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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  • KurianOfBorg - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    What about the suttering and lag? I used the Optimus G Pro and it stuttered and lagged everywhere. No where close to the smoothness of the Nexus 4. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    I find it to be really smooth, of course if you want absolute smoothness, you can just wait for 8974 in the Nexus 5 :)

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

    good. I'm glad they ditched capacitive controls
    I hated onscreen controls too but I've been completely sold on the idea since I tried Paranoid Android and discovered Pie Control
    Reply
  • baronmog - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    I feel like a broken record: only 32GB onboard storage and no microSD? No thanks. I really, really, really, wish someone other than Samsung would get their heads out of the cloud. It's ok when you're someplace with decent, or any, wireless connectivity. Otherwise, useless. Reply
  • HideOut - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    I want to trade off my S4 for this...but no microSD? FAIL. Reply
  • BabelHuber - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    Exactly my thoughts!

    When I see reviews at Anandtech, often my first thought is 'wow, what a nice phone!'-

    Then I see that the SD-card is missing and the phone has died for me.

    Samsung seems to be very smart in this area. They always have removable batteries, SD-card support and unlocked bootloaders.

    And while Samsung breaks one sales record after another quarter by quarter, LG and HTC are wondering why most customers prefer their competitor's devices.

    I don't think that this is coincidence. E.g. I personally like the look and feel of the HTC One, but the lacking flexibility turned me off immediately.

    Android games like the Asphalt-series consume about 1.5GB meanwhile. A 16GB phone without SD-card support is a joke meanwhile.

    32GB are OK, but still inferiour to an external 64GB SD-card. Once you root your device, you can set mount points to the external SD-card or - in case you are lazy like me - use an app like FolderMount to at least move the apps which are memory-hogs to the external SD.

    How much can it cost to support such a feature? LG, HTC etc. are clueless and deserve their low market share with their crippled devices, really.

    They should wake up and support SD-cards so we get more competition. But no, instead the champaign flows at Samsung while the managers laugh about the competition.
    Reply
  • maximumGPU - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    You're talking as if LG and HTC's low market share is attributable to lack of SD support. It has practically nothing to do with this.
    You do understand that people requesting SD support are a minority that barely register in sales number?
    Reply
  • BabelHuber - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    This is what I always hear. But I do not believe this.

    Why are people buying 70 Million Samsung smartphones per quarter, then? Just because 'Samsung' is printed on them?

    In basically every store, HTC, Samsung, LG and Sony phones are sold. People walk in and mostly buy Samsung.

    And this has nothing to do with the additional features Samsung offers for the same price? Come on!
    Reply
  • UpSpin - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    Just take a look at how much money Samsung spends on advertising, then you'll understand why the Samsung smartphones are the most sold ones.
    http://www.imore.com/samsung-spending-ludicrously-...
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014241278873240...

    Most people really don't care about SD-Cards, for some it's even an annoyance because you can't combine the phone storage with the SD-Card storage, so you can't use it for apps and other stuff. And it's much slower than eMMC and another part which can and will fail after extensive usage.
    Thus a phone with 8GB internal + 64GB SD-Card is almost as worthless as a phone with 8GB only for the !majority of people!
    The big advantage comes with storing music libraries, movie libraries, ... on the SD-Card, but there again, the majority of users does not have a 64GB music library, and barely DVD/Blu-Ray rips, they rather rely on streaming.
    Reply
  • BabelHuber - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    First of all, I already have posted that using the SD-card for apps is child's play after the phone has been rooted. Just root, install FoulderMount and off you go.

    Then you can use the SD-card for Music, movies etc., while music probably being the major use-case for most people, as a solt of people use their phone as 'walkman' or use it as music data storage in their cars.

    So simply stating that an SD-card does not give you benefits ist BS.

    And yes, marketing is an explanation for higher market share. But this alone does not explain why Samsung has ten times the marketshare of its competitors.

    Tomi Ahonen called the smartphone market 'Samsung, Apple and the nine dwarfes', which is correct IMO.

    A lot of people walk into a store and don't have much clue. Then the sales guy shows them the phones and explains the advantages/ disadvantages.

    So, if you are not much interested in the HTC One's speakers, you can also take the SGS4. It has a removable battery and an SD-card slot and costs the same.

    Why take the phone with less options? It simply does not make sense - after all, if you never use the SD-card slot it does not matter because you payed no premium for it.

    But simply stating that customers are too stupid to properly use SD-cards falls short when Samsung has so much success with phones equipped with such features.
    Reply

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