The G3’s camera interface is extremely minimal. The default UI (shown above) has nothing but a back button and an image review button, opening the photo gallery, on the right. To take a picture you just tap the screen on what you want to focus on, and the laser autofocus system quickly locks on to the subject and takes a shot.
For more control, tapping the three dots in top-left corner brings up additional options in the sidebars. On the right-hand side is a shutter button that can be held down for continuous shooting and a video record button. On the left we find the flash control (on/off/auto), the toggle to switch between the front and rear cameras, a mode selection button and the settings button.
The camera UI’s simplicity also applies to the number of shooting modes it offers. Some phones go overboard, loading you down with modes that usually don’t improve the camera experience. In contrast, the G3 has only four: Auto (default), Magic focus, Panorama and Dual.
Magic focus allows the focal point to be changed after the picture is taken. When taking a photo in this mode, the camera needs to be held steady as it takes a series of shots with different focus points. Once complete, you enter the photo gallery where the focus depth is adjusted either via a slider, which only has five discrete points, or by tapping on object. After choosing the desired focus point, you can save the image (and only one image), automatically discarding the others. This mode doesn’t actually produce an image any different from using Auto mode and just focusing on the desired object; it’s not equivalent to the background defocus process the HTC One M8 uses to create a more realistic bokeh effect.
Dual mode is a picture-in-picture shooting mode that uses both the front a rear camera simultaneously. The inserted image can be resized and placed anywhere in the frame. Tapping the inserted image switches the two images.
The remaining options are found in the settings menu. There are several choices for still image and video resolution. The default resolution for stills is the 16:9 10MP resolution shown selected, which matches the 16:9 display so there isn’t a black border. When any of the other resolutions with 4:3 or 1:1 aspect ratios are selected, there are black bars on the sides beneath the controls. Regardless of resolution, the image you see in the viewscreen will match the picture captured by the camera.
The other items in the settings menu include an on/off/auto toggle for HDR, a timer (3s/10s), a framing grid and the voice-activated “Cheese shutter.”
This cheesy feature lets you say one of the five keywords to snap a photo. While a little gimmicky, it’s still useful when taking selfies with the front-facing camera. It’s also nice to see that LG kept the culturally specific “Kimchi” as one of the words.