When you think of how you use your smartphone, several things come to mind: calling, texting, browsing the web, checking social media, streaming music, playing movies, reading books and, oh yes, taking pictures. The camera is one of the most important parts of a smartphone, and LG decided to make sure that its flagship G3 was outfitted with a good one.
The G3′s camera features a 13-megapixel sensor paired with optical image stabilization. A dual-LED flash sits on one side of the camera while the other side plays home the stand-out feature of the camera: a laser autofocus. The system shoots a laser that hits an object, then bounces back to the IR camera that does some math and figures out the distance from the camera to the object and determines where to focus. Oh, and this all takes place in about .276 seconds.
In real world usage, the camera works as well as you’d expect with such a system, which is to say that it’s a great camera. It focuses quickly, is easy to use and provides high-quality results that are almost always on par with the industry standard iPhone 5S. The auto white balance is accurate and the camera does a good job with dynamic range. For even better contrast and dynamic range, you can use the dedicated HDR mode that bumps it up even more. Look at the comparison below with and without HDR.
The G3 has some other tricks up its sleeve, including a Magic Focus that works surprisingly well. What it does is quickly take several pictures at different focal lengths, then gives you the option to choose which focus you want. The concept is great and works well for macro shots. Other than that, though, it becomes a bit useless. Another flaw is that you can only change the focus right after you take the photo, meaning that you can’t change it later. Check out the shot below for an example of Magic Focus.
We also pitted Magic Focus against HTC’s UFocus. Checking out the result below, we can see that Magic Focus not only looks far more natural, but is also far more accurate in where it chooses to defocus. And as an added bonus, you can see how much better the G3 is with dynamic range and white balance.
keyThe camera UI itself makes the shooter fairly easy to use. In auto mode, the only two buttons are a back button to exit the camera app and a settings button. The entire screen is your shutter button and you simply to tap it to take a picture. When you turn on special modes like Magic Focus, a dedicated shutter button does appear. On the whole, the camera app is very minimal, which is a good thing when compared to some of the cluttered camera UIs out there.
LG hit a home run with the G3 camera, pairing a great sensor with OIS and high-speed laser autofocus. While LG has had camera struggles in the past, we’re glad to see that it’s resolved them with the G3, allowing for a true flagship experience.
Check out the gallery below for more pictures from the G3.