LG G4 color spectrum sensor explained: helps you nail perfect white balance for photos

The LG G4 comes with a brand new 16-megapixel camera sensor with a fast, f/1.8 aperture lens on top of that sensor and improved optical stabilization (OIS 2), but arguably the most exciting new camera-related feature of the phone might be its new 'color spectrum sensor'.

What does a 'color spectrum sensor' do, and why is it better than a regular sensor? LG explaind the benefits of the new technology at its official unveiling event for the handset.

The first and most notable improvement that comes with this new sensor is its capability to capture color in its naturally appearing tonalities.

A new addition to the feature set is a spectrum sensor located right below the single LED flash, near the camera. This new sensor is there to measure the ambient light and its purpose is to determine the source of light - whether its artificial or natural, and just what kind of lighting situation you have. Quite importantly, LG claims this sensor can smartly make the difference between light and objects for more accurate readings. Knowing the exact lighting conditions with such a precision allows the phone to select the optimal white point.

Selecting the right white point is crucial for the natural, balanced look of a picture, and it's not rare to see phone cameras misjudging conditions, resulting in images with a weird color ting (we've often seen cold-looking, bluish shots on some phones, for instance).

Update: An insightful comment from our reader thattechguy points out that LG might be using a Hamamatsu S11059-01WT color sensor tuned specifically to detect certain wavelengths. This seems like a very logical suggestion given everything LG has shown, especially the infra-red sensitivity of the color spectrum sensor in the G4. Here is the official specification page for this color sensor (external link).

And here is the official explanation of this new color spectrum sensor in the G4 by LG itself:

Finally, we ought to mention that the sensor is also sensitive to infra-red light that regular sensors cannot read, catching all those nuances of red. LG demonstrated how pictures of strawberries look much livelier on the G4 when compared to other phones that had the same picture, but with colors that don't look quite as natural.

We're yet to test this new sensor and what are the actual benefits it brings to photography, but it does sound like an exciting and useful new feature. What do you think: do you care about the new color spectrum sensor on the G4?

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1. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

I dont know much about photography but that all sounds pretty cool.

6. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

I have to say, LG has something special here. Actually Korea has 2 behemoths in Samsung & LG. Both hit it out of the park with the Samsung Galaxy S6/S6 Edge & the LG G4. I really happen to like the red leather version. Looks insanely sexy, like the red interior leather of a fancy sports car! Just Stunning!


Posts: 86; Member since: Apr 03, 2015

What about Japan??? you forgot Sony

17. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Right now South Korea makes WAY better phones than Japan... Sony needs to do WAY more.


Posts: 86; Member since: Apr 03, 2015

Wise comment sir +1

23. josephnero

Posts: 783; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

The sensor is made by sony

18. Birds

Posts: 1172; Member since: Nov 21, 2011

Thank you!!! Someone who finally is not bagging on LG for some petty reason...

2. Fallen1

Posts: 288; Member since: Nov 14, 2014

This is why this may be the best camera phone for 2015 until note 5

5. sip1995

Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

Lol, Microsoft made an announcement....didn't know that.

7. gaming64 unregistered

Rather look at that ass than seeing the announcement though.

19. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

Why? You have done the comparison? It's just a name like everything else. Galaxy S6 uses IR detect White Balance feature. Does anyone know if it's just a gimmick or something really good? They told the press they use this special technique for white balance. How do you know that it actually works and just a fancy thing without any practical benefit. Only photos will prove if they are right, nothing else. How they do is irrelevant, as long as I get the result

21. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

Hey mate.. Barca fan?? Watching getafe match right now... It's Goin Good.

22. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010


24. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

LG G4 use LAZERS.... (for autofocus :P) according to LG G4 camera comparison with other flagship in other article in this site, white balance in this phone is a fail.. look at 2nd pic in that article, LG G4 background is totally washed out. (even the object it focusing also became white)

3. sip1995

Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

Cool new feature from LG, now that mobile photography went up 1 more level, Microsoft has to offer something new and innovative.

4. waddup121 unregistered

LG described it so nicely, totally made me convinced.

8. gaming64 unregistered

In short, it makes the picture look like what we're actually picturing. Better than S6's camera.

13. TyrionLannister unregistered

I totally believe you. /s

9. jessyi

Posts: 327; Member since: Jan 08, 2015

All i know is that LG is the new king on the camera arena....

10. jessyi

Posts: 327; Member since: Jan 08, 2015

I will say the best camera until the LG G4 NOTE. NOT SAMSUNG NOTE 5.

11. thattechguy

Posts: 2; Member since: Apr 28, 2015

Can we get some more information on the "color spectrum sensor." If this is able to be used as a spectrometer then this phone has a huge scientific/medical feature. This could be used by people to check if their medications are counterfeit. Vitamins could be checked to make sure they have the actual vitamins in it (looking at you GNC/Walmart!). Druggies to determine how "pure" their stash is so they know if they are getting a deal or if they are going to die. The list goes on and on.

15. thattechguy

Posts: 2; Member since: Apr 28, 2015

Meh the more I look at it the more I start to think it's a Hamamatsu color sensor. So it's tuned to a couple of wavelengths and not able to read at the 1nm or lower resolution. The slide shown in the presntation with the light response curve is misleading. It probably the Hamamatsu S11059-01WT or a custom build with selected wavelengths. If anyone knows more please let me know.

25. james2841

Posts: 167; Member since: Dec 10, 2014

only hyperspectral cameras can do that.

12. seven7dust unregistered

i think it'll be better for low light shots than the s6 , this is one area where colors vary too much , plus OIS 3 axis stuff is looking really good. this year seems to be about really good cameras. just waiting on sony too.

14. SonyFindOneDroidple

Posts: 865; Member since: May 11, 2013

Looking at the first camera samples, it doesnt look that good though anyway we might be seeing the full reviews these coming days as the official launch at Korea will be tomo

26. concomcad

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 14, 2018

What if someone wrote an app that used the color sensor to match paints?

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