel camera with a 135-degree field of view. You can switch between the two either manually by tapping the icons at the top of the camera UI screen, or by using the pinch to zoom in and out that does a 2x like zooming that seamlessly change between the two cameras. You can still see which camera is used by the highlighted icon at the top of the screen.

The LG G5 utilizes a Laser Autofocus system same as the G4 before it. The G5 AF system is less advanced than the Galaxy S7 one, it has a less effective range (mostly useful within 10 meters) and can’t compete against the Dual-Pixel super-fast phase-detection AF system that the S7 offers.  Furthermore, the LG G5 16MP camera has a slightly slower f/1.8 aperture. If indeed, it uses the same G4 sensor. This also means that we also looking at a sensor with much smaller (1.12-micron) pixels. which are smaller than what the S7 and S7 edge camera image sensors.

We can expect the Samsung Galaxy S7 to easily outperform the LG G5 in low-light, and I’m eager to see some side by side comparisons to see how the S7 really performs in low-light compared to the G5.

The LG G5 unique offering is pretty cool and useful, but I think that people will prefer the S7 better low-light performance, AF system and the fact that the phone itself is waterproof. The LG Cam Plus module can be useful at times where you need an extra battery life, but the S7 and S7 edge has enough capacity to satisfy most user’s demands. Let’s not forget that all those modules cost money, they aren’t offered for free. I think people prefer having the innovation inside than needing to buy extra accessories to improve something in their phone.  Having an option to add modules is nice though, and I like it, but as I said, I find the S7 offering to be better whole around package for heavy shooters.

The Galaxy S7 and S7 edge camera also has a “Pro” mode that allows you to manually control the camera settings, same as the G5.  It seems that Samsung understood that what most people care about it better low-light performance  and it aimed that way. LG wanted to differentiate itself from the competition and came with its own unique setup, which is admirable effort by itself.

Samsung Gear 360 camera

Samsung Gear 360 camera features two CMOS 15 megapixel fisheye cameras

Both companies have their VR and 360 camera offering as external devices that can connect to the device. LG has its 360 VR and 360 CAM ‘Friends’, Samsung has its Gear VR headset (given for free for everyone who pre-orders the Samsung Galaxy S7) and the newly announced Gear 360 camera that allows you to create and share 360-degree videos and images. The Gear 360 has a bright F2.0 lens and you can even shoot 180-degree wide angle video and images by utilizing a single lens. You can view what the camera records in real-time on your S7 phone. The content shot with the 360 camera can be viewed using a Samsung Gear VR for a truly immersive viewing experience. The Gear 360 is also compatible with older models including the S6 edge+, Note 5, S6 edge and S6.

So Samsung also focused on bringing some of its on home-made accessories to the mix. For me, it seems that Samsung already has a large and stable digital imaging ecosystem, while LG tries to build its own. Samsung has a strong partnership with Facebook, and that can really help Samsung grow its VR business even more and make it harder for its competitors to compete against it in the future.

All in all, both the LG G5 and Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge has their own unique and interesting offers. I just find Samsung’s better to my uses. Which camera of which phone you prefer? – Please spend a moment to share your opinion in the comment section below and thanks for reading.

 



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