The LG V30 Dominates The Galaxy S8 In Low Light Photography - ChrisDiary: Hacks, Tutorials and Tech Updates

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Monday, September 4, 2017

The LG V30 Dominates The Galaxy S8 In Low Light Photography

The LG V30.
After three days of nonstop work in preparation for, and dealing with media after the LG V30’s launch, today should have been a slow(er) day for the South Korean tech company’s Mobile Communications team. Some even thought they’d finally get to a explore Berlin a bit. Not quite. A bit of a brouhaha arose on the internet when a Russian blog Technot published a post showing their findings that the V30’s main camera was actually f/1.69 instead of the advertised f/1.6 (remember, for aperture, the lower the f-number the better). The news soon spread to English channels including XDA and Reddit, with some claiming LG had “misled consumers.”

So much for a chance to relax for LG’s marketing team.

Worry not though. I was at IFA today and one of LG’s senior guys told me Technot’s finding, based off EXIF data, is a glitch due to the pre-production software. “This will be fixed by the retail units,” he said. As Android Central points out: there is almost no way a big company like LG would be so stupid to blatantly lie about something that can be easily checked by tech geeks. For what it’s worth, my device’s EXIF data is showing f/1.6.

Anyway, back to the point of this post: the reason LG made such a big deal over its f-number is because f/1.6 can take in more lighting than, say, the f/1.7 on other smartphones, which means better low light photos. I’ve been testing the LG V30 for three days now around Berlin, and I’ve been pitting its camera against the Samsung Galaxy S8, and so far, the V30 is winning in most camera situations, except in two areas: videos (which matters) and selfies (which doesn’t matter to me because I’m a firm believer that grown-dudes shouldn’t be taking them).

Now I concede this isn’t a fair fight, because the S8 is no longer Samsung’s baddest and newest device. But I don’t have a Note 8 on me yet so for now a V30 vs. S8 photo shootout will do. I’ll be pitting the V30’s camera against a bunch of phones later, including a cool new one from Xiaomi that I should be getting my hands on very, very soon...

All photos below were shot in auto mode (the point of these tests, for me at least, is to see how “point and shoot” works) and are completely unedited other than resizing. In all side-by-side photos, the LG V30’s shot is on the left, while the Galaxy S8 is on the right.

Without futher ado, let’s begin.
V30 (left), S8 (right).
So, first shot. When you’re looking at the photo scaled down like this, it looks pretty even, even though the leaves in the V30’s shot (left) are a bit oversharpened. But zoom in...

V30 (left); S8 (right).
The V30’s shot is clearly more detailed, with more accurate colors, and better dynamic range. This will be an ongoing trend. Check out this street art shot, taken at night in a dim area.

V30 (left); S8(right).
V30 (left); S8(right)
The V30’s image is significantly more vibrant, with punchier colors and sharper in every aspect. Look at the dude’s legs in the zoomed in shots.

Moving on...
V30 (left); S8(right)
Both photos of the Berlin Cathedral are lacking in details because both photos were zoomed-in shots taken as the skies were getting dark. Both devices did an admirable job making the Cathedral brighter, though the V30’s colors are a lot more natural than the S8’s yellow-ish tone.
V30 (left); S8
The above shot is taken one of the decorative lights from District Mott, and it’s a no contest — the V30’s image is sharper, more vibrant, more detailed. (District Mott, to go a bit off topic, is one of the top two or three pho joints I’ve ever tasted — and I’ve been to Vietnam and grew up in the San Gabriel Valley in California, which is full of Vietnamese immigrants).

V30 (left); S8 (right)
Another shot from District Mott. The restaurant has a very dark decor, hence why this shot is so blurry in both photos, it’s about a tie here.
The V30’s shot at night (left) next to the Galaxy S8’s shot.
Both shots turned out great. The Lego giraffe's torso has more detail on the V30 shot, but overall the S8 photo took in more light. The S8 probably wins this one.

This next shot is interesting. Berlin generally has gorgeous skies, but yesterday’s sunset was particularly impressive because molecules in the air caused the light rays to scatter, resulting in a colored hue that propagated throughout the sky. I quickly took out both phones for a shot back to back, and was amazed to see how drastically different the two shots look.
The V30’s shot.

Galaxy S8’s shot.

Both images are stunning shots (at least for an amateur photographer like me anyway), but here’s the thing: the sky was completely purple at the time, like in the LG V30’s shot. I don’t know how Samsung produced an orange-ish sky that completely differed from how the scene looked in real life. This is probably the distortion of the plastic camera lens. The V30, remember, has a glass lens particularly for this reason.

As mentioned earlier, the S8 tops the V30 in two low light scenarios — the front-facing camera...
V30 (left) and S8
..and videos. Below is a side-by-side comparison of two videos shot at night, and while the V30’s video actually had more accurate lighting, the S8’s video is a bit brighter, and has much better OIS, as the V30’s video was jerky when I walked.

Now this is by no means a knock on the S8’s camera, which is still one of the best on the market, and like I said, this isn’t a fair fight because the V30 should be going against the Note 8. But while the Note 8 added a few photography tricks to the Galaxy line, I’m not sure it can beat the V30 in low light shots, because LG’s device has a wider aperture and glass lens. I will do more photo shootouts pitting the V30 against new devices as I get my hands on them.

Source: Forbes


  1. This device is a really competitor to Galaxy Note 8 am sure this device will some how affect Note 8 sale somehow

    Check Out LG V30 Hands on Pictures

    1. Samsung has really dominated the phone market with their bad a$$ devices. It's high time they met with stiff competition.


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