When the LG V40 ThinQ first appeared in late 2018, its 5-camera offering (3 rear, 2 front) raised eyebrows and expectations. The triple-cam on the rear was also the first to offer a focal range with an ultra-wide (16mm-equivalent) to 2x tele-lens. In addition to its multi-cam array, the V40 comes equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset and octa-core processor and a 6.4-inch QHD+ OLED display. Let’s take a look at how well its camera performed in our DxOMark Mobile tests.
Key camera specifications:
- Triple camera setup
- Ultra-wide: 16Mp sensor with f/1.9, 16mm-equivalent lens, no AF
- Primary: 12Mp sensor with f/1.5, 27mm-equivalent lens, OIS and dual-pixel PDAF
- Tele: 12Mp sensor with f/2.4, 52mm-equivalent lens, OIS and PDAF
- 4K video at 60fps (1080p at 30 fps at default settings)
About DxOMark Mobile tests: For scoring and analysis in our smartphone camera reviews, DxOMark engineers capture and evaluate over 1500 test images and more than 2 hours of video both in controlled lab environments and in natural indoor and outdoor scenes, using the camera’s default settings. This article is designed to highlight the most important results of our testing. For more information about the DxOMark Mobile test protocol, click here. More details on how we score smartphone cameras are available here.
LG V40 ThinQ
Achieving an overall DxOMark Mobile score of 93 points, the LG V40 ThinQ generally showed a marked improvement over the last LG device we tested, the LG G7, which appeared some six months before (in May 2018). With a Photo score of 96 points, the V40’s strongest points for stills photography are for exposure and contrast, color, and autofocus. At 87 points, its Video performance is good as well, particularly for color and detail.
Color is, in fact, one of the V40’s strongest points, with generally neutral white balance. Although the V40 sometimes renders the sky more cyan than blue, this may well be a matter of color signature rather hue shift per se. The V40’s white balance indoors is generally also neutral, though there can be a very slight yellow-greenish cast.
As for exposure and contrast, the V40 does very well in most lighting conditions, with the notable exception of backlit shots in high-contrast conditions, where it struggles a bit (as shown in the sample photos below), particularly outdoors. It also loses some detail in the background (and quite a few in the foreground, too) in indoor backlit conditions, but provides acceptable exposure on faces.
Although it’s not on par with the best in class, the LG V40 ThinQ preserves detail fairly well in outdoor conditions, and it controls noise pretty well indoors and in low light in relatively flat dynamic scenes. In high dynamic range scenes, however, chromatic noise is visible. And while the V40’s HDR in non-backlit scenes is fairly good when activated, images still exhibit noise in dark areas. (Perhaps more problematic is that the HDR doesn’t always activate.)
The V40’s flash performance is acceptable in all but the darkest conditions, but red-eye is very apparent in all flash portrait shots.
The V40’s performance for bokeh was a bit of a disappointment: despite its multiple cameras, its score is lower than that of the slightly older LG G7, largely due to mapping errors. If you look closely at the sample photo below, you can see that the model’s right ear is inappropriately blurred, and in the crop, you can see that the upper-left part his hair blends into the background. On the plus side, the V40 applies blur to the foreground as well as to the background.
The addition of a tele-lens is a welcome development. Of course, LG engineers will need to tune the feature further, particularly in terms of noise and artifact control, so as to boost the performance in subsequent models. The difference in the results is completely obvious between the LG G7 and the V40 in the closeups below; and while at first glance the V40 seems to be on par in many ways with iPhone XS Max, closer inspection reveals the V40’s over-sharpening and intrusive ringing.
While we’ve mentioned ringing and halos, the artifact that is the most detrimental to the V40’s image quality is loss of acutance in the field, as shown in the example below. In the same image you’ll also find some haloing along high-contrast edges.
As for video, the V40 puts in a good performance, particularly in terms of color and details. In fact, with the exception of noise control, it actually outperforms the Galaxy Note 8 for video overall. This said, however, it shows some instabilities in autofocus, and target exposure is sometimes low in outdoor footage. Further, as the graph below shows, while the V40 has a brief moment of glory a little above 5 lux, when it handles temporal noise a bit better than the competition, it loses that edge as light increases.
Finally, the stabilization system wasn’t quite capable of eliminating all camera motion when panning or filming when walking, resulting in some shakiness of the recorded footage; but overall, all but the most demanding videographers will be satisfied with the V40’s video performance.
With scores on par with the Galaxy Note 8, which came out in 2017, the LG V40 ThinQ marks a significant improvement over the G7 in most areas. Although it cannot yet compete with recent high-end models, the addition of its first-ever zoom shows that it’s clearly on an upward track. We are looking forward to seeing further improvements in the recently-released LG G8, which we plan to test in the very near future.
- Target exposure is accurate in indoor conditions.
- Colors are generally vivid and pleasant in all conditions.
- Noise is well-controlled in scenes with limited dynamic range.
- Details are well-rendered in outdoor conditions.
- Zoom: decent detail-noise tradeoff in outdoor and indoor conditions.
- Autofocus is fast.
- Accurate target exposure in indoor and lowlight.
- Colors are vivid and pleasant.
- Details are well-preserved in indoor conditions.