Camera Shootout: Nexus 6P vs LG V10

Can the Nexus finally keep up with flagships?

It’s a pretty well known thing among Android enthusiasts that Nexus phones have historically lacked in the camera department. There was some hope when the Nexus 6 debuted. But while the camera quality was significantly improved, it still couldn’t keep up with flagships at the same price range.

Fortunately, Google had that in mind when directing its latest top-end phone, the Huawei-manufactured Nexus 6P. Its Sony IMX377 12.3MP module has proven worthy in the real world. Google also didn’t leave out the consideration for low-light performance, bumping up the pixel size to a considerable 1.55µm.

But I was curious if even still, could it finally keep up with the best in smartphone cameras? I had an LG V10 on-hand, which no doubt is among the top, so I went to work at grabbing comparable samples.

Before we get started, I must mention that lens angles between these two differ quite a bit. The 6P has a much larger angle (capturing more in the shot). I tried my best to get the images lined up as close as possible. The Nexus 6P’s native 12.3MP resolution is at a 4:3 aspect ratio. The V10’s native ratio is 16:9 with 16MP, but conveniently, when I drop it to 4:3, the capture resolution is 12MP. Additionally, I took the shots with Auto mode (and auto HDR).

Let’s see how they compare!

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Town

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LG V10
LG V10

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Nexus 6P
Nexus 6P

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LG V10
LG V10

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Nexus 6P
Nexus 6P

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LG V10
LG V10

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Nexus 6P
Nexus 6P

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I would say that a trend we’re seeing is that the 6P has better contrast. In comparison, the V10 looks slightly washed-out. But on the flip-side, dark areas can be a bit too dark with the 6P (most noticeable on the second set of images), so it may not be the best with dynamic range.

Regarding the last set, I personally prefer the 6P’s result. The colors on the tulips and background look deeper.

Indoor

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LG V10
LG V10

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Nexus 6P
Nexus 6P

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LG V10
LG V10

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Nexus 6P
Nexus 6P

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LG V10
LG V10

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Nexus 6P
Nexus 6P

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These are some interesting results. The 6P couldn’t manage to focus well in the first set (I had a couple shots with the same result). On that note, I have noticed in general that the 6P’s focusing can be hit or miss. That may be a camera software thing, because I notice that the 6P focuses on one center area while the V10 freely picks multiple points.

The last set is pretty telling, about the 6P’s low-light performance. To me, the colors are all-around better on the 6P shot. The V10’s image looks washed-out.

Foliage

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LG V10
LG V10

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Nexus 6P
Nexus 6P

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LG V10
LG V10

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Nexus 6P
Nexus 6P

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LG V10
LG V10

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Nexus 6P
Nexus 6P

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LG V10
LG V10

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Nexus 6P
Nexus 6P

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On the first set, we see that slight dynamic range issue with the 6P. My dog, Ian, helped out with the next set, on a bright day at the dog park. The images are pretty comparable to my eyes. The 6P does have a deeper tone to some elements, which is a trend we’ve been seeing.

I included the last set for a micro shot comparison. The qualities are comparable, I just think it’s interesting how they choose different focal points. The 6P focuses dead center while the V10 grabbed the stem. That’s something I’ve noticed with my V10 use, that the point the focusing algorithm picks isn’t always ideal.

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Thoughts

I would say that the Nexus camera is just about there. In some ways, I preferred it over the V10. Many of the V10’s shots look washed out in comparison. And it’s no competition in low-light situations. The improvements I would call for are better dynamic range performance and more robust focusing.

What do you think? Is the Nexus’ camera quality finally up to snuff with its competitors, or does it still have a ladder to climb? Let us know in the comments!

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