Camera Operation

In Manual mode all important camera settings are visible at the top of the screen and can be changed by tapping on the icons at the bottom.

With Android 5.0 Google introduced manual control over shutter speed, ISO, white balance and focus to its mobile operating system, which prompted some manufacturers to split their camera apps into Auto and Pro versions. The former is most suitable for snapshot kind of users, the latter for those who prefer to optimize camera settings manually.

In the G4, LG has taken the concept a step further and offers three operating modes. 'Simple' is as basic as it gets. In this mode the app does not show any controls. Tapping on the screen will focus the image at that point and simultaneously trigger the shutter. There's no way to record video in Simple mode or access any special modes.

Auto mode is pretty close to a 'standard' camera app. There's no manual control over exposure settings but you control the flash, switch to the front camera or into panorama mode and crucially, shoot video. In the settings you can change the aspect ratio, activate HDR , set the self-timer and activate the voice command trigger. Auto is also the only mode that allows you to access the Panorama and Dual special modes.

Settings, for example white balance, are changed using a virtual slider.
If you opt for auto exposure you can still apply exposure compensation.

However, it's clearly the G4's Manual mode that will be most appealing to more serious mobile photographers. It offers a good range of control and all the information you need to capture a decent exposure. On the right edge of the screen you'll find the shutter and video buttons, on the left edge is a column of icons that allows you to change into Simple or Auto mode, control the flash, switch to the front camera, activate Raw capture or enter the settings menu. At the bottom you have another row of icons that provide manual control over white balance, focus, ISO and shutter speed. There's also a button for exposure compensation. Tap on any of those and a virtual slider opens up, allowing you to adjust your parameters. Sensitivity is adjustable from ISO 50 2700, shutter speed from 1/6000 sec to 30 sec. There is also an AE-L button for locking the exposure. 

At the top of the screen all current exposure parameters are displayed. There is also an optional histogram but it's so small that it's not of much help. Hopefully LG's engineers can make its size adjustable in a future software version. While in autofocus mode the camera focuses continually and shows the active 'focus pixels' on the screen, DSLR-style. You can also tap anywhere on the screen to focus but there is no way to lock focus. The app doesn't let you choose an exposure mode or link exposure to the focus point.  

The settings menu is pretty concise.
Thanks to fewer options the Auto mode interface looks less busy than Manual.

Overall the LG G4 camera app comes with a pleasantly simple structure that makes it easy to use. Simply select your preferred mode and you're ready to go. Manual mode offers an abundance of settings and always keeps you informed about the selected shooting parameters. There is a distinct lack of filter options and few special modes but on the upside this helps keep things simple and there are plenty of special modes and filter apps available on the Google Play store. Third-party camera apps such as Camera-FV5 are also good options if you prefer better control over exposure modes.