The camera hardware included here is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the dual-sensor solution is compelling, and has remained from last year’s flagship. Both cameras use 13-megapixel Sony IMX258 1/3” sensors with 1.12µm pixels. The primary camera is paired with a 29.6mm (71-degree field of view) f/1.8 lens and optical image stabilization. The secondary camera has a wide angle 11.5mm (125-degree) f/2.4 lens with no autofocus or OIS.
On the other hand, many aspects to this camera have been downgraded from last year’s model. The main camera has seen a resolution decrease from 16- to 13-megapixels at the same pixel size, though it is good to see the wide-angle camera has been bumped from 8- to 13-megapixels. Laser autofocus has been removed in favor of just phase detection, and the color spectrum sensor that assisted with white balance has also been removed. Even OIS on the wide-angle camera has been removed.
It seems many of these features have made way to reduce production costs, which is a little disappointing. Laser autofocus in particular would have been handy to retain as neither sensor includes dual pixel technology, like the ultrafast Galaxy S8. The G6 isn’t a slow camera by any means, but it’s not hugely fast either.
I like the combination of a normal and wide-angle camera here. The wide-angle camera can be very handy for capturing landscape shots, but you don’t necessarily want the fish-eye look every time. The balance between the versatile primary camera, which is perfect for macro and mid-range shots, and the ultra-wide secondary camera makes this camera setup more flexible than normal single-camera setups.
It’s great to see both cameras using the same sensor now, which allows LG to use the same processing for both normal and wide-angle shots. The light-gathering ability of the wide-angle camera is reduced due to its f/2.4 lens, and its focus is fixed to infinity, but for the most part your shots will look similar whether they’re taken with the normal camera or wide-angle camera.
LG’s camera is still fantastic in sunlight, and with the G6 we’re getting improved detail. The G5’s camera was prone to significant noise reduction artefacts and the ‘oil painting effect’, but this is largely gone with the G6, leading to photos with a higher perceived detail even though the main camera’s resolution has decreased. This is a great result here and shows LG has spent some time tweaking their processing.
The G6 also performs spectacularly in low light, particularly considering the sensor only has 1.12 micron pixels. It outperforms the Pixel XL and Galaxy S8+ in this regard, producing bright, sharp and vibrant photos at night. The wide-angle camera isn’t as good in these conditions, but the primary camera surprised me with how great it is in low light. Again, LG’s processing has improved here.
Unfortunately, there is one area where the G6 has regressed in comparison to the G5. For some bizarre reason, indoor performance isn’t as good. Photos taken in weaker lighting can look a bit lackluster, and across the board it seems like the IMX258 produces lower dynamic range than the IMX234 used in the G5. The automatic HDR mode also tends to fall behind other top-end handsets in terms of the additional dynamic range it provides.
The main thing to note with the G6 is that, in general, it’s not as good as the Galaxy S8 or the Google Pixel. That’s not to say it’s a bad camera – it performs about par for a flagship smartphone – but it can’t match the top-end quality of Google or Samsung. The Pixel camera is still phenomenal in most aspects, and the LG G6 just can’t match it.
As for the front-facing camera, again we’re surprisingly seeing a downgrade from an 8-megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 lens to a 5-megapixel camera with an f/2.2 lens. The selfie camera is much wider than before, now sporting a 100-degree field of view, although the quality isn’t impressive at all. In low light in particular, the selfie camera struggles badly, and there’s been a noticeable downgrade in detail compared to the G5. This is disappointing considering how important selfie cameras are.
LG’s camera app is still very good, with an easy to use layout and an outstanding manual mode. Access to frequently-changed settings is easy thanks to icons placed around the interface, and I love the ability to shoot both video and photo from within the same interface. Popout is an interesting camera mode that combines shots from both rear cameras, though for the most part, the G6 includes shooting modes we’ve seen before like panorama, slow motion, time lapse and so forth.
As both rear sensors are now the same, both cameras support up to 2160p30 video capture along with 1080p60 and even 2:1 aspect ratio recordings that fill the entire display. Slow motion recording appears to be 720p120 of okay, though not amazing quality. Of course the 4K captures use the same processing as still images, so they look great.