LG G4 Camera vs iPhone 6 Plus, Samsung S6 Edge and Note 4

May 3, 2015

LG G4 camera with sunset

The LG G4 smartphone is here and it brings some amazing new features, among them is an upgraded front and rear camera. In this article I want to see how the LG G4 camera is compared to the iPhone 6 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S6 and Note 4 main cameras – so let’s begin.

Before we move on, let’s take a look at the LG G4 camera specs versus the camera specs of the iPhone 6 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and Galaxy Note 4.


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* this table will be updated with more info when available.

Not all the information is available, and I’ll fill it up when I get to find it or you can drop me a comment and I’ll fill it up.

The LG G4 main camera packs some new cool features. The first one is a new 16MP 1/2.6-inch BSI CMOS sensor, moving from 13MP of the LG G3. This is Sony IMX234 Exmor R sensor. This is the same sensor found on the ZTE Nubia Z9 and Z9 mini smartphones.

The LG G4 sensor has of the same size as the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and Galaxy Note 4, but it’s a more advanced sensor.

Raw File Capture

The LG G4 camera can sensor can also output Raw file directly to the memory card in DNG Raw file format. The LG G4 also let you shoot in RAW + JPEG. Raw files are contains much more data as they contain the Raw pixel data from the sensor, untouched and unprocessed. You can’t view it directly on your computer. This file needs to be processed before it can be viewed.

There are many benefits in shooting in Raw file format:

First of all, the sensor data can be processed on your computer and use more advanced Bayer interpolation algorithms , which require more processing power. The results, in most part, is more detailed image with better color reproduction due to the amount of data for each pixel. In-camera sharpness, white balance, saturation, effects, etc. – all this data is saved separately from the image.

When shooting images in Jpeg format, all the image properties are saved as part of the image and directly change the color of each pixel (also called “destructive editing”). Which means that once applied, you can’t go back and correct the original image, what is done is done. This is why professional photographers shoot in Raw, because it provided the image editing software like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom with more color data and it allows them to edit the image and change various settings in post-processing (e.g. change exposure, white balance, adjust saturation, sharpness, etc.). Raw doesn’t apply to video on the G4, only for photo capture.

F1.8 Aperture Lens

The LG G4 features a 4.42mm  f/1.8 aperture lens. f/1.8 aperture refers to the ‘maximum aperture‘ of the lens. The largest opening possible for the lens. The smaller the f-number, the larger that opening is and the more light that can pass through the lens. This is crucial for low-light photography, as we want as much light as possible to reach the sensor.

aperture sizes comparison

Different Aperture openings

We can see that the LG G4 has the brightest lens among the four. The iPhone S6 Edge has a f/1.9 aperture, which is slightly less fast than the LG G4. It is equivalent to 0.156 stops difference. Each stop means 2x times the amount of light.  This is certainly one area where LG G4 takes the crown. It also beats the iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy Note 4 f/2.2 lens.

The LG G4 like the Galaxy Note 4 and S6 Edge have smaller pixels than the iPhone 6 Plus, But we’ve already seen that the S6 Edge was able to produce better results in DxOMark image quality tests, conquering the first place with the highest rating among all smartphones. This tells us that the pixel size, although very important, is not the only parameter that effect the overall image quality. The combination of advanced sensor technology and image processing and maximum aperture size have a direct effect on the results.

LG G4 for Low Light Photography

The LG G4 brings some improvements to make it better in when shooting under difficult lighting conditions. The faster aperture is the first one, the second is an improved optical image stabilization that LG dubbed OIS 2.0. This image stabilization utilizes three-axis gyro (compensate movement on the z-axis, not just on the x and y axis). So unlike many other OIS systems that only compensate for 2-axis, the LG G4 compensate movements on 3-axis (the LG G3 had 2-axis image stabilization). the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy Note 4 and Apple iPhone S6 Plus also have 2-axis image stabilization.

This feature is very important for low-light photography. The OIS compensates for camera shake when shooting handheld, and therefore it minimize the chance to get a blurry image. According to the shutter speed rule of thumb, in order to get a sharp image, you need to shoot at a shutter speed that is equivalent to at least 1/focal length sec. So for example, if you shoot with a 28mm lens,  you have to shoot at 1/28 sec. or faster shutter speed to get a sharp image.

The OIS allows the photographer to shoot at lower shutter speed. It depends on the OIS effectiveness. Most OIS will usually give you around 2 to 3 stops advantage. So you can shoot at shutter speeds that are 2 to 3 stops lower than the recommended shutter speed according to the ‘shutter speed rule of thumb’. Each stop equals to two times the amount of light. So this means that if you shoot at 1/60 sec in order to get a sharp image, you can shoot at 1/15 sec or at 1/8 sec and still get a sharp image. When you lower the shutter speed, you increase the amount of light that enters the lens, and by that you allow the camera to capture more light to get the optimal exposure when shooting in difficult lighting conditions.

So the combination of faster aperture with a more effective optical image stabilization should certainly give the LG G4 an edge over the competition.

According to ibtimes.com, Apple may be interested to acquire a 6-axis integrated gyroscope and accelerometer chip. This seems like Apple is also looking for ways to improve the OIS of its future iPhones, and me might see a significantly better OIS on the iPhone 7.

The LG G4 also features Laser Light AF. It’s the same laser-assisted focus mechanism of the G3. The laser AF has a very fast response time of 0.276 seconds (it varies depends on the shooting conditions). This technology is used to measure car’s speeds. It’s already proven to do a better job than some of the phones that use phase-detection.

It works by scattering light across the scene and provide the contrast-detect AF with enough illumination to be able to lock on the subject.This is why this AF works amazingly well in low-light and supports the already great performance of the contrast-detect AF. The LG G4 therefore can focus in almost complete darkness, which makes its camera even better for low-light photography.


There are many other things to talk about, and I’ll write about them in part 2 of this comparison.  I will talk about the Color Spectrum Sensor, 4K video recording, HDR, subject tracking performance, LG G4 high ISO performance and more cool stuff.

All in all, we can see that the LG G4 improved in the important areas that a camera should be improved in order to provide better image quality, cleaner images in high ISO and  better performance in low-light. It seems like LG G4 really spent time and effort in making the LG G4 better than the competition. The initial impressions seems like it did it right. The iPhone 6 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and Galaxy Note 4 — all have to fear from this new smartphone. LG did an amazing job with the G4.

To be continued..



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