The LG V10 camera uses the same basic hardware as the G4. This means a 1/2.6" sensor with 16MP resolution (widescreen aspect ratio). It's behind a bright f/1.8 lens, which lets in 80% more light than G3's f/2.2 lens.
It's optically stabilized with optional digital stabilization when you're expecting a lot shaking. OIS will further help it in the dark, but the V10 has more tricks - Laser autofocus for fast, accurate focus locks and a color spectrum sensor that promises accurate color rendering even in tricky lighting situations.
The dual selfie cameras are quite interesting too, but let's focus on the main camera for now as there's plenty of ground to cover.
The LG V10 brings with it polished, advanced camera software that sets it apart from the G4. The Manual mode has extended to videos while the still photo mode learned new tricks.
It starts off with a manual White balance slider (with an Auto option), a Manual focus slider (with an Auto option), exposure compensation, ISO (50-2,700) and shutter speed (1/6,000s-30s). Along the top of the screen you get a histogram, along with other readings (very reminiscent of a DSLR screen) to guide you as you set up the settings.
Manual mode: note the histogram and all other informative readouts
You can enable RAW shooting with the JPG+RAW mode (there's no RAW only mode). This takes a bit longer to save the shot and it takes up more storage - it's about 7.5MB for JPG and 19MB for RAW. Good thing that the V10 comes with plenty of storage and you can expand it too.
The camera flash has a neat trick too - front and rear curtain sync. You may not have heard of those, but in capable hands they make a world of difference for low light shots. Basically, this setting controls whether the flash fires at the start or at the end of the exposure (important for multi-second exposures).
Using a tripod, we managed to drop the ISO to 50 and get a great shot of the city at night, while the close-by subject was illuminated by the flash. Rear curtain sync made quite a difference, it really helped to capture close-by subjects without overexposing them.
Rear curtain sync also makes a difference if you're trying your hand at light writing. With it, the light trails will follow the light, while the default mode shows light trails going ahead of the light.
The Manual video mode is hands-down the most flexible, advanced video shooting mode we've seen on a smartphone. You get to adjust the framerate - going from 1fps to 60fps - and the bitrate (High, Medium, Low).
The Directivity setting is unique. It puts you in control of what sounds the LG V10 will capture - ones ahead (in front of the main camera), your voice (in the direction of the selfie cams) or any balance of the two. This is great for narration in a noisy environment or the opposite - capture sound from the scene and ignore noise from your group.
You can also adjust the mic level. The Left and Right meters show the levels so you can immediately spot peaking. There's a wind noise filter you can toggle in windy environments too. You can even use a wireless Bluetooth mic to record sound like a pro.
The video camera manual settings are almost the same as those for photos, you don't get to adjust the exposure compensation though. The great news is that you can adjust the settings during video recording - this way you can, say, slowly bring something into focus.
Finally we get to the selfie cameras. One (the right one) has a fairly standard 80° lens, while the other one has a wide 120° lens. This makes a great difference in how much you can fit in the shot - LG says you'll never need a selfie stick again (which is just a crude way to capture more of the scene around you).
Samsung has a 120° Wide selfie mode on its phones, but they stitch three photos, kind of like a panorama and is much trickier to use. The LG V10 takes a 120° shot in one go, which makes it much better for group shots (you don't want people moving between multiple photos).
The selfie cameras don't do manual mode, but you are unlikely to need that either.
One fun mode to try is Multi-shot. It splits the frame into several segments and you capture separate photos for each one. The four-way split takes one 80° selfie, one 120° selfie and two shots with the main camera. There are other layouts, the simplest one is just main camera and selfie. We do wish we had a way to resize the segments or, say, take four selfie shots.
Multi-shot puts all the cameras to use
Snap mode does pretty much the same thing, except for video and the cameras work simultaneously. This can create a video with a narrow and wide views of you, plus one or two views of the scene ahead (since there is just one camera on the back, for it just copies the footage for the two by two mode).
Snaps also work great with just one camera at a time. Hitting the record button takes a short 3-second clip or you can hold the button for up to 60-seconds. Multiple clips add up on the timeline and you can switch the camera between takes. So you can do a narrow selfie to introduce the scene, then flip to the main camera, then a wide selfie and so on. When you have filled up the 60 second timeline (or even before), hit save to send that video to the gallery and start a new one.
Or you can use the Quick share button to immediately send out the last photo or video you too. Just tap the button that shows up with the share with last used app or tap the down arrow to pick an app from the list.
And if all that is too confusing, the Auto mode or even the Simple mode are great ways to quickly snap a photo without worrying much about settings or multi-camera angles.
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