Smartphone camera shootout: LG G6 vs Samsung Galaxy S8

The Galaxy S8 does a lot of great things, but LG retains its Best Smartphone Camera crown.

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Range

Here we’re going to look at the dynamic range captured by the camera (the difference between the brightest and darkest possible areas captured in a single image) and the way the camera chooses to expose the image, including tone mapping and HDR.

In this first shot of a series of AV plugs, we see a pattern that will repeat itself throughout these tests. Both shots look good, but the Galaxy S8 exposes a little more brightly. This isn't a problem in this shot, but it will be in others.

g6 gs8 camera shootout gs8 plugs Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

The Galaxy S8 looks good, and doesn't lose any information, but it's exposed more brightly than the LG G6.

g6 gs8 camera shootout g6 plugs Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

LG's exposure is one or two stops darker, but there's no lost information and the image looks balanced.

We start to see the consequences of Samsung's high exposure settings in this next scene. Both cameras create a pleasing overall image, but look closely at the woman on set and you can see the highlights blown out in her hair, her sleeves, and the objects on the right side of the table.

g6 gs8 camera shootout gs8 tailor Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

Samsung produces a pleasing image, but highlights are blown out a little.

g6 gs8 camera shootout g6 tailor Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

The G6 manages to properly expose dark areas while not losing detail in the brightest spots.

This shot of a lighting booth at a trade show really demonstrates the difference in dynamic range. At first glace, both shoots look good. But take a look at the round lights on the left side. You can see the black lines for the little support rods. Those are totally blown out on the Galaxy S8. Both phones manage to keep detail up in the dark areas of the ceiling, however.

g6 gs8 camera shootout gs8 booth Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

The Galaxy S8 totally blows out the lights on the left.

g6 gs8 camera shootout g6 booth Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

The G6 retains fine details in the lights, as well as detail in the dark areas.

Both phones are leagues better than those of years past, but the Galaxy S8 has a tendency to slightly overexpose images, and often blows out highlights in challenging scenes.

Winner: The LG G6 simply does a better job of keeping the brightest and darkest areas of a scene exposed properly.

Overall winner: LG G6

The LG G6 retains its crown in our smartphone shootout series. While the Galaxy S8 takes better photos than the S7 did, despite similar specs, Samsung still has a little work to do. Locking on to proper white balance in challenging scenes is tough, and it still over-saturates colors, especially bright greens (like grass and trees).

Again, this isn't a measurement of all aspects of a smartphone's camera. There are lots of factors to consider: dual-camera modes, special camera app modes and features, shutter latency, video quality and features, and more. But when we closely examine the color, clarity, and range of these two cameras when used as most people do (in auto mode), LG clearly comes out on top.

We think smartphone buyers will be really happy with the camera on either phone, but Samsung's going to have to do a little work if it wants to with this challenge with its next phone.

This story, "Smartphone camera shootout: LG G6 vs Samsung Galaxy S8" was originally published by Greenbot.

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