09-09-2017 11:30 PM
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  1. LeoRex's Avatar
    pardon the long, nerdy geeked out mobile digital photography upchuck post. Your eyes may gloss over two sentences in, but I love this stuff. Yes, I know I am being nit picky... but

    A developer recently modified the Google Camera to allow it to work on most any phone that was powered by the SD820 or newer (as they had the necessary ISP chip to handle things). Well, the G6 was on that list. Now, some of you may know that I don't exactly have the highest opinion of the G6's camera. LG's processing cooks pictures far too heavily and leaves them looking fake... that, combined with the fact that the small sensor requires substantially longer exposure times, well...

    The Google Camera is about as bare bones as you can find for a camera; not a lot of modes, not a lot of adjustments, just the basics... but... it also has, by far, the mobile industry's best image processing system in HDR+.

    Quick tech lesson. HDR+ is a vastly different mode than the HDR that you see on other cameras. It takes a drastically different approach to image processing and draws in elements of astrophotography where information taken from the image itself is paramount. It also results in images that are less artificially processed and have more depth and look more real.

    I skipped a lot ... I can explain more to anyone that wishes to learn.

    OK...back to the topic... Someone opened up the Google Camera and tweaked it so that it will run on phones outside the Pixel and Nexus lines. I immediately downloaded it and installed it. Now, it's buggy and some of the functions will crash (dev has issued a few updates since) and others (wide angle camera) don't even exist it in, but I wanted to use it as an exercise to see how many of my gripes are with LG's hardware (the camera sensors are far too small for today's market, IMHO) or with their software.

    Now, here is an example of the different between how the Google Camera (via HDR+) processes an image versus LG's own method. Shots in bright sunlight, similar exposure and ISO values. This is a small crop, blown up 200% so as to make the processing artifacts more clear. The left is from LG's stock camera app in auto mode with HDR. The right is the Google Camera with HDR+

    Has anyone tried out the modified Google Camera (w HDR+) on their G6 yet?-sidebyside.jpg

    The difference in how heavily processed the image is here is pretty clear. LG overshoots the sharpening leading to a lot of halos... you can see those on the blue umbrella on the right ide of each image... the white trim and cap have distinct black borders. When zoomed back out, this oversharpening gives the appearance of a clearer picture, but its processing playing tricks on you. Now on to the other side of the processing coin; noise reduction. Again focus on the blue umbrella. Notice how the subtle creasing is nearly gone on the left pane, how the sand has lost nearly all of the shading details... and lastly, our poor little skyrat... sorry.. .seagull... is processed within an inch of its life. Photo quality is often subjective, but it's clear, at least to me, that the crop on the right looks like a photograph and the one on the left like a digital representation of one.

    OK.. Next example. My trusty photo test rig, with my boy Beak helping me out. The left is the stock LG camera (HDR was not triggered - I forced HDR on a second pic but there was zero difference in output), 1/40 @ ISO85. Left is the Google Camera (HDR+ is enabled, as it will be for any static image in auto mode) 1/120s @ ISO 376

    Has anyone tried out the modified Google Camera (w HDR+) on their G6 yet?-sidebyside-2.jpg

    With regards to the brightness (which I did not alter), one would think that the LG camera, exposed three times longer, should be brighter. But processing makes all the difference... The Google Camera rebuilds the image from information in the the set, so it can increase brightness without artificial processing.

    OK... Now, objectively, the LG image on the left is sharper with less noise. But that comes at a cost (I think). You can see substantial halos on the text that creates weird highlighting. Second, it could not distinguish between noise and the texture of the paper, so it choose poorly and removed it. And nearly lots detail in the hair is lost on the left. As for color, while hard to judge since my monitor is not calibrated, the Google image is pretty spot on.

    I have more examples, which I might throw in subsequent replies here if anyone cares to look or discuss. But in conclusion, the one thing I took away from is that LG is doing a really crap job in post processing. Granted, short of getting Google to let them use HDR+, they aren't going to be able to replicate it fully.. but it's clear that the actual hardware, while still limited, is capable of far better quality pictures than what we currently have. Keep in mind that the Google Camera app has been optimized to a particular set up hardware (Nexus and Pixel line), so there has been zero fine tuning for the G6, the dev only tweaked it so it would run....
    08-18-2017 01:07 PM
  2. benjamminh's Avatar
    I don't have a G6 but thanks for the comparison shots. I'm interested how it compares with different phone models.
    08-18-2017 03:16 PM
  3. Fred98TJ's Avatar
    Also ,uhh the want to check out the new HDR mode in LR Mobiles camera. It's free.
    Download Lightroom Mobile. Open and choose the camera and change th mode from Auto to HDR.
    08-18-2017 06:47 PM
  4. Fred98TJ's Avatar
    And of course one could simply shoot raw with any of the camera apps that provide it.
    Also tiff if any of the camera apps provide that.
    08-18-2017 06:49 PM
  5. Fred98TJ's Avatar
    Processing on the G6 is certainly not at the top of the list.
    08-18-2017 06:50 PM
  6. LeoRex's Avatar
    And of course one could simply shoot raw with any of the camera apps that provide it.
    Also tiff if any of the camera apps provide that.
    That might be ok for a pic here or there, but dealing with a large set from something like a vacation, it becomes time-prohibitive. With all the manual mode and lossless formats, it's auto modes that do the heavy lifting for most.
    08-18-2017 09:42 PM
  7. beagle82's Avatar
    Yup, I've been playing with the modified Gcam this week, but get mixed results. My low light pictures have a very blue tint to them when compared to the LG app. I'm still undecided. One thing for sure, is that the Gcam definitely has more saturated (maybe more accurate) colours.
    The other issue is that the Gcam takes 2secs to take a shot sometimes. Aside from the occasional crashes, it seems to work ok. Which version are you using @LeoRex.
    08-18-2017 11:54 PM
  8. Fret Madden's Avatar
    From what I'm observing it's the HDR processing that has an issue. Photos shot with HDR completely disabled are pretty much identical, and it may be that because I'm very much not a professional that I can get better photos with the LG camera in manual mode than I can with Gcam. Yet no matter with which I'm shooting I still wind up with photos looking like an oil painting when zoomed in.

    I recall a thread wherein someone mentioned photos turned out better without HDR/HDR+ and I'm finding that to be the case. Again, not a professional photographer.
    08-19-2017 02:13 AM
  9. beagle82's Avatar
    I have found that I get pretty good photos I'm manual mode. I leave white Balance and focus on auto and switch off AE-L. I have also toggled noise reduction in settings. This seems to work ok for me in most situations.

    It's also strange that using HDR+ on the Gcam, the pictures come out alot darker. Adjusting the brightness manually helps, but I still have the issue of the images seeming cold and blue.
    08-19-2017 05:01 AM
  10. Ian Bower's Avatar
    Can't see me using it to be honest.. Too slows and the results aren't that much better if at all, manual mode beats most cameras for me, so normally stick with that.
    08-19-2017 02:41 PM
  11. LeoRex's Avatar
    Yeah, it's too buggy to rely on for every day usage and not at all optimized for the camera hardware. But HDR+ is proprietary, so it's not like LG will ever be able to use it in their stuff. Shame... The processing on the stock camera on this phone is horrid.
    08-19-2017 02:45 PM
  12. Soundtallica's Avatar
    For me, the Pixel camera does enough for me to keep it on my phone but isn't perfect. It gives me images with drastically improved dynamic range and more natural processing, but also are less sharp and with more noise (not always a bad thing) at times. It's also very slow on the G6, and you can't record 4k video.

    If I need a quick shot, manual mode, or want to use the wide lens I'll reach for the stock camera. For everything else I'll use the Pixel camera for more punchy and natural looking pictures.
    08-19-2017 03:01 PM
  13. shadavis08's Avatar
    I downloaded Google camera on my v20 but deleted it when I realized it wouldn't save to my SD card.
    08-19-2017 05:38 PM
  14. LeoRex's Avatar
    I downloaded Google camera on my v20 but deleted it when I realized it wouldn't save to my SD card.
    Yep, Nexus/Pixel never had one, no need to include support.
    Aquila likes this.
    08-21-2017 07:57 AM
  15. dkking's Avatar
    I downloaded Google camera on my v20 but deleted it when I realized it wouldn't save to my SD card.
    I was just thinking if there is some tasker code that can be done to automate moving pictures from internal storage to sd card automatically like every day or once a week? that would be awesome with the camera, right now i just do it manually from gallery
    08-22-2017 03:45 AM
  16. Jazzamuffin's Avatar
    I like the G6 better! Plus it takes bigger pics. I always liked the quality.
    08-23-2017 11:31 AM
  17. shadavis08's Avatar
    Why I don't know but Sammy HDR+ photo look better. A friend tested on his v20 Samsung hdr+ Google hdr+ lgv20 hdr+ and light. ....something hdr+ and the best looking for what it's worth looked to be Samsung they were warm but crisp photos.
    08-24-2017 04:31 AM
  18. Jeremiah Bonds's Avatar
    I used it a lot on my vacation once it was released.. It's actually very good for night shots.
    pkguy323 likes this.
    08-24-2017 04:47 PM
  19. LeoRex's Avatar
    I used it a lot on my vacation once it was released.. It's actually very good for night shots.
    Well, the methods HDR+ uses were borrowed from astronomy... where telescopes were being pushed to their optical limits with very little light.
    08-24-2017 10:25 PM
  20. Ldshark's Avatar
    I have downloaded and used it must say I do notice a difference all be it not that much of difference in quality of pictures.
    08-25-2017 01:06 AM
  21. HBLEY's Avatar
    Is Samsung camera better than LG?

    latest ones, S8 and G6
    08-25-2017 01:51 AM
  22. LeoRex's Avatar
    Is Samsung camera better than LG?

    latest ones, S8 and G6
    I'd say yes. I know that the S7's camera was certainly better than the G6's. The S8's, based on the comments of people who I trust in such matters, is an improvement over the S7, if ever so slight. So ergo, S8 > G6. From what I'vhe picture quality on the G6's main camera isn't really any different than the G4.. looking back over pictures (I've owned both), the two phones are nearly indistinguishable... both seem to use the same long exposures and take equally heavily processed pictures. And anecdotally, my wife never complained about the picture quality of the S7 Edge she owned, nor has she made a single peep since she started to use my 6P. The G6? She registered complaints near daily.

    In terms of straight up picture quality... ignoring camera app features, etc... the 6P is better than either the S7 or the G6 (or G4 for that matter). I haven't been able to take any pics with the S8 to form an opinion there. But I will say that the S7 was much closer in quality to the 6P than the G6 is.

    But this is a different topic. This is just a place for people checking out the Google Camera port (the GC has been a Nexus/Pixel exclusive app for a long time now) to see HDR+'s processing methods effect on the G6's picture quality.
    HBLEY likes this.
    08-25-2017 08:52 AM
  23. Ian Bower's Avatar
    Wow.. My sons' 6p takes very average pictures, and I had a S7 edge prior to the G6, as G4 prior to that. Much prefer the G6, and comparing pictures taken with the s7 on my phone with current ones there is a clear winner. I've done random picture fights with a colleagues S8, and so far the G6 is winning each one so far, even the S8 owner thinks so too!!
    08-25-2017 03:23 PM
  24. Jeremiah Bonds's Avatar
    Wow.. My sons' 6p takes very average pictures, and I had a S7 edge prior to the G6, as G4 prior to that. Much prefer the G6, and comparing pictures taken with the s7 on my phone with current ones there is a clear winner. I've done random picture fights with a colleagues S8, and so far the G6 is winning each one so far, even the S8 owner thinks so too!!
    Yep, I've had so many people come to me and tell me they prefer the images I get on my G6 rather than the other "hot devices" that are out.
    08-25-2017 04:04 PM
  25. Jeremiah Bonds's Avatar
    Here's a night time shot with HDR+
    shaimere and Law2138 like this.
    08-25-2017 04:05 PM
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