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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  • tuxRoller - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    You are making a point which, given our data, is impossible to prove/disprove.
    They are saying, I think, that they don't believe MOST people care about having a removable sdcard. Given that iphones sell so well, I'd think that there are very large groups for which this is true (roughly a third of smartphone owners worldwide). Samsung offers removable storage, but so have the other manufacturers (like sony) yet it hasn't/isn't helping them.
    Reply
  • flyingpants1 - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    The people who are generally knowledgeable about phones are the ones recommending Samsung Galaxy S3/S4 to their friends. Partially because of the extra features like removable/customizable battery and storage. These features always get a mention in reviews also. You're a fool if you think they're not a factor in Samsung's success.

    Right now in my S4 I have the capability to add a 64gb microsd card purely for movies and TV shows and crap like that. That would cost me $50, whereas an additional device like an iPod touch would cost me a lot more. I'd rather just turn my phone into my iPod, but I just CANNOT do that if I have to constantly worry about my onboard space.

    All flagship phones going forward should be 32gb+.
    Reply
  • rocketbuddha - Monday, September 9, 2013 - link

    Dude!
    a) How many HTC phones have you owned?
    b) Do you know how many software updates HTC does for its "premium" phones in its life cycle?
    c) Have you seen the quality of the software releases for 1-2 yr old phones? Battery life/random restarts etc....
    Reply
  • Arbie - Monday, September 9, 2013 - link

    I agree with BabelHuber. No micro/SD = no sale. Talk all you want about how "most of us are streaming from the cloud" or "internal memory is lots faster" - but that means nothing to me. I *DO* want to watch and listen to media and I *DO* want to move it on and off the device quickly. Like when I grab the thing for a trip. Micro/SD lets me do this and works GREAT. You stream; I'll snap.

    Micro/SD is worth $$ to me. Conversely, I'm not going to spend $$$$ on a device like this without it. As Babel says: why take the phone with less options? It simply does not make sense.
    Reply
  • hughlle - Monday, September 9, 2013 - link

    Yet people happily take the iphone with less options time and time again. apple market their harware properly, and the lack of options becomes irrelevant.

    The lack of an SD card will certainly cause a loss of sales from a certain market, but it is a minimal loss of sales in the grand scheme of things. Rather like imagining the loss of sales from people who won't buy this phone because it's not available in pink. It's a non-event.

    As has been said, the majority of people care about total space, not removable storage. you can not put an accurate number on the ratio, but to try and argue it is otherwise is silly. The majority want to be able to take photos, record videos, dowload music and shows, not root around in their handbag or pocket or draw for the correct SD card that has their scrubs episodes on it. Average joe wants simplicity. they want to be able to press the screen and access their content. Not start swapping cards in and out.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    Yes, the power of branding is incredible. The words Samsung and Galaxy are pounded into the social consciousness to the point that they're now synonymous with Android (like Moto/VZW's Droid campaign early on). It's a very very strong effect. Reply
  • Impulses - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    I don't think sporting removable media and batteries is even amongst the top three reasons why Samsung outsells everyone... I think to imply so seems a bit near sighted. Samsung started dominating long before most manufacturers moved to sealed batteries etc, you can trace their upward track pretty closely to how much more they invested in branding with each successive generation (much to the carrier's chagrin, if it were up to them we'd still have five different Galaxy variations every year).

    Personally I could care less for removable media and batteries, but I do appreciate and applaud the fact that Samsung still offers that choice... I think it's one of the advantages of the Android ecosystem. I don't think the majority of the market cares about this tho.
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Monday, September 9, 2013 - link

    As someone who'd be moving from a Note 2 with 16GB internal and 64GB Micro SD, I think I'd actually appreciate the smaller unified space. It'd be a bit more of a pinch, but the fact is that after several re-formats and changes of software I'm getting sick to the back teeth of different builds treating my SD card differently (no exFAT support in CM10 is a real killer) and having to re-create links from my in-built storage to the external for apps like Google Play Music.

    The fact is that external removable storage is a pig to set up and maintain. It could work so much better than it does, but Google don't want to maintain it and I think the point where it's worth letting go has now arrived.
    Reply
  • [-Stash-] - Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - link

    No exFAT in CM10 is a pain, I'll agree, but since you root your phone anyway, just bung this on, it means you can even read/write to NTFS formatted storage (SD Cards, USB HDDs):
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=eu.c...
    Reply
  • bill5 - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    This seemingly would be the phone to get if I needed one right now. Nice battery life.

    However my upgrade isnt for almost a year, like a lot of people I suspect, I upgraded right when SGS3 came out.

    That means I wont be due for another upgrade til SGS5 hits, and I'm guessing it will trump this phone, naturally. Such is the life of everybody trying to fight samsung...
    Reply

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