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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  • Impulses - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    I've got an EVO LTE but I'm on a similar boat, furthermore, this is the first tine in three years where I'm just not in a hurry to upgrade. Going to dual cores and 1GB of RAM was huge (EVO to EVO 3D), going from qHD to 720p and a much thinner device last year was also huge (not to mention ICS/JB)... Right now there's no hugely compelling hardware/software reason urging me to upgrade tho. I still might if this comes out as a Nexus 5 for $350 tho... Reply
  • RollingCamel - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    What about the audio codecs LG claimed support for? Did you try FLAC on it? Reply
  • maglito - Monday, September 9, 2013 - link

    FLAC has native support on every 4.X android device. Reply
  • shackanaw - Monday, September 9, 2013 - link

    He's referring to the 24-bit/192khz support and other improvements mentioned in the G2 hands on: http://www.anandtech.com/show/7205/hands-on-with-t...

    "LG has made audio in the line-out sense a priority for the G2. We’ve seen a lot of emphasis from other OEMs on speaker quality and stereo sound, with the G2 LG has put time into rewriting part of the ALSA stack and Android framework to support higher sampling and bit depth. The inability of the Android platform to support different sampling rates for different applications remains a big limitation for OEMs, one LG wrote around, and with the G2 up to 24 bit 192 kHz FLAC/WAV playback is supported in the stock player, and LG says it will make an API available for other apps to take advantage of this higher definition audio support to foster a better 24-bit ecosystem on Android.

    "I asked about what codec the G2 uses, and it turns out this is the latest Qualcomm WCD part, which I believe is WCD9320 for the MSM8974 platform. LG says that although the previous WCD9310 device had limitations, the WCD9320 platform offers considerably better audio performance and quality that enables them to expose these higher quality modes and get good output. The entire audio chain (software, hardware codec, and headphone amplifier) have been optimized for good quality and support for these higher bit depths, I’m told. I didn’t get a chance to listen to line out audio, but hopefully in testing this emphasis will play itself out."
    Reply
  • tuxRoller - Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - link

    24bit playback is a gimmick since even the studio equipment, apparently, doesn't handle the full 24bit. Aside from that, you just don't need that much sample accuracy unless you're superman.
    http://xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html
    Reply
  • ssj3gohan - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    Why are the iPhone raw triangle/fill rate tests so much better than any other phone, yet does it perform middle of the pack in gfxbench and such? I was under the impression that they basically had the best graphics solution around, paired with awesomely optimized software. Reply
  • et20 - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    Apparently they didn't optimize for gfxbench. Reply
  • UpSpin - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    The meaningless synthetic benchmarks always favored iOS. The reason many people think that iPhones are magnitudes more powerful than Android devices.
    The only meaningful benchmarks are normal 3D scenes.
    I don't understand why Anandtech still posts those meaningless benchmarks. Or can you read something out of them? NO! They are in no way a measurement for performance. They are basically useless. That's the reason we don't see them on desktop GPU comparisons.
    Reply
  • tuxRoller - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    They give you a good idea of the device's capabilities in specific areas. Useful for doing a deep dive to determine what the make-up of the device is.
    For realworld use, you are absolutely right, and, imho, such synthetics only belong in articles where there are new components (like this one), but for the next snapdragon-800, I don't think those particular benchmarks need be run..
    Reply
  • Krysto - Sunday, September 8, 2013 - link

    Sunspider also seems pretty pointless at this point. Kraken and Octane seem to give more accurate results in terms of chip performance. Reply

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