By 2019 standards the LG G8 ThinQ uses a standard camera layout. It uses a 12mp standard camera with an f/ 1.5 aperture and an equivalent of a 27mm lens. The secondary camera on the rear is a 16mp ultrawide camera with an f/1.9 aperture and an equivalent of 16mm. You do lose Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and Auto Focus (AF) with the wide angle camera. The front camera uses a standard 8mp “wide angle” camera with a Time of Flight (TOF) sensor for portrait shots (as well as other fancy software features not used for taking pictures). In this camera review, I will be using the standard LG camera application using automatic settings.
I’m not the best at using manual settings and I did not see a reason to use the AI feature. It’s not prominent in the software and with the shots I was taking it would have taken far more time than I was willing to spend to change the setting. With that being said, I hope you enjoy the full camera review.
Using LG’s software is clunky, as usual. I found that there were too many settings in too many places. They thankfully give you access the best features the camera has to offer easy to access though. There are buttons right smack on the top to switch between the standard and wide-angle cameras. You can also drag the camera shutter to get to the wide-angle camera or zoom. I didn’t find myself using this method as an option because it felt unpolished and I never use digital zoom. Digital zoom adds a lot of grain and noise to the picture.
One question I know many of you will be asking me that I wanted to address here was why I didn’t download the Gcam application? I wanted to ensure I used the software that most people who buy these phones would use. I would also not have the opportunity to use the wide-angle camera which is probably one of the biggest selling points for me. Would I get marginally better pictures from the Gcam application? Probably, however, I wanted to use this phone as closely as possible to how 95% of those who buy this phone will probably use it. I also wanted to understand how LG felt the pictures taken on their cameras would be processed and viewed.
Below will be pictures taken indoors in as many different conditions as possible. All pictures were taken in the senor’s full resolution in a 4:3 aspect ratio. I personally feel this is where the camera shines. Many of the photos were not blown out. As long as the lighting was decent I could get a good shot without much work. You will see the pictures taken with the main camera right next to the wide angle. Notice just how much more of the scene you get with the wide-angle camera without sacrificing much detail.
Outdoor pictures are one of the places I feel this camera shouldn’t suffer but does. Depending on the lighting pictures can be either really washed out or the lights get really blown out. If you’re also trying to take pictures of anything moving, it’s a mixed bag. Depending on your lighting you may get a blurry picture, or it can turn out alright. It’s mostly up to whether the phone decides to use High Dynamic Range (HDR) and how long the phone takes to process the picture. You won’t be disappointed by the pictures, however, given the high-end image processor in this phone and the price tag I felt LG could have done a better job. Thankfully though, I feel a lot of this can be fixed with a software update.
I hope LG takes some time to work out these issues if they do then this phone can take some amazing outdoor shots. If you want an example of one of my favorites looks at the picture of the church. The blues and greens of the sky and grass look good, and the colors aren’t too blown out. If all the pictures I took turned out that great, I’d say to get this phone, however, because they didn’t, I’d be hesitant. If you see an “e” next to a picture it, unfortunately, had to be put into Window’s standard editor and save a copy. This was because the file size was too large to be uploaded to the site and running it through the editor took away some detail but shrunk the file size.
Taking low light pictures with this phone is a big no from me. I did not take many pictures in low light because I was nervous too, and I think my feelings were confirmed. Firstly, there is no low light mode on this phone. We don’t get the awesome multiple exposures tricks Google and Oneplus do on LG’s camera software. If you notice the OIS and larger pixels really make a difference on the 12mp standard camera. If you’re thinking of taking low light pictures on this phone, I would recommend Gcam. Although I didn’t try it on this phone anything is better than what LG gives you. My comment to LG is, even a mediocre low light mode can be helpful with this phone. It’s 2019 and low light pictures are a huge selling point. I recommend you get on it.
The front facing camera on this phone is average, to say the least. The camera takes good enough selfies with minimal grain and enough room to fit another person in. With front cameras becoming more and more boring by the day LG decided to add a TOF camera to the front sensor. This feature was supposed to add some more professional blur effects to your selfies. Let’s just say that software enhancement could have done a better job than LG did. Take a look below. Most times the camera didn’t blur the background, it blurred my hair too. The normal selfie honestly looks great, but when you add the portrait blur in there, well the whole selfie just becomes a messy blur. Take a look below.
Cameras are a huge selling feature on phones, especially with Google, Samsung, and Huawei giving some point and shoot cameras a run for their money. LG used to be the king of wide-angle cameras because they were the only ones that used them. Motorola had the X4 that used the wide-angle sensor but, that never held a candle to LG. With Samsung now becoming a player in the wide-angle game LG needs to step things up. LG currently has better sensors with less distortion, however, that lead won’t last long. LG needs to revamp their software and maybe work with Google more closely on their post processing. If they do this, I think LG could be a winner. What do you think of the LG G8 ThinQ’s camera? Let me know in the comments below.
LG sent us the G8 ThinQ on loan. They have not read this article prior to it being posted and had no input on the content. LG has also not paid Onetechstop for the review. The device was sent on a loan and will be returned when LG requests it.