Our industry-standard tests evaluate performance and image quality across a range of categories, including exposure, color, autofocus, and others. Scoring consistently well in all photo categories, the G5 is a solid and reliable smartphone for photography enthusiasts. Its best scores were achieved for exposure and contrast, thanks to its well-balanced and pleasant target exposures, which produce excellent results in both outdoor and low-light conditions.
Autofocus was also a strong point for stills, thanks to its fast and accurate performance, together with face detection and stabilization features. The G5’s 16Mp sensor, wide-angle lens, HDR mode, and geo-tagging capabilities also commend it to photographers interested in landscape, architecture, and street photography. What’s more, the high-resolution chip captures excellent levels of texture and detail, which will be appreciated by photographers interested in recording intricate and complex scenes with low levels of noise and good edge preservation.
For videographers, the G5 boasts a 2160p/30fps Ultra HD resolution module to meet the demand for watching mobile videos on larger high-resolution screens. Category scores for video vary a little more than for stills, and it’s fair to say that the G5 captures its best motion pictures in bright-light conditions, where the video stabilization is at its most effective. Video exposure is a strong point, however, achieving the best score in our video tests, and video autofocus remains fast in all conditions.
Attractive, well-balanced outdoor exposures with strong color
Shooting outdoors and in bright light, the LG G5 delivers many well-balanced exposures which feature good contrast and wide dynamic range, and which have an attractive overall feel. We did observe a few exposure failures, but generally these were limited to very high-contrast scenes, where details in the darker areas started to block out. This often resulted in a slightly under-exposed image overall, but with good detail recorded in the brighter regions, such as the sky. (A bit of post-production lightening up of the shadows is all that’s needed in these cases.)
White balance is generally accurate when shooting outdoors, too, and on good target exposures, the G5 renders strong and bold color. A slightly cool or blue colorcast was observed in some outdoor images shot in shady conditions, but it wasn’t offensive and is easily corrected with a photo filter. In bright-light conditions, noise is well-controlled, with only a fine luminance noise visible in areas of uniform color. It’s very mild in nature, however, and is really noticeable only when viewing images at 100%.
We observed slightly more problematic chromatic noise in the darker areas of some high-contrast scenes, which is likely to be caused by the G5’s HDR processing algorithm lighting the shadows. Edge preservation is excellent in bright light, with well-defined contrast edges that show only very minor signs of chromatic aberration or halo effects.
Excellent brightness and good detail in low light
The LG G5 produces excellent exposures in low-light conditions, with good brightness and bold color. Using a light source between 10 and 500 lux, image brightness is very good, and although results at 5 lux are a little on the dark side, the exposures are still exploitable and color saturation remains strong. Shooting handheld in very low light requires excellent handling technique, or ideally some camera support, however, due to the slow 1/9 second exposure time that the G5 employs under 5, 10 and 20 lux lighting conditions. At 100 and 500 lux, the faster 1/30 second exposure time, together with the G5’s wide-angle lens and therefore minimal magnification, allows for more easily achieved handheld shots in these brighter conditions.
On the whole, noise and texture results are excellent in low light, too, with good detail preservation and only a fine luminance noise visible in many shots. Noise and texture can be a little inconsistent in low light, however, with variable results observed on consecutive 20 lux exposures. Interestingly, more noise and loss of detail was observed on 100 lux exposures compared to 20 lux, which is probably due to slightly more aggressive lighting by the G5’s image processing engine (required by the faster shutter speed for 100 lux exposures).
Details: Explaining the scores
Exposure and Contrast (90)
One of the best category scores — up there with some of the best we’ve tested, the LG G5 delivers great exposures, scoring 90 in both bright and low light. It’s not perfect, with some HDR failures in very high-contrast situations, but good target exposures produce well-balanced results, with pleasing tones and contrast in many situations.
Scoring 84, color was one of the lower category scores, but it’s still a strong result. Bolder and more vivid color is achieved in bright light, but the overall result was reduced by a low-light score of 81, which is still very respectable in these conditions.
White balance adaptation scored highly in the perceptual analysis, and aside from the odd cool colorcast recorded in shady outdoor scenes, accurate white balance was recorded in most situations, including outdoors, indoors, and low-light conditions.
Texture (90) and Noise (86)
An overall texture score of 90 is composed of a very high bright light result of 96 and lower, as well as a very good score of 86 in low light. We were impressed with the G5’s excellent edge and details preservation in complex and detail areas.
Noise is well-controlled in both lighting conditions too. Noise usually only appears as a very fine and inoffensive luminance noise, which is often barely visible in more detailed areas of the picture. We did observe more prevalent chromatic noise in outdoor HDR images, however, which is something to watch out for.
At 94, autofocus achieves the best overall category score thanks to its fast and accurate performance. There’s a good range of autofocus features, too, including Continuous AF in preview mode, Auto Scene Detection, and Face Detection. Some minor autofocus judder in preview mode is visible. Overall, autofocus is excellent on the G5.
Artifacts are the G5’s lowest overall category score at 83/100. While we observed some issues such as minor ringing, non-uniform sharpness, as well as some halo and fringing, in most cases they didn’t detract from the overall quality of the image.
Flash is well-centered and suffers only minimal light shading in the corners with flash-only results. With no additional light sources, the flash delivers good detail with accurate color and white balance, despite some visible chromatic noise.
Mixing flash with additional tungsten light sources, white balance and color remain pleasant, as does the overall exposure; but again, chromatic noise and some color shading are evident. Consecutive shots with flash yielded some inconsistent results, with less light and a more underexposed image on second and third shots.
For outdoor movies, the LG G5’s video module delivers nice overall exposures with accurate white balance and excellent texture preservation for rich and detailed motion pictures.
Stabilization is also good in bright light, accurately correcting moderate walking motion, and with only a slight judder effect noticeable on panning videos. Noise reduction is handled well in outdoor videos, too, and although more luminance noise is visible in some specific colors, overall movies are fairly clean, which is good considering the high level of detail recorded.
Indoor movies are a slightly different story, however, as they tend to suffer from a little overexposure, white balance inconsistencies, and a loss of fine detail. The stabilizer isn’t as effective in indoor and low light either, with some high-frequency motions and frame shifts disturbing the video viewing experience. Video autofocus is very fast in all conditions, though, and features both face detection and zoom correction to help improve your results. We observed some autofocus inaccuracies, mainly in low light, where some oscillations are evident at the infinity position, but on the whole the G5 offers a pleasant focusing experience when shooting movies.
- Good target exposure and wide dynamic range.
- Good detail preservation in low-light conditions.
- Fast and accurate autofocus.
- Fine luminance noise in all conditions.
- Good detail preservation and accurate white balance with flash.
- Generally accurate white balance in all conditions.
- Good exposure.
- Fast autofocus in all conditions.
- Good detail preservation in bright light.
- Good stabilization in bright light.
- Slight color shading visible in low-light conditions.
- An occasional blue cast in outdoor pictures.
- Chromatic noise visible in bright light HDR exposures.
- Loss of detail in low-light conditions.
- Ringing visible in all conditions.
- Luminance noise and chromatic noise visible in low-light conditions.
- White balance not stable in low-light conditions.
- High frequency motions and frame shifts visible in low light.
- Slight autofocus overshoots and oscillations visible at infinity position.
- Loss of detail noticeable in low light.