Camera: Video Quality
The LG G3 shoots 1080p and 4K video at 30 FPS, but does not enable 1080p at 60 FPS, which is strange since the Sony IMX135 sensor does support it. The G3 also doesn’t shoot HDR video, again despite the fact that the sensor supports it at 30 FPS. The only other video modes available are 720p at 30 FPS and slow-motion 720p at 120 FPS.
Just like still pictures, there is only one mode for video: auto. Again, the lack of any manual controls is disappointing, but auto mode does do a good job picking the right settings 95% of the time. We're only missing the other 5%, when human intervention could improve the end result if additional controls were available. Of course, there's always the option to install a third-party camera app, like Cinema FV-5, to add full manual control.
The G3’s OIS+ is a big help when shooting video, even more so than stills. It helps keep the video a lot smoother and steadier when shooting hand-held, which is how the G3 is used most of the time.
(Ed.: Since all of the online video streaming services re-encode posted videos at a lower bitrate, and we currently don't have a solution to allow direct download of the original videos, we are not posting any sample videos for quality comparison. The videos that are shown are for demonstrating video features rather than quality.)
The G3 captures 1080p video at a 20Mb/s bitrate, which is the same as the OnePlus One and higher than the 17Mb/s phones like the Galaxy S5 record at. Video quality looks good with decent lighting, and while noise levels increase as light levels fall, video quality remains above average.
Videos also benefit from the laser autofocus system, which adjusts focus during the video to keep moving objects looking sharp. The following two videos compare the iPhone 6's phase detection autofocus to the laser system used by the G3.
The iPhone 6 smoothly transitions between the two different focal distances, continuously adjusting focus and keeping the numbers legible.
The G3 also adjusts to the two different distances. However, it doesn't adjust focus as the camera moves like the iPhone 6, and there's a pause before the G3 finally refocuses. This behavior also occurs in some circumstances when taking stills. The laser does better in low-light and low-contrast conditions, while the iPhone's PDAF performs better in bright light.
The G3 records 4K video at 30Mb/s, lower than the Galaxy S5 or OnePlus One, which record 4K at 57Mb/s. The loss of quality is evident, but still better than recording at 1080p.
Shooting 4K video does chew through storage quickly, even at the G3’s lower bitrate and five-minute clip length limit. Fortunately, the G3 supports microSD cards up to 128GB for offloading the large video files.
Compared to the G3's still image performance, recording video is disappointing. The lack of HDR or 60 FPS modes directly impacts video quality and are curious omissions. The G3 also isn't the best phone for shooting 4K video due to its lower bitrate recordings and clip length cap.