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Gear Rumors

Next LG G4 To Feature F/1.8 Lens

By Anthony Thurston on April 7th 2015

I try to stay away from camera phone news, simply based on principle. That said, the latest teaser from LG, for their next G4, caught my attention because it will feature an impressive F/1.8 aperture.

lg-g4-low-light-camera-tease-2015-04-07-03

The days of crappy phone photos with a crazy depth of field appears to be over, as more and more phones are getting ‘fast’ lenses, and with it, more control over the depth of field. The new LG teaser for their G4 phone indicates that the phone will feature a F/1.8 aperture, making it likely the best phone camera on the market as far as low light goes.

It will be interesting to see just how good a tiny camera phone sensor can be at low light now that lenses are getting to a point where they can make use of these faster apertures. The G4 will also give you full manual control over the camera, allowing you to use your photographic knowledge and expertise to craft images that will blow the socks off those P&S cameras you have hiding in your drawer at home.

But in the end, it is still a phone camera. The G4 is expected to be announced towards the end of this month; how many of you plan on upgrading to a phone with a killer camera like this within the next year?

[via Engadget]

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Mark Henry Dela Torre

    What i would really like to see on cellphones are xenon flashes not LED ones. So that I could trigger an external flash remotely. That is why I like my Nokia 1020. I could just bring two yongnuo flashes then light up a party with it.
    And if even possible, since cellphones are programmable. They could program the built in flash to do commander mode. Now that would be sick.

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  2. Duy-Khang Hoang

    Goes without saying but, low light performance is a combination of both sensor and lens. Simply being f/1.8 doesn’t tell you much without knowing how large of a sensor it is illuminating. For instance, I would put money on this new LG camera losing out to the likes of the Nokia 808, Lumia 1020 or Panasonic CM1 in the low light stakes simply because those phones have much larger sensors.

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    • Dave Haynie

      Well, the Nokia 808 or Lumia 1020 have large sensors, but they’re 38-ism megapixels. They’re still 1um pixels, smaller than those of the iPhone (1.5um). None of those camera phones are good in the dark. I’m sure this isn’t much better, anyway. They claim the sensor is 16Mpixel, and will get 80% more light than the sensor in the LG G3, which I think is the same 13Mpixel sensor used in the LG G2. I have a G2, and it is the best smartphone camera I have owned so far… but still, a smartphone camera. Couldn’t find any details on the sensor itself, other than it’s LG-made.

      If there’s any chance of real photo needs, I have a real camera along, even if it’s just the Fujifilm XF1 that lives in my glove box.

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  3. robert garfinkle

    well, as far as upgrading, uh, have not looked at a phone where the camera is a priority.

    I know the Samsung S5 got high accolades last year, it even had a bit of lightfield in it, just a touch – which was cool, but opted for the Note 4 instead… that cam is well, not good in my opinion, but if I get the itch, I’ll whip it out and take a pic or two…

    what I think’d be just the bomb though, is someone like Canon / Nikon drop some of their point n-shoot lines, partner up with a couple of phone mfr’s and embed some of their technology “inside”, t’would be cool if we’d see something like a co-branded venture which could boost sales. of course Sony / Samsung would not be phone candidates, but I could see Canon / Nikon partnering with Apple, or for that matter LG even Nokia etc..

    Can you see a iPhone partnering with Nikon for example…

    iPhone 7, retina screen with a 24mp expeed 6a, and Nikon n coated glass – that’d be cool. I might jump back in the iPhone saddle, maybe (it’d be hard)…

    then, they would not be losing to the cell phone market as some speculate / report…

    and so it goes…

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    • robert garfinkle

      oh, and if nikon did that, the snapbridge would be embedded… :)

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    • robert garfinkle

      a nice little accessory – they could make a miniature ILC too. that’d be innovative. make the lens recess into the phone… want to change it, it extends, comes with a small tool to help. have three lens options, one is a prime, two zooms. and each lens can take a filter… yup, 1500.00 iPhone – not unheard of, that’s the direction it’s going – pricewise anyway, toss in a nice feature like that…

      ok, a little off the beam here…

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    • Dave Haynie

      The Galaxy S5 had Samsung’s own 16Mpixel sensor, which had lots of buzzwords like “ISOcell”, but was only kind of so-so far as Samsung sensors went, as I recall (ok, sure, they’re always good for a phone, but it wasn’t the “best of the year” as they’ve had in the past). They switched to the Sony IMX240 sensor module for both the Note 4 and the S6. The S6 also adds an f/1.9 lens, and cuts way back on the software sharpening you find on the S5 and Note 4, which really accentuates noise (I read a couple 3-way comparisons).

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    • Dave Haynie

      They’re being kind of silly about the move to f/1.8 in the article. Camera phones typically have a 3.5mm to 6mm lens. which has the same depth of field as any other 3.5mm to 6mm lens at the same f-stop. In short, you have crazy deep DOF at any aperture.

      And of course, they’re never changing aperture. Most phone cameras, like most cheap P&S cameras, are shipped with a lens that’s near or even over the diffraction limited point for that particular sensor. Stopping down would just make everything go soft… like if you made a 35mm camera with max aperture of f/11 or f/16.

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    • robert garfinkle

      gotcha – makes sense

      well, like I said. I’m not too moved by a camera in a phone, heck, if they wanted to really do it righteously, they’d drop sim cards in what we have and a bluetooth, there ya go… of course I’m being silly…

      there was an article, probably a few, or was it a blog post (could have been that) where they profoundly stated that Nikon was hurt by the cell phone industry – where people, moved by pixel count, accept what they have and don’t buy an independent P&S or greater etc… maybe there is truth in that.

      but – as far as we know, it’s the web and not fact speaking… I suppose one could say that if cell phones did not have cameras in them there’d be a lot more camera sales, and that would be a truth, in a manner of speaking. But I could also say that if cell phones did not have cameras in them people would not look at a phone and say, uh, I think I need a camera cuz this phone don’t have one in it… that would not happen..

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    • Dave Haynie

      My main interest in a cellphone camera is as an integrated tool: bar code or document scanning on the fly, augmented reality, the rare “me here” Facebook or G+ post. Not real photography. As long as it’s capable enough to do that, I’m good with it. I have too many real cameras better than any phone camera to worry about the phone’s camera.

      On the other hand, it has basically become the Instamatic of the 21rst century. I definitely believe that smartphone cameras have hurt a number of the regular camera makers by essentially replacing low-end P&S cameras. The people who would have bought just a very basic snapshooter now use their phones. One of my sisters is a case-in-point… she even calls her iPhone “my camera” when she’s shooting a photo with it. And well, compared to the old Instamatic my Mom used in the 60’s and 70’s, it’s a pretty good camera. Especially if you only target is Facebook or Instagram.

      Of course, in the long run, the smartphone may have been an over-all good. After all, look at what’s happened in the P&S market — there are far more interesting small cameras than ever. All these major camera companies used to make the same basic cheap camera, and had to think about something that would be a real step up from your “free” (meaning it hitches a ride on your $1200-or-so-per year smartphone) camera. I’m certainly happier having Olympus sell me OM-D gear than making more cheap P&S cameras (they seem to have dumped the cheap P&S altogether — your choice of either “premium” or “rugged, water and shock resistant” P&S).

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  4. robert garfinkle

    In all fairness – I contend it does not matter what camera you use. it’s the person taking the picture…

    here are two examples of cell phone photography:

    http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/photos/5628534/

    http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/photos/3156105/

    Cerrina Smith – on Nat Geo site – check out her gallery… just amazing work…

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  5. adam sanford

    Keep in mind, very very few cell phone cameras have a *variable* aperture. Most phones only have a fixed aperture, and that fixed aperture is *wide open*. iPhone 6+ and Samsung GS5 run f/2.2 (I believe) and you’re stuck with that. Good luck with landscapes with anything in the foreground. :-P

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    • Bill Bentley

      But the lenses are very wide though, which minimizes the DOF issue, no?

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    • adam sanford

      Yep, most run somewhere between 24mm and 32mm (35 mm equiv). It certainly helps.

      But some types of shooting are absolutely punished by the fixed max aperture:

      * Landscapes with foreground elements
      * Touristy snaps of people in front of something scenic
      * Anything at close focusing distances

      I love my iPhone camera, but I can’t tackle even modest DOF spread in my shots. It’s a cell phone camera, I know, and I have realistic expectations of it. But as sensor pixel counts grow or low light improves over time, this issue seems to never seems to make the cut with developers.

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