Image Quality & Performance

While some 2017 flagship smartphones have already been released with the new Snapdragon 835 chipset, the G6 still has to make do with last year's 821. That said, most users won't notice any difference in normal use and with its 4GB of RAM the LG felt very responsive during our testing.

Camera startup time allows for quick reaction to any unexpected photo opportunities and we found the AF to be quick and generally reliable. As usual, it slows down a little in lower light and we had a handful of out-of-focus images in our almost 1000 sample shots but that's all well within the norm.

Daylight, Low ISO

The G6 lens is very sharp across the frame, and in bright light and at base ISO images show good detail and textures. This is due to a combination of comparatively weak noise reduction and very strong sharpening. On the downside, hard edges will occasionally show noticeable sharpening artifacts and luminance noise is very visible in areas of plain color, such as blue skies, and mid-tone areas.

Exposure tends to be spot-on and colors are vibrant with reliable white balance in natural light. Like most smartphones the G6 has a tendency to clip highlights in bright scenes but overall the camera deals well with high-contrast situations. This is further helped by the fact that in Auto mode the G6 camera automatically activates HDR mode when necessary. There is no noticeable delay and the mode does not sacrifice any sharpness or detail. Usually the mode does a very good job at balancing exposure, and only occasionally can the HDR effect be a little too strong – portraits especially can lead to slightly unnatural looking results.

The sample below shows good detail but at a 100% view some areas look a little over-processed and the shadow areas are quite grainy.

ISO 50, 1/941 sec

In high contrast scenes like the one below, the default HDR mode usually does a very good job at balancing the exposure.

ISO 50, 1/2160 sec, HDR

As on most smartphones colors tend to be vibrant and punchy. In outdoor scenes auto white balance usually does a very good job.

ISO 50, 1/33 sec

HDR did not engage for the high-contrast scene below. Still, the exposure is well balanced and the camera captures natural skin tones.

ISO 50, 1/226 sec

In bright blue skies, like in the sample below, luminance noise is definitely visible, even at smaller image sizes.

ISO 50, 1/2022 sec

Low light, high ISO

The G6 main camera performs remarkably well in low-light situations. Good edge detail is maintained across the ISO range and even images captured at very low light levels still show decent fine detail and textures. Luminance noise first becomes more visible as the light gets dimmer but from ISO 400 upwards noise reduction kicks in, producing cleaner but slightly softer images. Chroma noise is very well controlled in all situations.

ISO 200, 1/24 sec

The ISO 400 image below doesn't show the same fine detail as the sample above but is cleaner than the lower ISO exposures.

ISO 400, 1/25 sec

For the night scene below the camera can keep ISO down to 700, resulting in decent textures and detail and low noise levels at the same time.

ISO 700, 1/17 sec

The sample below was shot in very dim conditions. It appears the G6 is using a multi-frame night mode in those situations and the results are quite impressive. As you would expect, there is some noise and softness in the image, but overall both edge and edge detail are very good and noise is finely grained.

No ISO reported, 1/9 sec

Flash

Like most smartphone flashes, the LG G6's dual-LED variant gets to its limits pretty quickly. But as long as you're not more than a few feet away from your subjects, it does its job as an emergency illumination tool quite well. Its major downside is a strong tendency to generate a red-eye effect.

ISO 250, 1/25 sec