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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  • et20 - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    No, they are not too stupid.
    You are too stupid to understand that not everyone cares about the same things as you do.

    The simple fact that you are reading and commenting on this site is clear indication you are part of a tiny minority.
    You are completely disconnected from the needs and interests of mass market consumers.

    The sales guy you mentioned is paid by Samsung to sell more Samsung phones. Almost nobody uses SD cards.
    Reply
  • theduckofdeath - Sunday, September 8, 2013 - link

    Almost no one uses SD cards? Do you have any fact to base that statement on?

    SD cards are not the primary reason people prefer Samsung phones, but they are definitely one of the contributing arguments when people buy phones. Clearly, vanity is not as highly rated in real life as HTC thought. People apparently prefers to spend their money of useful things, not just looks.
    Reply
  • UpSpin - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    Now you come with rooting. I'm a science student and technically interested (as it's obvious because I'm here on this site). I've rooted my smartphone and will do the same to all my future smartphones. It's a no brainer for me. A lot of my friends own an Android smartphone, too. They are in no way stupid. But none of them has a rooted device. I don't know a single one in my surrounding who rooted it. To some I explained them the beneifts, how to do it, etc. But none did it. Why? Because they had no urgent need for it and didn't want to 'waste' time doing it.
    Some of the smartphones they use have a SD-Card, none of them really cared. None of them heavily uses it.

    I'm sorry to burst your ignorant selfish bubble, but not everyone is like you and wants the same you do!

    Samsung has the highest marketing expense of possible any company on earth. People who go in a store and want to buy a smartphone, know mostly nothing about the different flavors of smartphones, but they do know, that Samsung has some, lots of them, with nice looking features, according to the ads they see in TV/web/posters just everywhere! The sales person also probably knows the advantages of Samsung devices best, so it's no surprise that most people just buy a Samsung smartphone. The fine differences between the different smartphones are negligible for most people and few even understand them or value them.
    Few know what OS they are running on, let alone the precise Android version.

    The majority chose a smartphone by:
    1. Price
    2. Look, feel, size
    3. Devices they saw from ads
    4. Recommendation from friends

    You aren't the smartest either, if you think that the only outstanding feature of the HTC One is the dual speakers. There's the aluminum body, OIS, magnitudes brighter display, software features and others left, which you don't care about and thus don't care about.
    Reply
  • BabelHuber - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    You are calling me stupid while you are to dense to recognize two major points I made besides rooting:

    1.) People use SD-cards to store music at. I know lots of people who use their SD-cards exclusively this way without having rooted their phones.

    Only an imbecile can say that it is no advantage that you can put an SD-card into your notebook, copy all movies and music you want to it, put it into your phone and use it.

    You do not need much technical knowledge to do so, and in fact lots of people do exactly this. Ask them if this feature is worthless!

    2.) You do not seem to understand the gap regarding sales between Samsung and any other Android phone manufacturer.

    Samsung sold about 70 Million smartphones in Q2 2013, while LG, Sony, HTC, Huawei and ZTE can be glad to sell one tenth of this number!

    And you say the fact that SD-card support and a removable battery play no role at all? And then you call me stupid?

    Let me give you a clue: If only 5% of Samsung customers care about SD-cards, this is 3.5 Million customers per quarter. If 10% care about this, it is 7 Millions.

    And you are telling me that this is a non-issue for companies which sell 5-7 Million smartphones per quarter? That they do not want or need these customers?

    I really do not understand what is so hard to understand here!
    Reply
  • maximumGPU - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    Are you really saying that you single-handedly just uncovered the reason for HTC, LG, Sony and all the rest's low market share?
    And here they were scratching their hair completely baffled at just why Samsung handsets were selling so much. Everyone in there market research team should be fired for failing to see that simply adding an SD card slot would immediately result in at least 3.5 million extra sales per quarter.
    Reply
  • BabelHuber - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    No. I am saying that this is one reason - in the sense that this lacking features makes it harder for them to compete.

    And yes, I think their management is stupid.
    Reply
  • blacks329 - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    You honestly think 1 in 20 people care about SD cards in their phones? I suggest you do a poll of the layman and find out how many of them actually care.

    Apple sells 40 million iPhones a quarter, I wonder how they can sell so many?

    /psssssst it's not SD cards
    Reply
  • BabelHuber - Monday, September 9, 2013 - link

    When a company wants to compete against Apple, it makes sense to look at the strengths and weaknesses of the competitor.

    Apple does not have removable batteries and SD-card slots.

    So it is a cheap win to offer these features for those customers who do care. OTOH competing with Apple without having such obvious advantages is tougher.
    Reply
  • deskjob - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    Hey bud, I agree with you - the SD card expansion is a valuable feature to have. If I was given the choice to have it or not, with absolutely no trade-off, then duh of course I'll want to have the feature.

    But I want to share my personal experience so far - my smartphone history up to this point is the HTC Thunderbolt, Rezound and now the One. I loved having the SD card expansion. I rooted and S-off'ed both the Thunderbolt and Rezound (shorting out two contacts on my brand new Rezound in order to get S-off was a damn crazy leap of faith). And I always thought that I wouldn't get a phone without SD card expansion, ever. Period.

    But then when I actually looked at my usage pattern - after the initial transfer from the Thunderbolt to Rezound, I never once took out the microSD card again for data transfer. Hell, I actually bought a 64GB card for the Rezound (I jacked the 32GB from the Thunderbolt originally), because the phone actually supported it unofficially (the card capacity didn't exist when the phone was first out!). But you know what... the 64GB card never made it into the phone. It's now in my Nikon SLR.

    And dude trust me, I put that extra storage space to good use. Talking about multiple NAND backups, my music library, a movie or two, photos, Titanium app backups, the works. But that's just it - what I need, and I suspect most people need, isn't the microSD expansion per se. We need SPACE! As long as there's enough space to fit your need, who cares if it's microSD, internal, or even cloud? Okay, cloud might be iffy with security and extra power draw from data connection, not to mention data cap (not for me though, unlimited data hehe). Look at it from another perspective - if your phone came with 128GB of internal space, would you be able to do without microSD expansion?

    And as you might know, the way Android handles external SD space isn't very elegant. You have to keep track of the system partition, the internal SD, and the external SD. It sounds trivial, but it's not elegant and gets more annoying as you go forward. At least for me. I honestly can't see the majority of the public dealing with this and feeling happy about it.

    Marketing is everything, unfortunately. I think we've reached a point in the smartphone market where most phones are ADEQUATE. They'll do the job of calls, internet, chat, camera, etc. Marketing is the key to making people want to buy your product. Samsung is great at it. Apple is great at it. HTC and the rest, not so much.

    Did you know that Samsung went as far as to hire poor college and grad students to post negative comments about competitor phones on major tech review forums and sites? Look it up - they admitted to it, and blamed it on some "rogue individuals" within the company. No... they were sorry they got caught.
    Reply
  • nerd1 - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    Yes expandable storage is so old school - apple will soon make macbooks with soldered on SSDs, cameras with only internal memory, and so on. In fact they are already doing that (rMBP's RAM is soldered and SSD is proprietary format) Reply

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