LG G5 wide-angle camera: Practical or not?

LG G5 wide-angle camera: Practical or not?

From the front, the LG G5 looks very much like its smartphone brethren. We all clearly know by now that it’s a uniquely crafted phone, unlike anything we’ve seen before because of its ambitious modular design. While that might be one of its stronger selling points, the LG G5 boasts a ton of unconventional qualities that make it different from most of today’s crop of high-end smartphones. In particular, we have to flip it around to see yet another one of its notable features.

You’ll quickly take notice of its peculiar camera setup. Although it’s not a new thing to see two camera lenses fashioned into a phone, it’s nonetheless still a rarity to find often in the space – so it’s something that sparks interest. As we’ve been made aware during its official introduction, the dual-camera configuration of the LG G5 is there to offer a wider capture than your typical smartphone camera.

Wide angle cameras are nothing new either, but the majority of them are generally accompanied by the front-facing camera – where wide-angles are needed to get in a few more of those friends into your selfies. With LG’s interpretation, though, it now extends to the rear camera. We’ve been playing around with a pre-production version of the G5, so let’s dive in and find out exactly what it’s capable of achieving!

The hardware


LG G5 wide-angle camera: Practical or not?
Speaking of its camera, let’s quickly talk about it. LG introduced a dual-camera setup for the first time with the LG V10, which has two cameras on the front and offered wide group shots. For the G5, LG took advantage of the same technology for the smartphone's rear camera setup in its effort to stand out from the competition. The two cameras on the rear are 16MP and 8MP resolution.

There's the main, 1/2.6” 16-megapixel camera, with rather smallish, 1.12μm pixels, but wide, f/1.8 lens and optical stabilization—the same package available with the G4. But in addition, you're getting an extra, 8-megapixel unit with extremely wide field of view—135°, or more than that of the human eye. In effect, were you to put the LG G5 on your nose, it would capture more of the scene than you can see.

Usually speaking, manufacturers are mostly concerned about the performance of its cameras. However, considering that LG already did its part to build a solid reputation with the G4 last year, it makes sense for them to tackle its new flagship with something unconventional. Having earned its solid reputation for taking killer still images, you kind of expect the G5 to follow suit with its performance, but for this article, we’re going to talk more about the wide angle aspect.

More is better, right?


Apple did it. Samsung has seemingly followed suit as well with its newest flagship. Interestingly, though, LG has decided to keep the same megapixel count from before, so there’s no decrease to the LG G5’s arsenal. What’s really intriguing here is that they’ve opted to do something else with this dual-camera configuration. Now, I’m a fan of taking panoramic shots, especially at events to give you all a glimpse of the atmosphere. Most phones adopt the same interpretation, whereby it’s done by slowly panning left-to-right with the camera – or vice versa.

Naturally, panoramic shots are ideal to try and capture as much of the scene in front of you. The one major pitfall of it is that sometimes the stitching process can be botched by fast-moving subjects in the scene, resulting in some odd, and even unrealistic effects. And sometimes, we start to follow a slanted path as we’re panning across. So yeah, panoramic shots involve a bit of patience if you want them to come out perfect.

It’s a panoramic expert by default


That leads us to the practicality of the G5’s dual-camera configuration. Some people might think of the idea as a novel one, such how we’ve seen in the past with dual-cameras being used to cast post bokeh effects, but the G5’s wide-angle capture is useful in many situations – albeit, it comes with one expense. Rather than having to stay extremely still while panning, the G5 makes it a breeze to capture a decent looking panoramic shot. Instead, all that’s needed is to switch into its wide-angle mode, and from there, the interface zooms out to a wider view.

Simple, quick, and easy! That process beats the usual way we’re accustomed on our current devices, so it’s something worth nothing. There are obviously practical case uses when the dual-camera setup is ideal, such as in the event when you want to include a bunch more of your friends in a shot. Or maybe if you want to capture the entirety of a building, but don’t have enough room to capture it all unless you move farther back.

And you know what? If you want to get even more of the scene included in your shot, there’s still the option to go into the usual panoramic mode and even utilize the dual-camera setup to cover more of the scene.

Comparing it to another formidable smartphone, the recently release Galaxy S7, we can quickly see how the wide-angle of the LG G5 is more generous in covering the scene. Since this is a pre-production unit of the LG G5 we’re dealing it, we’re going to refrain from diving deeper into its quality. Instead, we’ll just leave it by saying that the dual-camera configuration undeniably has the scope to gather in areas that are otherwise not existent with the S7’s camera.

The one side effect


While there are plenty of scenarios and situations when its wide-angle capture proves valuable, there’s just one, single downside that affects its appearance. That, of course, is the noticeable fisheye-like distortion that accompanies the capture. It’s most prevalent around the edges, as the wide angle camera makes straight lines appear curved. At times, it reminds us of a perspective drawing, since it seems as though everything is being pulled into the horizon; the vanishing point to be exact.
The fisheye-like distortion of the wide-angle capture.

The fisheye-like distortion of the wide-angle capture.


Needless to say, it’s the unintended result from being able to gather such a wider field of view than your typical smartphone camera, so some people might find the distortion a bit distracting. This is the single compromise that people are going to have to settle with the G5, seeing that there’s no way around it. Then again, this kind of distortion can be pretty trippy looking when you’re filming action or sports scene – similar to the fisheye look of video footage recorded by today’s action cameras.

Is this the right move?


LG doesn’t hide its intentions with the G5. It’s riddled from head-to-toe with some unconventional innovations. Right now, it’s really tough to say whether or not consumers will find the dual-camera setup something that’s practical to use. In our short time with this pre-production unit, we can agree that there are scenarios when the wide-angle capture is more ideal than the normal one. Regardless, it’s ultimately going to fall upon consumers to tell us if LG gambled correctly this time.



Related phones

G5
  • Display 5.3" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Quad-core, 2200 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2800 mAh(25h talk time)

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28 Comments

1. SamDH1

Posts: 419; Member since: Apr 21, 2015

I love it! If you can have standard and wide-lens, then yeeeaaah! Every single photographer rocks a wide lens in their arsenal, how could this be a bad thing?

11. MySchizoBuddy

Posts: 159; Member since: Aug 23, 2011

it's bad because samsung phones don't have it. wait for samsung to have wide angle lenses then and only then will this be cool

14. bur60

Posts: 981; Member since: Jul 07, 2014

The Samsung lens cover is coming in to save Sammy (sadly high price but being detachable is nice)

15. Jason2k13

Posts: 1447; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

Because it makes a fish-eye effect when in wide-angle mode, and you cant change it. There are times that people dont want that distortion on the sides because it changes the picture especially if people are in it.

19. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

post-processing can fix that :-/ its alot better than move back 2x or 3x distance to get the same result

21. srk_s_rao unregistered

Some situations you can't move back.

23. aman5mathur

Posts: 238; Member since: Mar 28, 2014

But i guess that fish eye distortion would look cool with an edge screen.

22. vincelongman

Posts: 5623; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

My main complaint is that it's attached to the worse 8MP sensor with no OIS And that LG aren't using it to improve general quality (although no one's done that yet, except small demos from a few, like Qualcomm and that company Apple bought)

25. razraptre

Posts: 168; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

You don't need OIS as much with a wider angle lens, tbh.

28. vincelongman

Posts: 5623; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

For video yes, since it can crop For photos you still need OIS Unless you lower the shutter speed, but means darker photos Unless if it has big pixels (e.g. like the 6P/5X), but I doubt that

2. DirtyDan23

Posts: 280; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

Neato

3. gaming64

Posts: 234; Member since: Mar 22, 2016

It'd be nice to have something like this on a phone for once but I think photographers should stick with DSLR cameras.

4. Coconut00

Posts: 485; Member since: Jan 13, 2015

It's cool but disappointing because LG kept the same sensor as the G4 just because of the second lens.

9. maherk

Posts: 6704; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Even in 2016, this 1 year old sensor will still be one of the best 3 performers. And regarding the wide angle sensor, this is one of the features that I wish my S7 Edge had.

24. tyrionTheWise unregistered

http://www.phonearena.com/news/Camera-Lens-cases-for-Samsung-Galaxy-S7S7-edge-hands-on_id78717 If you're okay with the accessory idea, it might be for you. Me personally would take a panorama if I want a wider shot, since I hate the warping at the corners of wide-angle lens.

26. razraptre

Posts: 168; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Panoramas have an even worse effect, though. You've seen the warping it does to, for example, floor tiles when you stitch across a room, yeah?

27. tyrionTheWise unregistered

But you don't see panos in a flat screen at once.

10. Vagabondjonez

Posts: 156; Member since: Jan 21, 2016

If something ain't broke, you don't need to completely overhual it. I'm sure there have been changes to the sensor. We don't even have thr find specs on the sensor actually.

5. tywinlannister

Posts: 27; Member since: Aug 24, 2015

Can anyone tell me the name of the watch he is wearing in the cover photo

8. tyrionTheWise unregistered

That's the new Fitbit blaze. Seems like you have lost track of technology after dying in your own s**t, father.

6. Shocky unregistered

Gimmick, it's basically admitting defect to Samsung in camera department.

7. tyrionTheWise unregistered

I think LG should have kept it as a 'friend' accessory and focused on the main camera. They kept the sensor same as last year which is a major disappointment. This is a niche feature, and the secondary camera's resolution and quality are not good. Keeping the wide-angle lens as an add on would also use the primary sensor which should be way better in quality.

12. smacsteve

Posts: 86; Member since: May 16, 2012

You Phonearena writers need to have your work proofed for grammar and misspells/incorrect words used.

13. aho13

Posts: 97; Member since: Sep 10, 2014

The wide view angel is a good thing to have in a smartphone , but having two cameras in the back will be distracting , and you will make sure that you take the photo twice with each camera just in case you want to preserve the higher quality ,dynamic range or in low light . So I 'd rather prefer on single wide lens with f1.7 or lower on one sensor even if it is a 12 megapixel and have the normal shot as 8 Megapixel crop , but without losing the low light nor dynamic range nor having to add two lenses at the back .

16. jessyi

Posts: 325; Member since: Jan 08, 2015

I like the idea of what LG is doing.i thought that the s7 camera would be far superior to any device..i see the G5 camera to be on par with it...For that i would go for the G5 camera and wide angles lense!

17. GreekGeek

Posts: 1276; Member since: Mar 22, 2014

YES, the wide angle is not only an added bonus, but it's a MUST for photographers. Some people are just addicted to wide angle shots and this phone is for them

18. TerryTerius unregistered

The option is. I think it should have been an add-on rather than the default camera. But, I'm sure LG has done a great job.

20. Hoggington

Posts: 356; Member since: Feb 23, 2016

All of the wide angle shots I've seen from the G5, have a horrible fish bowl effect. I'm all for innovation, but that is easy to see. If they can fix that....awesome.

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