Wednesday, June 8, 2016

My New Camera: LG G4

Light Through The Leaves - Salt Lake City, Utah
I had my Nokia Lumia 1020 cell phone for almost two-and-a-half years. I liked it and I captured some good photographs with it, but it was time to move on.

The way it used to work when you wanted a new cell phone is that you waited until your two-year contract was up, then the cell phone carrier offered you a new phone for cheap or free for signing a new contract. I appreciated this because 1) cell phone service is overpriced and 2) cell phones are overpriced. By getting a "free" or nearly free phone, I felt like I wasn't getting ripped off quite as badly.

It doesn't work that way anymore. Cell phone carriers aren't doing the contract thing and they also want you to pay full price for the phone. Replacing the contract is a payment plan for your new phone since you might not be able to afford to pay cash upfront for it. I'm not a fan of this new model at all.
Creek Blossom - Layton, Utah
The most that I'd ever paid for a phone was my Nokia Lumia 1020, which ran me $100. I'd always gone with a free option. I justified the $100 price tag of the Nokia because it also had a decent camera (for a cell phone), and I could use it as a fixed-lens pocket camera.

What I didn't want to do is spend hundreds and hundreds on a new cell phone. The ones that I was most interested in were in the $650-$900 range, and I wasn't going to spend that much. Even the iPhone SE (the version with sufficient memory) is $500. And so I waited.

Last week I found the LG G4, which was originally released a year ago, on sale for $350. That's still more than I wanted to spend, but in this new system it's the best deal that I could find. And the camera on the phone is pretty highly rated. DxOMark has the LG G4 rated as the 11th best cell phone camera. At one time it was rated #2, but a couple handfuls of cameras released since have edged it out.
Afternoon Blossom - Layton, Utah
The camera specs are decent: 16 megapixel 1/2.6" sensor, f/1.8 lens, image stabilization, 4K video. But, perhaps most importantly, it can save in RAW.

Light Through The Leaves is a RAW file post-processed on the phone using an app called Snapseed. Creek Blossom is a RAW file post-processed on my computer using Alien Skin Exposure XAfternoon Blossom is a JPEG file edited on the phone using Photoshop Express.

My quick impressions so far is that the RAW files are significantly better than the JPEGs, enough so that I would recommend using RAW as much as practical with this phone. As a phone, the LG G4 is the same as any other smart phone and works quite well. The battery life seems a bit short. I'll have a full review soon.

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