LG G8 ThinQ Review: An Affordable, Capable Flagship Smartphone

LG G8 ThinQ: Camera Tricks & Image Quality

For many smartphone users, the camera experience is the most critical part of a phone to get right. Users tend to have high expectations for camera clarity, low light performance, and advanced processing effects. At some point, the physics of light limits what smartphone cameras are capable of, but that does not stop manufacturers from employing other software tricks to enhance the experience.

lg g8 thinq rear closeup

Before we get into the often-subjective image quality debate, we will cover the LG G8 ThinQ's unique camera features. Like any other flagship smartphone, the G8 ThinQ has standard automatic shooting, panorama and photo sphere stitching, slow motion, and portrait modes. It also rolls a few other unique tricks into its camera app.

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The headlining feature is LG's AI CAM. The AI CAM processes whatever the camera is pointed at to identify the kind of subject being shot. It can identify people, animals, food & drinks, flowers, and more. The G8 ThinQ then automatically optimizes the capture settings and processing to provide what it detects are optimal results.

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Food shots tend to be a bit brighter with evened-out lighting to look more appetizing, while a photo of a flower may process with additional contrast for vivid colors.

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The AI CAM can also suggest a "smart crop" which automatically adjusts your photo to provide a more pleasing composition automatically. Many will prefer to crop their photos themselves, but the feature is useful for quick posts to social media or users who are less, umm, artistically gifted. It does not always kick in, but it does always provide a choice to use its suggestion if it does.

lg g8 thinq ss studio light

The G8 ThinQ's camera app also provides a Studio lighting option. With sufficient ambient lighting, this feature lets users artificially mimic different methods of studio lighting to enhance their portraits and selfies. It can mimic a spotlight or softbox, enhance contours, or automatically clip out the background. The end result does not beat a true studio setup, but is never-the-less impressive for on-device processing.

lg g8 thinq ss camera modes

The camera app also provides a number of other small but still useful features. Users can capture Cinemagraphs using the Cine shot option. Cinemagraphs are mostly-still images with a region of repeating motion such as water flowing or a flag waving in the breeze. The G8 ThinQ also has a built in timelapse mode with options to playback at 10x, 15x, 30x, or 60x realtime.

LG G8 ThinQ Camera Performance And Image Gallery

For our image quality tests, we pitted the G8 ThinQ up against the tried-and-true Google Pixel 3. For these comparison shots, we used the AI CAM option of the G8 ThinQ, unless otherwise noted, and kept the Pixel on Auto.

lg g8 thinq stevens hall
LG G8 ThinQ

google pixel 3 stevens hall
Google Pixel 3

In this straightforward full sunlight shot, the two phones create very comparable images. There is a little more contrast in the Pixel's rendition, but either is perfectly passable.

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LG G8 ThinQ

google pixel 3 fogler library
Google Pixel 3

With our subject in shadows, the LG's AI CAM is able to bring up the shadows automatically for a more pleasing exposure. The Pixel's photo is truer to the scene, but it also picked up some glare from the sun. This also shows us the G8 ThinQ's field of view is slightly wider than the Pixel's, not that it should matter much.

lg g8 thinq coffee auto
LG G8 ThinQ

google pixel 3 coffee
Google Pixel 3

In this shot of a cappuccino, the Pixel again creates the more true to life image. However, the G8 ThinQ's AI CAM correctly identifies it as a beverage and brings up the lighting for a brighter result. You decide which you like best here. 

lg g8 thinq staircase
LG G8 ThinQ

google pixel 3 staircase
Google Pixel 3

In this shot, the G8 ThinQ attempted to compensate for a relatively broad dynamic range, but the resulting photo lacks contrast. Contrast can be added in post easily enough, but the Pixel seems to get it right straight out of camera.

lg g8 thinq tree standard

lg g8 thinq tree wide

This final pairing pits the G8 ThinQ's own cameras against each other. Sometimes space is cramped and the wide angle lens can help make the most of a tough situation. While the wide angle camera has a higher megapixel count (16MP vs 12MP), its distortion is evident in the corners and fine details are not resolved as well. We would advise not using it unless necessary, but if it means getting the shot, then it is far better to have it than not.

We will now see how the rest of the LG G8 ThinQ performs in our suite of benchmarks...

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