The camera on the LG G3 is a pretty good affair, despite being largely similar in spec to the LG G2. This means the same 13MP sensor, enhanced optical image stabilisation (OIS+) and the same efforts to overly-disguise noisy photos by smoothing them with software algorithms.
But on the software side, LG has stripped things right back to make one of the most streamlined UIs for a phone yet.
Turn on the camera and you’ll be greeted with just a back button and small set of dots to signify more features, should you want them. Simply tap the screen to focus where you want, and the phone takes the shot quickly.
If you want to just take speedy snaps, this is a great method (and the camera is activated by holding the down volume button in standby mode, and can be used as a shutter button too.
If you want a few more options (and I do when taking a photo) then intriguingly the G3 doesn’t have much more to play with. You can toggle the HDR mode on or off (it’s on by default), enter dual capture, panorama or ‘Magic Focus’ which is the same re-focus feature that’s become popular with all high-end phones.
There’s no way to change the ISO settings, exposure or contrast… it’s a camera with minimal interaction. It’s not a bad thing, but I would like to see a touch more control, even if it’s buried down through the menus.
Nokia, Samsung and even HTC have done a great job in starting the education process of how to get great snaps by playing with settings, but it seems LG is more interested in doing the same as Apple and not getting in the way of your pictures.
The actual picture quality is pretty good, with well-lit scenes giving really clear, sharp and well-defined snaps. In lower light the G3 is good, if not as fast at taking snaps, although that image smoothing easily goes over the top – like the One M8, if you’re thinking of zooming in or cropping your photos, some will look a bit muddy on the G3.
But the general pictures gained from day to day photography are up there with the best on the LG G3, and it’s a real recommendation from me.
The autofocus needs a mention here again – the laser shooting out a conical beam to check out the room leads to blistering autofocus, and does notably out-do the Samsung Galaxy S5 in terms of going from a standing start and snapping the picture..
The S5 struggles to wake from sleep mode as fast as the G3, and the speed of the shutter is so impressive with the latter – check out the snaps below to see.
The other big change is the front facing camera (and I refuse to use the S-word that LG has named it with) by increasing the angle of the snap, so you can fit more in. You can also open and close your hand to start the countdown, which means if you’ve framed the photo well you won’t knock it out of shot by tapping the screen.
The beauty slider is present too, meaning the photo is smoothed out to make a weird soft-focus on your face (especially weird for men with beards, as they end up looking like a sooty smudge).
I do like the addition of the ‘flash’ on the front. As I mentioned, this sees the front camera image shrink down and the surrounding area go a skin-friendly white tone, meaning in darker scenes I got much better pics.