Samsung Galaxy S8 vs. LG G6 camera showdown

26 April 2017

For many, smartphones are now our primary cameras, so it's no surprise that camera quality is a major factor contributing to our purchasing decisions. The main Android-based competitor to Samsung's Galaxy S8 is the LG G6, which just so happens to the only other smartphone to currently tout a similar extra-tall display. Both screens are spectacular, but how do the cameras stack up?

In comparing the Galaxy S8 and the LG G6 cameras, we set a couple of rules: We'd take the photos using the automatic shooting mode, we'd keep flash off, and HDR on. Before we get into a shot by shot breakdown, here are our the key findings.

  • Both the Galaxy S8 and LG G6 have top of the line cameras.
  • Both cameras produce vivid images that pop thanks to a little extra saturation, rather than opting for more natural true to life colours.
  • The Galaxy S8 has a 12MP camera, while the LG G6 has a 13MP camera. The two cameras nonetheless capture a similar amount of detail; the only time you'd actually notice a difference is when looking at a 100% crop of an image, where the G6's photo will look slightly larger.
  • Both cameras tend to over-expose images in tricky lightning situations. The Galaxy S8 does so a little more though, which results in a brighter image with potential blowout. The G6 will also blow out images, to a lesser degree, but that also results in a slightly darker photo.
  • The Galaxy S8 takes slightly brighter photos in low light situations, but is more prone to motion blur when shooting at night. The G6 is less prone to motion blur, but images tend be noisier.
  • The Galaxy S8's camera produces cleaner diffraction spikes (the star-like flares around light sources in in lowlight images).
  • Photos taken by the LG G6 occasionally have noticeable artifacts from either compression or digital over-sharpening.
  • The LG G6 has a second rear-facing camera that functions as a wide-angle lens.

Camera Samples

The above photos showcase the similar levels of colour saturation on the Galaxy S8 and the LG G6.

In the above, the Galaxy S8 produced a brighter overall image, at the cost of some blowout in the clouds. The G6's image is darker, but the clouds are more more detailed.

The above is 100% crop of the previous image, and further highlights the difference in how the two devices captured the clouds behind the crane. It's worth noting that compression artifacts (distortion that occurs when a file is shrunk to keep its size down, as with JPEG photography) are far more prominent on the G6's image. Digital image sharpening could also be in play here.

The above photos showcase the similarities in how the Galaxy S8 and LG G6 capture colour.

The above is a 100% crop that shows the difference between the Galaxy S8's 12MP sensor and the LG G6's 13MP sensor. Some over-sharpening is noticeable on the G6's image.

The above photos were taken with the window as the only prominent light source. The image taken by the Galaxy S8 is brighter but slightly blurred. The image taken by the LG G6 is sharper, but noticeably noisy.

The above photos showcase the similarities in how the two photos handle tricky lighting situations, such as a strong backlight. The Galaxy S8 completely blew out the backlight in order to capture Kenny, whereas the LG G6 tried to make more of a compromise; only the strongest part of the backlight is blown out, but you can't see quite as much of Kenny's face.

These two photos compare how the two phone's respective colour profiles affect skin tone. The Galaxy S8's image is darker and more contrasty, where as the G6 is a little brighter leaves Kenny's facial features looking a little flat.

While both the Galaxy S8 and LG G6 are prone to motion blur when dealing with fast moving objects at night, the Galaxy S8 is more affected. Given the more prominent flare around the street lights, I'd attribute this to the Galaxy S8 shooting at a lower shutterspeed than the LG G6.

This image also highlights the difference in diffraction spikes. On Galaxy S8 photo, the streetlights flare into into clean stars, but they almost look muddy on the LG G6 image.

The above 100% crop further highlights the difference between sharpness when shooting in low light conditions. The Galaxy S8's camera blurred the street signs, whereas the LG G6 kept them mostly legible.

These images compare the two phones in less extreme low light conditions. Both have managed to keep detail in the cafe window, the Galaxy S8 captured a brighter image, while the LG G6 captured a slightly sharper one. However, the G6's photo is almost too sharp in some cases; many of the fairy lights are surrounded by a halo of noise.

And finally, one more look at the difference in colour tone. Both cameras captured the post office box in a similar shade of red.

Now that we've helped you make up your mind, compare Galaxy S8 plans here, and LG G6 plans here

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