LG officially unveiled the LG V20 last night, bringing some pretty tough competition into the large-sized phone arena. We had the chance to take a pretty extensive look at the LG V20 and even had the opportunity to pit it against the Note 7 in a quick versus. But what about the camera experience? Both the Note 7 and V20 claim to have some of the best shooters available and so we thought it made sense to take a closer look at a few camera samples and see exactly how well the V20 stacks up against the Note 7 in terms of picture quality.
Now bare in mind as we take a look at these photos that the LG V20 used here is a preproduction unit and while we’re pretty confident a whole lot isn’t going to change with the final production units, it is still a possibility that there could be some changes to the camera software and its image processing.
With that out of the way, let’s jump right in.
We’re going to start by taking a look at a low light shot, simply because a lot more people these days are taking photos in low light, and so this is an aspect that is becoming increasingly important. It’s also an area where smartphone cameras typically tend to struggle.
The image in question was taken outside of a local bar in Berlin. Without zooming in and pixel peeping, the first thing you’ll notice right off the bat is the colors of these two images are very different. The image on the Note 7 has much warmer color tones, whereas the V20 is much cooler. Obviously whether you prefer warmer or cooler images comes down to your own tastes, but the Note 7’s image is actually the one that more accurately portrays how the scene looked in real life. Unfortunately for the Note 7, that’s about the only advantage it has in this shot.
As far as detail goes, the V20 is much sharper and more detailed. If you zoom in you’ll definitely see noise which is to be expected on any camera in low light but the noise on the V20 is much finer and more compact, whereas the Note 7 is much more spread out and splotchy in appearance and it just makes the overall image look much softer.
Now let’s turn to this image of a cappuccino cup. Again, the Note 7 looks warmer than the image from the V20, and if you zoom in you’ll see that the Note 7’s image is much softer, especially along the edges. There is also less less detail.
Keep in mind that the V20 isn’t always superior in every low light lighting condition. For example, this image from inside a bar is just like the first low light shot we looked at, but this time shows that the Note 7 produces an image that is much more accurate to how it was perceived in real life, while the V20 produced an image that just looked extremely unnatural with an excessive amount of reds and oranges. The image from the V20 is also very overexposed.
This next shot is of a sign for a restaurant called Bun Bao. Yes I know what you’re thinking, an Asian restaurant in Germany sounds a little weird but, trust me, it was good stuff. In terms of color and detail they both look pretty similar and I think most people would be happy with either one of these shots. Taking a step back, however, it won’t take long to notice that the biggest difference between these two shots is the dynamic range. If you look on the right side you can see perfectly through the windows on the Note 7 while on the V20, it’s pretty tough to make out much of anything that’s going on through those windows. There’s definitely more detail here on the Note7.
But what about actual food photos? Well this first image is of a mango lassi drink that we had at this restaurant and you’ll notice right away that the colors again are very different. Samsung is usually known for putting a lot of saturation in their images but next to the same photo from the V20, The Note 7 almost appears flat. Now extra color and saturation doesn’t necessarily make one photo superior to the other because things like color temperature and saturation is a matter of personal preference. You can also easily achieve the same look by altering it in post processing, which most people typically do anyways when posting photos to Instagram.
If you zoom in and take a closer look, it’s same story that we saw from the previous photos. The noise that you see along the edges is much finer on the V20 and it’s just a much sharper image overall. If we take a close look at this Bun Bao burger that we had here, you’ll notice the same thing. There’s much more detail and more definitive lines on the V20, while everything just looks much softer on the Note 7. Even looking at the background of this image you’ll see a lot more splotchiness and it’s just not as clean of an image as the V20’s.
Another type of shot that a lot of people tend to take with their smartphones are macro shots. This is a pretty simple close up shot of a flower and in terms of color reproduction and detail, these two look practically identical. However, you will notice that the Note 7’s image looks much closer, and that’s because it is. In our experience the Note 7 has a much shorter working distance, allowing you to get much closer to your subject. If you like taking macro shots and getting up close and personal, the Note 7 looks to be the better camera for that.
To wrap up this camera comparison we’re going to take a look at some wide landscape shots, which is another very common type of photo that people like to take. It’s also a great way to give you an even better idea of how these two cameras perform in terms of overall detail and dynamic range.
This first image is of a fountain that we ran across here in Berlin. Just like the images that we looked at prior, you’ll immediately notice that the Note 7’s image is warmer and, in this type of shot, it works really well in Samsung’s favor. The sun reflecting off the leaves around the fountain are much more prominent, whereas on the V20 it almost looks like there isn’t any sun at all and that it was shot on a completely different day.
You’ll also notice that again, dynamic range here is also better, which is easily noticeable just by looking at the clouds. You can see the sky and the details in the clouds on the Note 7, while on the V20 it’s completely blown out and overexposed. The same thing can be said with this second image, where there was a lot of harsh sunlight and a lot of shadows. The clouds are blown out on this image as well and you can tell that it doesn’t handle the harsh lighting from the sun bouncing off these stone walls quite as well as the Note 7. In short, in these types of situations Samsung definitely wins out here.
V20 camera samples:
Galaxy Note 7 camera samples:
Well that about does it for this quick feature focus and camera comparison between the LG V20 and the Galaxy Note7. Hopefully this gave you a better idea of how these two cameras compare in terms of photos. At the end of the day, both phones appear to offer excellent picture-taking features, and some of the big differences will largely come down to personal preference.