Photographers rely on their smart phones for everything. We have our banking, email, Rolodex (for you young’uns that is the contact list), to do lists, and in the last couple of generations a camera that we use daily. Up until recently I have been a devoted Windows Phone user (don’t laugh I still think it’s the best mobile platform) but with Microsoft’s recent announcements about future support of the platform and the constant giggles I would get when I went into a T-Mobile store and they saw my phone I knew it was time for a change.

I knew when it was time to change Android was the only choice, after all I am a Microsoft guy so you won’t find any Apple products in my house. When I went to the T-Mobile store (my carrier) I had two choices Samsung Galaxy S7 or LG V20. I chose the LG V20 because of it’s size and dual sensor camera on the back of the phone. The V20 is supposed to be a direct competitor to the iPhone 7 plus and the recalled Samsung Note 7.

The Phone and Nougat Operating System

From a smart phone stand point the phone is everything you would expect. The V20 has the latest Android Operating System, Nougat, installed and is actually one of two phones on the current market running this version. The phone is fast and very powerful with apps loading almost instantaneously. Add the all the apps available in the Google Play Store you have a great smart phone. But the phone itself is not what Improvephotography is here to review so keep going and we will get into the camera.

Video Capabilities

The video at the top is the TV commercial that was filmed completely with the V20. The specifications calls for HD up to 4K formats at 30 fps. I tried to record 4K video myself a few times and found it to be a bit difficult at first. That is more because at 4K any vibration is translated into the video more than lower resolutions. I also had a few settings wrong so when I would press stop to save the video the file would get lost. Once I got everything dialed in I was finally able to capture 4K video.

Overall it performed pretty decent and the digital zoom doesn’t seem to lose much in resolution. The above video was my first successful video I captured and about halfway through you can see the zoom. However if you are looking to create quick behind the scenes video and it will be handheld I recommend sticking with regular HD resolutions. If you get a small Cell phone tripod such as this from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/KobraTech-Mini-Phone-Tripod-Stand/dp/B017NA7V1U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479143213&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=cell+phone+tripod&psc=1 then you could take really good 4K video.

Front Facing Camera

The selfie camera (I mean front facing) is a decent 5MP sensor with a 120 deg viewing angle. This allows for a larger viewing area to fit more people into the group shot. I am not a selfie person myself so I did not test this camera out much but what little I saw it was adequate.

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Behind the scenes picture before a photo shoot. Taken with the “normal” view sensor. This also used the on board Flash.

Rear Facing Cameras

There are two camera sensors located on the back of the camera one is 16Mp f1.8 main camera with a 75 degree viewing angle. The second camera is a 8Mp at f2.4 with a 135 degree viewing angle that has some distortion on the edges.

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Behind the scenes picture before a photo shoot. Taken with the “Wide” view sensor. This also used the on board Flash.

What is really good about the rear facing cameras is the manual mode. The manual mode gives you full control over the camera just as if we are using a DSLR. Everything from White Balance to Aperture to shutter speed and ISO can be manually adjusted to capture that perfect shot.

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Screenshot showing the camera controls in Manual Mode. Note the focus points and built in level indicator.

Final Thoughts

As I mentioned above my last few smart phones where Windows Phones and while a few of them (such as the Lumia 1020) had great built in cameras most had very basic sensors which is what I was used too. My expectations for this phone was to be wowed and this article was going to be a glowing review of the V20. I was wowed by the phone and features but only slightly impressed with the camera. It is much better than anything I have had and it will be used a lot but from all the hype it does not produce a “wow” factor. Buy this phone because it is a great phone and a good camera just don’t buy this phone for the camera itself.

Original Content provided by Improve Photography

One Comment

  1. Ron Lawrence

    I’ll have to disagree a little. I got the LG when my Note 7 was recalled. The camera on the LG is better with more control. I think that what you are experiencing is “tech overload”. We get so much, so fast now that we just go “So?”. I’m a Windows guy myself and am more impressed with this phone’s cam than the 7Plus I tried. I think any phone cam is more than capable of doing what we need now. It now comes down to convenience and gadgets. Good review!

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