Wednesday, May 20, 2015

At the End of the Rainbow: More LG G4 Sample Photos

Sample image from the new LG G4, captured in RAW (DNG format) and converted to JPG
LG G4 in Panorama mode
The rain and rainbows at Topaz Lake last night kept coming and going, so you had to move fast to catch them.  The rainbow arrived just as I was pulling steaks off of the grill, so in between bites of dinner I was in and out of the house with various cameras as the rainbows came and went.

When it reached more or less complete double rainbow stage, they spanned the California / Nevada border, so both states had a pot of gold waiting.  The rainbow was too tall to catch in a single photo so I put the LG G4 phone I'm evaluating into panorama mode to capture a wider field of view both vertically and horizontally.  Most of the time I was out with that as my camera for convenience, as it was easier to shield from the rain.

As the sun set, the sunlight moved higher and the rainbow lifted off the water of the lake.  For a brief while the small patch of remaining spectral color added extra bands of purple and green, a rare "supernumerary" rainbow!

As the patch of light became smaller and smaller, I pulled out a Canon 5D Mark III with 70 - 200mm lens to get high resolution at high zoom.  There's still a solid place for the extra pounds and dollars of equipment for some applications, even as smartphone cameras rise in capability and the DSLR niche in the camera market becomes a smaller piece of a much larger whole.

LG G4 in HDR mode
I find that I don't take fewer DSLR photos as mobile phones get better, I just take more photos overall as mobile phones provide immediate "in your pocket" convenience, connectivity to social media, panorama capability, solid close-up performance without switching lenses, and access to a massive app ecosystem.  I also have to admit to liking the convenience of never having to clean dust spots off of the images from a mobile phone camera.  DLSR manufacturers should be looking at all of this, including cultivating an app ecosystem both on the control/exposure side and on the editing/filter/post-processing side.  Until they get there, my phone will take the photo more and more often, no matter how much I love my DSLRs.

LG G4 in HDR mode
The image at the top above was captured in RAW format on the LG G4.  Shooting in RAW also results in a JPG version being saved as well, so you can use the image immediately in that format.  The RAW file was 19,559 MB, the JPG was 6,820 MB, so you can get a sense of how much more the RAW file gives you to work with if you might want to do a fair amount of adjustment later.

But the advantages of RAW go beyond color/information depth.  You have more control over how much JPG compression is applied, sharpening, noise reduction, and other things which affect the resulting quality.  You can see that inspecting the high resolution samples I provided with a blog post a couple of days ago (they should expand as you click on them, although I haven't tested that in various browsers):

New LG G4 Smartphone Review: Raw File Output!

The difference isn't great for most uses and print sizes, but if you're in a stunning moment and might want to blow the result up really large, RAW is the way to go.

Disclosure: I should mention that the LG G4 was supplied to me as part of the effort to raise awareness of the #G4Preview Tour underway via +T Mobile vans across the United States this month.  The phone couldn't have come at a better time for me, since I've been wanting a larger format phone for some time (especially one with manual camera control and RAW output), but I've been locked into a 2-year upgrade cycle, which doesn't come up for renewal until November.  My commitment to mention the tour was met a couple of days ago, but in the interest of full disclosure I'll mention that the phone was supplied to me for a while longer, until it's clear (and bordering on rudely tedious) on my various social media accounts.