|LG G4 RAW capture, manual exposure, unadjusted, cropped to 2047 x 2047, saved at 90% JPG quality, Adobe Lightroom 5.7.|
Next let's look at a copy edited in +Adobe Photoshop Lightroom mobile on +Android:
|Image adjusted in Adobe Lightroom mobile app, color, contrast, etc, vignette applied.|
Now I'll upload the original RAW file here, saved to JPG (80% quality) so it will display:
|The unadjusted RAW file was 20 MB, then saved to JPG 80% resolution it's now 6.56MB|
|8x zoom from 4" away! (JPG file created by the LG G4 alongside the RAW image with wider field of view)|
What's interesting about this 8X zoom shot is that the file still saves at 5312 x 2988. If you click on the zoomed JPG, it isn't noticeably jagged with blocks of pixels duplicated many times to the higher resolution.
|Zooming in on the JPG file saved by the LG G4|
|Zooming in on my 80% quality JPG save of original RAW file to see actual pixel size.|
But we're still not looking at the original RAW data... how much did my decision to save at only 80% JPG quality affect the output? Let's look at the file still in Lightroom, since it should be able to represent the original DNG RAW colors using the full color pallette of the display card. Here's a screen shot of that:
|Now the RAW file adjusted, this is as far as Lightroom would let me zoom on my 1920 x 1080 display.|
|This screen shot of the adjusted RAW file, as it appears in Lightroom above, was effectively converted to JPG in Windows|
|RAW file cropped to 601 x 601 pixels, saved at 100% quality JPG, inserted into blog at 600 pixels|
Let's repost that unadjusted 8X zoom RAW file that the LG G4 saved again here, for a fairly direct comparison:
|That 8X zoom file the LG G4 saved alongside the wider view RAW file.|
If you're on the run and need to post a quick preview, many reviews confirm that the camera on the LG G4 will produce JPG files comparable with other top phone cameras. But such reviews of straight-out-of-camera results clearly fail to fully show the full strength of the LG G4 camera, and its ability to produce stunning results, edited either in a mobile app (second from the top above) or in traditional desktop editing software (below).
|Adjusted in desktop version of Lightroom (5.7), brightness, contrast, etc, less vignette applied than in mobile version|
I had been provided with the LG G4 to preview it prior to its public release, but now I have to make a personal decision on which phone to use going forward. I find that it's what I reach for 90% of the time for general image quality anyway (including low light performance, excellent image stabilization and good quality quick JPG HDRs).
Upon further inspection, the ability to select manual exposure and produce RAW output isn't just an incremental feature, it opens up a while new category of mobile phone camera. Consider what third party apps can do with that... using exposures up to 30 seconds, producing higher quality results from multiple exposures and HDR or other exposure blending performed in post-processing software. The applications will span the full range of what app developers can dream up. This starts to achieve the promise of putting mobile phones in direct competition with digital cameras and even DSLRs. While lens selection and aperture choices will continue to give DSLRs the edge for many specialized and professional applications, the expanding options and improving image quality from smartphones will continue to expand their appeal as the camera most likely to be quickest into your hand as shooting opportunities arise.