The LG G3 and the Galaxy S5 are two Korean smartphones that presently find themselves at the top of the totem pole, and both offer great back-facing cameras. The question is, which one is better and can this even be said? Our comparison shows that both have their strengths and weaknesses, but one of these Android devices won by a hair in the end. Can you take a guess?
Our comparison wasn’t conducted in a laboratory full of lab coats and extremely meticulous conditions. No, we undertook this test one sunny afternoon in the AndroidPIT editorial office. This is actually more informative for future owners than any sterile laboratory. Real life situations is what needs to looked at when comparing cameras. It is also for this reason that we used automatic mode and only once did we switch to HDR mode and Blur mode with a few subsequent adjustments of the focal plane.
In order to compare pictures more easily, we switched the resolution of the Galaxy S5 on 10 MP as opposed to 16 M, except for the comparison images where we compare sharpness and resolution. In regards to all of the other pictures, we concentrated on image noise, color, contrast, dynamics and saturation, though these characteristics don’t really differ much from one manufacturer to another.
Comparison pictures and results
These comparison pictures and more can be found on my Google+ profile: taking a look is really worth it, because the more pictures you see, the more the differences become apparent.
Picture quality, color and contrast
Both cameras came out almost on par in this part of the comparison: Samsung’s Galaxy S5, however, delivers slightly stronger contrasts and sharper contours, while the pictures look a look a lot sharper on a computer screen and seem a lot more appealing. The LG G3 is able to lighten darker colors a lot better than the Galaxy S5, while the automatic white balance on the S5 is slightly warmer than the cooler G3 results.
Samsung did it better here as well: the HDR mode on the Galaxy S5 reduces contrasts and appears less pale and grey than the G3. Taking HDR pictures and then processing them was a lot faster on the Galaxy S5 than on the LG G3.
Poor lighting conditions
When it comes bad lighting, the G3 beats the S5, and this in a major way. In darker rooms and evening pictures, the G3 is the better smartphone. That being said, when the camera software processes the pictures, it takes longer on the G3 than on the Galaxy S5, and the device needs to be held for a longer period of time. This is a sign that the software has a big role in the picture after the shot has been taking.
Resolution and sharpness of detail
The Galaxy S5 came out on top in this category. The camera shoots pictures in 16:9 format with 16 MP, while the LG G3 only offers a resolution 10 MP. The S5 is therefore better capable of reproducing small details and offers more leeway when post-editing image details. Samsung seems to sharpen details a lot more than LG and this is very apparent when observing the pictures at 100% zoom. This represents an advantage for normal users because unedited pictures on the S5 look a lot more appealing.
After a short test, I noticed a lot of very interesting things: the Laser Autofocus on the LG G3 was only quicker and more precise in a very badly lit kitchen, but in every other situation there was no difference in speed in comparison to the Galaxy S5.
Both the LG G3 and the Galaxy S5 offer panorama mode, but do it in two different ways: as the S5 pans, it takes one continuous picture, while the LG G3 puts separate picture quadrants together. The result from the LG G3 came out at a higher resolution, but the lighting was irregular. Also, to get anything decent, you need to hold the camera super still, any shaking will lead to some unattractive results. The lighting for the entire panorama on the G3 was alright, but the S5 was a bit brighter.
Adjusting the focus in pictures after having taken them is a new feature that both smartphones were able to master. That being said, the blur effect is much stronger with the S5 than the G3. To produce the effect, the S5 merges three pictures with varying focus levels, and the G3 uses four. The S5 allows the user to choose between foreground, middleground and background, while the LG G3 has a slider that permits you to choose between the four pictures. The only annoying thing here is that the effect is not continuous, so if the desired sharpness is between two shots, no picture is ever really sharp.
Samsung also ‘won’ in this category, seeing as the menu on the Galaxy S5 has much more settings options than the G3. Next to automatic mode on the G3, there are three others to choose from and the settings menu is quite bare. Even if we aren’t always fans of Samsung’s immense list of gimmicky features, LG could have brought more features to the table in their latest flagship.
After our short test, Samsung came out the victor: the Galaxy S5 offers more in the way of software features with more appealing pictures overall and hardly any disadvantages like the LG G3. The only area where the LG G3 came out on top was the picture quality in low light situations. The Galaxy S5 once again proved that this doesn’t belong to their list of strengths.