LG promises to set new standards in low-light smartphone photography with flagship V30
The LG V30 flagship smartphone isn't expected until the end of the month, but LG is getting its promotion in early. The company says the handset's camera will feature the smallest aperture ever seen on a phone – an f/1.6 lens – setting new standards for low-light photography.
The aperture size on any digital camera, smartphone-based or not, dictates the amount of light the lens lets in, so the bigger the aperture the more light in your picture and (in theory) the better the end result, though it's far from the only contributing factor.
Aperture is measured in f-numbers, and the lower the f-stop number, the bigger the aperture. The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ have an aperture of f/1.7, the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus have an aperture of f/1.8, while the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL offer an aperture of f/2.0.
The LG V30 then, the follow-up to last year's LG V20, will set a new high bar in terms of aperture size (or low bar in terms of f-stops). LG says the f/1.6 lens, one of two in the dual-camera setup on the phone, lets in 25 percent more light than an f/1.8 lens. What's more, it's adding what it calls a "Crystal Clear Lens" as an upgrade over the traditional plastic to improve the light-collecting abilities even further.
In addition, LG says it has managed to cut down on some of the distortion around the edges of wide angle or "fisheye" shots, one of the bonuses you get when your phone camera packs two lenses rather than one. It sounds like the f/1.6 aperture applies to just one of the two lenses, however.
As we mentioned above, photo quality on a smartphone is about a lot more than aperture size, important though it is – we'll have to take a look at how well the camera captures color, reduces noise, stabilizes shots, and so on before reaching a conclusion. Still, it's clear that LG is prioritizing photo performance this time around. We're expecting to see the LG V30 launched on August 31 at the IFA expo in Berlin.
But hasn't LG already launched a flagship this year, the LG G6? Indeed it has, but the LG V30 (like the V20 and V10 that came before it) is going to be positioned as a bigger, slightly more expensive option with extra bells and whistles. It's likely to be a US exclusive too, but we'll have to wait and see on that.
LG hasn't released any more concrete information about the LG V30, but if the rumor mill is to be believed, the phone will also feature a Snapdragon 835 processor, a curved 6-inch screen with an 18:9 aspect ratio and 2,880 x 1,440 pixel resolution, and probably some upgraded audio goodness to go with its camera improvements.