LG G5 vs. Huawei P9: photographic comparison of dual-camera smartphones

In the world of mobile photography, after the megapixel fever, we have reached an interesting balance point. Within the high range and in many of the main terminals, the level is so similar at the consumer level both in resolution and in control and interface options, that although there are some that stand out for resolution (Sony) or in low-light scenes (Samsung), equality is the highest that we have never seen in the photographic section.

Being that facet one of the most important in a smartphone, what can brands do to stand out or get out of more of the same in photography? This year both the LG G5 and the Huawei P9 have taught us one of the possible paths to follow: the dual camera. We believe that this trend will go up in the high range, so we have confronted in a photographic comparison the two most different proposals at present to teach you how their systems work and what results they allow us to obtain.

Dual camera systems: how they differ

As we have advanced in the respective analyzes of the LG G5 and Huawei P9, the biggest differentiation of the cameras of these terminals is in the dual sensor system they use. But there the similarities end because, as we tell you in this One to One about the camera systems of these smartphones, each manufacturer uses the technology and duplication of the sensor for different objectives.

The first to hit the market was the LG G5's dual sensor system. Here we have a 16 MP one, the main one, in charge of taking the photos by himself "classicNext to it is a second sensor with half the resolution but a big difference: with it you get a 135 degree wide angle.

The dual sensor of the LG G5 neither penalizes nor improves the quality of the main camera, but it leaves us with a wide angle, very fun to use. The Huawei P9 does combine the two sensors to capture more detail and light

The opposite approach we see in the dual sensor system of the Huawei P9, which takes the most logical path for this type of mounting. Here the two sensors have the same resolution (12 MP) but are not exactly the same.

One of them only allows capturing information to obtain a black and white image, while the other is a classic RGB. The combination of both theoretically produces an image with more light, it allows to play with the aperture simulated, while we can use if we want only the black and white sensor for photos with that characteristic.

The technical sheets of the cameras

Despite the fact that the cameras of the Huawei P9 and LG G5 bet everything on a double sensor system, we have already told you in the One to One video that the proposals are completely different both in how they use that double sensor and the characteristics set techniques.

LG G5 Huawei P9 Sensor resolution 16 + 8 MP 12 + 12 MP Sensor size -- -- Focal Dist 28 mm 27 mm Opening f1.8 (16 MP) f2.4 (8 MP) f2.2 Focus To be To be Secondary chamber 8 MP (f2.0) 5 MP (f2.2) Optical stabilization Yes Not Video 4K 1080p

The LG G5's camera module chooses not to penalize the main camera. There we find a 16 MP sensor with F1.8 aperture and optical stabilization. With it you can take photographs "individually", without the second affecting anything.

Beyond the technical section, the big difference between the dual camera of LG G5 and Huawei P9 is that in the second case, there is always a combination of the two sensors to obtain the final image.

The quality of these snapshots, as we saw in their complete analysis in Xataka, is at the height of the best on the market today, with good detail, dynamic range and optimal performance (but not the best) in night scenes. In addition we must add the most complete interface for us, with manual controls and RAW mode. Video recording also more than complies, being able to opt for 4K quality.

Fantastic image taken with the LG G5 in automatic mode

The LG G5's second sensor cuts its resolution by half and no longer includes stabilization or a reference aperture. Its objective is not to combine with the first sensor to improve photos, but to complement it with two main purposes: to get photos with a 135-degree angle (the human eye has about 120 degrees of peripheral vision) and to simulate a digital zoom.

This second camera is activated directly on the interface and is a lot of fun to use. We insist that it does not penalize (or improve) the main camera, but it does leave us with a final image quality clearly below that of 16 MP. Here do not seek to enlarge the image or have much detail. These wide-angle images leave us perfect scenes to share with a point of view not seen until now on smartphone cameras.

On the opposite end is the Huawei P9's dual camera. Here the two sensors have the same resolution and combine to obtain the final image. Those sensors are 12 megapixel without OIS and with an f2.2 aperture. Less for the resolution, they are clearly values ​​far from what we can find in the high range and that Huawei says it can compensate by combining both sensors. Video recording, by the way, remains in 1080p, another handicap a priori compared to the terminals with which it intends to compete.

The main difference between the two sensors of the Huawei is that one is RGB and the other is monochrome. One captures the shot in color while the other captures the same black and white image. The combination should provide a final scene with more detail and light. Other consequences of the combination of the two sensors is that we can simulate the aperture and achieve a maximum of f0.95 that leaves us, if we can manage it properly, shots with a limited depth of field. But as we see, nothing very differentiating from what other leading terminals on the camera such as the LG G5 can achieve with its f1.8.

On the left, the Huawei P9 with simulated f0.95 aperture. On the right, the LG G5 with f1.7

Finally, it must be said that the Huawei P9 camera is an alliance with Leica, which certifies the work done with the lenses and image processing, but there is no manufacturing of any kind.

In the images taken with the main camera of the LG G5 and the double of the Huawei P9, the LG model wins in detail thanks to its resolution and good light processing, although the Huawei P9 maintains the type, yes, with excessive processing at combining both images, which led us to a somewhat artificial result when we observed details closely in areas of much and varied information.

We will see the details of these two cameras in different situations in detail in the next photographic comparison with the best smartphones of the year.

Black and white like you haven't seen on a smartphone or 135 degree angle

Having already seen the classic possibilities of the cameras of the LG G5 and Huawei P9, where the Korean model presents more quality of results based on its most complete and current technical starting point, it is time to face these two "daring"of mobile photography in duels that take into account two of its main peculiarities, specifically those that do not affect the overall result on paper.

Regardless of whether or not the overall results improve, the contributions of the double cameras in both the LG G5 and the Huawei P9 offer us the possibility of obtaining original and differential photos with the smartphone

The strong point of the Huawei P9 is the taking of black and white photographs like we have never seen before on a smartphone. Here there is no post-editing but the sensor itself that collects the information is monochrome. The results are much better than what we get by applying a filter or editing in black and white afterwards.

The camera of the Huawei P9 takes full advantage of the monochrome sensor and both in contrast and in gray (there is no predominance of light and shadow but a wide range of tones) and above all texture, there is no rival in the world of smartphones. It is a very striking mode and with which scenes with high dynamic range or in low light, will give us very acceptable results. The counterpart of this shooting mode is that by exclusively using the monochrome sensor, we can only get that image, nothing from the color version.

On the LG G5 side, the use of the second sensor and lens gives us a scene with a 135-degree angle, about 15 more than the capacity of the human eye. In this case, the 8 MP sensor works, so there is not as much detail or final quality as with the main one, but at the aesthetic and differentiation level, as with the monochrome of the P9, we obtain images that we cannot get with others. terminals. Notice the difference in amplitude of the scene taken with the second sensor of the LG G5 and the Huawei P9.

Huawei P9 in automatic mode

LG G5 with 135 degree mode thanks to its second 8 MP sensor

The other difference between the LG G5 and the Huawei P9 due to the double sensor is in the zoom mode. The LG G5 boasts of being able to run one with more quality than we've been seeing so far with the use of a single sensor. And indeed, without reaching the quality of an optical zoom, the results with the LG G5 are quite acceptable.

Panoramic image with the 8 MP sensor

The one we get with the main sensor, 16 MP, is the best quality by far

At full zoom, this is the result

The double sensor in night scenes

After the specific and unique uses of the dual sensor system of the P9 and the LG G5, it is time to check if the theoretical advantage of the dual sensor of the Huawei model for night scenes is such. Logic tells us that with the help of the monochrome sensor, focused on capturing the light level, the second RGB sensor will be able to use that information to achieve a final scene with more detail and less noise.

Optical stabilization and more aperture compared to the combination of two sensors: Who gets better results in low light?

Here Huawei confronts its dual sensor system with the logic applied so far in smartphones to capture more light: optical stabilization and large aperture. The LG G5 uses both methods (F1.8 and OIS). Let's see the results of the comparison.

In a general scene at night, with poorly lit areas and many others, the trend that the LG G5 can collect more light globally is already clearly seen. Their results leave us more difficulty not to overexpose the illuminated areas such as the interior of the ice cream parlor, but on the other hand we have more detail and less processing.

For its part, the Huawei P9, which shoots in night scenes considerably slower (and even in low light, asks us to keep the terminal static after shooting to improve the result), controls the general exposure much better but we lose excessive detail and there is excessive processing.

In a simpler scene for smartphones, with a well-defined light source and few details in the image, we see much more equality ... from afar. On the right is the reduced image of the LG G5 and on the left, that of the Huawei P9.

If we cut 100% and see how it solves the detail of the sign, the LG G5 is already clearly imposed:

In general, in the night scenes where we have tested these two terminals, we do not see that there is a real benefit of using the double sensor. Not at least at the level of being able to compete with the best smartphones on the market, which have already been around for a couple of generations with good processing and strategies (photodiode size, aperture, stabilization) that have been shown to be more effective at improving scenes right now. in low light than that posed by Huawei with its P9.

Night interior image with the LG G5 and capture 100%

Image in the same conditions with the Huawei P9 and crop to 100%

A consequence of the absence of stabilization and larger aperture in the dual sensor of the Huawei P9 is that in automatic mode, in some situations, the system tends to choose a high exposure time, which easily leaves us with blurred photos.

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