LG Optimus GJ review: Wild child
13 megapixel camera with HDR stills
The main camera on the LG Optimus GJ has a 13MP sensor that captures photos with a maximum resolution of 4208 x 3120 and 1080p videos at 30fps. There's also a 2.1MP front-facing camera that shoots 720p videos.
The interface has been remodeled from the Optimus G, but retains a similar controls layout. You get a bar on the right with the still/video toggle, a virtual shutter key and gallery shortcut on the right and a column with five shortcuts on the left.
You can edit the top four of these shortcuts so you can have one-tap access to the features you use most. By default, the top shortcut toggles between shot resolution, the second activates the "cheese shutter" (which lets you snap a photo by saying "Cheese!", "LG" or a few other words), the Time catch shot (which we'll get to in a moment), shooting mode and settings.
You can pick between one of four shooting modes - Normal, HDR, Panorama and Continuous shot.
The Time catch shot feature (also called Time machine camera) snaps a photo, but also records several photos of what happened before you hit the shutter key. You can save any of the photos on that list that you like.
The image quality of the photos shot with the LG Optimus GJ is very good. There is accurate although slightly oversaturated color reproduction and some noise, but shadows are well exposed and the dynamic range is good.
Photo quality comparison
The LG Optimus GJ has the same camera sensor as the Optimus G. See how they compare, as well how the Optimus G Pro figures into the equation in our Photo compare tool.
Video camera with dual recording
The interface on the video camera is basically the same as on the still camera.
The LG Optimus GJ can record 1080p videos at 30fps with the rear shooter, and 720p video with the 1.3MP front-facer.
Live effects can be applied in real-time (that is, ones that are visible in the viewfinder as you shoot the video, not ones applied during post-processing).
You can either use funny face effects (with automatic face detection) or do a sort-of green-screen effect by replacing the static background of the video with something more exciting (this works best with a tripod as shaking the camera causes the whole image to change).
Videos are stored in MP4 files with a bitrate of 17Mbps for 1080p@30fps mode. Audio is recorded in stereo at 156Kbps and a sampling rate of 38kHz.
Those are good specs on paper but the actual results aren't that impressive. The videos are smooth and hover around the 30fps consistently, but the level of fine detail is lower than that of the leading 1080p shooters, the sharpening is overly strong, the dynamic range is on the low side and the colors are oversaturated. The continuous autofocus and the automatic exposure are both hair triggers and go off way too often.
Check out this FullHD video sample from the Optimus GJ.
Video quality comparison
Check out how the LG Optimus GJ stacks up against other 13MP / 1080p shooters and also many others using out dedicated Video compare tool.