Camera

The G2 joins an exclusive group of smartphones that include optical image stabilization (Lumia 920, 925, 928, 1020, HTC One). This works by physically moving the optical stack around inside the camera module to counteract hand shake and movements during image or video capture, using orientation data from a nearby gyroscope. The goal is to eliminate shakes during video capture and also to enable longer exposures during low light scenarios. 

The G2 includes a 13 MP Sony IMX135 Exmor RS CMOS sensor with 1/3.06-inch size and 1.12µm pixels. We've seen this CMOS in a lot of other devices, what's different is the optical system (in this case F/2.4 with 4.0mm focal length, for around 29mm in 35mm equivalent numbers) and of course the new module which includes OIS. 

I'm still working on a big analysis of the G2's performance, but so far I'm very impressed with the resolution that this affords and the G2's ability to still produce decent results indoors where light isn't so good and outside at night. I've only been able to use the G2 as a daily and take pictures with it for a short time, but including OIS is definitely a step in the right direction if the industry wants to adopt 1.1µm class pixel pitches. 

 
 
 
 
 
 

I had a chance to get photos with the G2 at our camera bench locations, of which 3, 4, 5, and 7 remain, and inside the lightbox with the lights on and off, and of our test patterns. I also took one in low light replicating the low light lightbox tests I've done before.

The G2 seems to have a low light mode it kicks into automatically regardless of whether you're in the normal mode or night mode from the scenes menu; when it's in this mode it doesn't record shutter time or ISO in EXIF, just like Galaxy S4, so I can only assume that LG is also combining multiple exposures. It makes it a little hard to figure out just how far you can push OIS in the G2, but the result does look very good. 

LG G2: ?, ISO ?
     

In addition the G2 can record 1080p60 video, something I've been waiting to see a mobile device do for a long time. The video encode block onboard 8974 can do up to 120fps 1080p video or 30fps 4K video (analogous since 4k is just 4 1080p frames), LG just chose to enable the 1080p60 route since the sensor can handle it. This 60 FPS video is encoded at 30 Mbps H.264 high profile instead of the 20 Mbps for 30 FPS. 

Because YouTube can't play back 60p content quite yet (nor can anywhere else online I'm aware of, the sample above is at 30 FPS) you'll have to download the two video samples and look at them side by side to gauge the difference. The change in temporal resolution is dramatic; I've been spoiled by 1080p60 from the GoPro Hero 3 Black for some time, getting this from a smartphone is a killer feature for the G2. 

OIS on the G2 is noticeable, but it isn't as dramatic as it is on some other smartphone platforms. I've been trying to understand the differences in maximum deviation / accommodation angle and cutoff frequencies for the various OIS systems that LG, HTC, and Nokia have devised, and there's a fair amount of difference in performance. 

To help me gauge some of the differences, I went out with my dual device mount and shot video on a few OIS platforms and current devices with EIS for comparison purposes. Because I'm simultaneously working on the Lumia 1020 review, I used that as the reference point. I walked a small circuit around the place where I normally take bench photos and recorded video, and shook the devices at the end of the walk each time.

The video really shows the differences in how much vibration each system really can damp out. What's crazy to me is how well the Lumia 925 does compared to everything else – the original goal was to compare the different OIS systems Nokia was using, but we can also gauge OIS performance across the spectrum here. The G2 can't quite damp out all the big jerky movements, but it does absolutely help when trying to do something like record a video standing still, walking around continues to be a very challenging test case. 

NAND Performance Conclusions
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  • Paulman - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    "<b>WOW...</b> wow.... wow, wow..." - That's literally what came out of my mouth when I first saw those battery life graphs. Amazing, LG. GG WP Reply
  • Paulman - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    "Gone are the days of 1.4V to hit near-2GHz frequencies it seems, instead 8974 will hit 2.3 GHz at around 1V." - That elicited another 'Wow' from me. Reply
  • andykins - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    That is an insane difference. But is there some downside too? Seems a bit good to be true. Reply
  • Froyorkshire - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    Heat, most likely. The LG G2 seems to have it taken care of but if the Nexus 4 was any indication, the Nexus 5 needs to have a better-engineered body to handle the S800's potential heat. Reply
  • tuxRoller - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    Why would you have more heat when pushing less V and A? Yes, it is clocked higher and has a more powerful gpu so its tdp (or whatever) will be higher than s600 soc, but at the same clocks as the pre-800s it should use less power.
    This shouldn't be a surprise since this is, apparently, the first time snapdragons have used 28nm hpm, and with new processes come inherent advantages (also problems, but heat shouldn't be one of them unless you are running it at full-tilt).
    Reply
  • theduckofdeath - Sunday, September 8, 2013 - link

    They reduce the voltage to reduce the wattage, which is what heat is generated from. Reply
  • gwydionjhr - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    The side by side comparison video is very interesting. I've only have a light understanding of what I'm seeing, and if you get a chance, I'd really love to get your impressions on how each of these OIS/EIS systems perform. The one question that came to me as my eyes darted back and forth tying to compare the two videos, was that the 1020 OIS seemed to work pretty well, right up to the moment of impact on your footfall. I'm I seeing that right? Is this a result of the weight of the larger sensor in the 1020 maxing out the capabilities of the OIS when those large acceleration forces hit it? Reply
  • Brian Klug - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    Accommodation angle is the big game, and they're all also tuned differently too it seems. I'm not walking very aggressively or stomping around either, but trying to walk normally. I wanted to include the Lumia 920 as well but didn't bring it, the 925 seems to be pretty similar to what I remember the 920 being like though.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • UpSpin - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    It's funny that in my opinion the 1020 (and so also the 808) does one of the worst jobs in OIS, the 925 the best followed by the HTC One and Moto X. Between them is the rest. LG2 on par with the 1020, in some scenes worse, in some better.
    In the 1020 vs. 925 comparison, at the beginning, Brian walks along a footway, the 1020 video has a very obvious and penetrant periodic shaking/reflex which does not exist in the 925 or HTC One video.
    At the very beginning of the Moto X comparison we see a handrail with a building behinde it, the Moto X video is sharp and steady, the 1020 video wobbles in the z-direction
    The colors in the 1020 are the most vivid ones, but in my opinion also the most over saturated and artifical ones. It does a good job in capturing the blue of the sky, but therefore darker details aren't visible on the 1020 videos. (handrail at the end of the test videos)

    It's obvious that using a larger sensor a OIS is harder to implement, but I find it odd that Nokia hasn't made any use of the 41MP in video recording mode by additionally implementing an EIS.

    But I found it surprising how good or even better the competition is (or how bad the 1020 in videos is), using a cheaper and less intrusive sensor. (in photos the 1020 will probably (and hopefully) remain unbeaten)
    Reply
  • Krysto - Sunday, September 8, 2013 - link

    It seemed to me the LG one beat the 1020 OIS slightly. The 920 one was the best though, as Brian said. But 920 had far from accurate colors. Reply

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