[UPDATE: EXIF Data is Wrong, it’s f/1.6!] PSA: The LG V30’s Main Camera Aperture May Not Actually be f/1.6 as Advertised
UPDATE 9/2/2017: LG Spokespeople have confirmed that the aperture is indeed 1.6 as expected. Carry on!
At IFA 2017 Berlin, LG took to the stage to unveil their latest smartphone — the new LG V30. With the latest SoC from Qualcomm and a slew of other impressive features, the LG V30 is to be LG’s trump card for the rest of the year and until the LG G7 comes into the picture.
One of the highlights of the LG V30 is its rear camera setup. LG has chosen to go in once again with a standard lens and a wide angle lens, giving us a good choice between two different views for framing our shots. Of particular interest is the aperture value on the main shooter, as LG claims that the main camera boasts of an f-number of 1.6. This f/1.6 makes the LG V30 the widest aperture consumer smartphone in current times, beating close rivals like Samsung’s f/1.7 on the Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S7. The wider aperture would allow the phone to let in more light or decrease the shutter time. This should put the V30 one step ahead of its rivals on paper, giving it one more point that it can advertise for its superiority.
However, LG’s claims for the main camera’s f-number may not be as advertised. Early camera samples from the main rear camera indicate that the f-number on the rear shooter is actually f/1.69 instead of f/1.6. This was first pointed out by Russian blog Technot, which inspected the exif data from camera samples posted on a few notable Android sites. The exif data on the samples from Phandroid and GSMArena indicate that LG misled customers by mentioning that the V30 has an aperture of f/1.6. Other users on Reddit also confirm that the LG V30 indeed reports a f/1.69 aperture.
Here is the complete EXIF data from one of GSMArena‘s sample pics:
LG V30 EXIF data
General ------- Byte order:Motorola (big endian) Main IFD -------- Camera make:LG Electronics Camera model:LG-US998 Software: Date/time:30-08-2017 06:56:43 PM Image description: Copyright: Orientation:Normal Title: Subject: Author: Comments: Keywords: Resolution:72 x 72 inches Exif sub-IFD ------------ Exif version:2.20 Brightness value:0 Colour space:RGB Date/time original:30-08-2017 06:56:43 PM Date/time digitised:30-08-2017 06:56:43 PM Digital zoom ratio:1 Exif image width:4656 Exif image height:3492 Exposure programme:Undefined Exposure time:0.00833333333333333 seconds Exposure bias value:0 File source: Flash present:Yes Flash mode:Compulsory suppression Flash fired:No Flash red eye reduction:No Flash strobe light:No detection function F number:1.69 Focal length:4.03 Focal length in 35mm film:0 Gain control: Image unique ID: ISO speed rating(s):50 Light source: MakerNote data offset:0 Metering mode:Centre weighted average Related sound file: Rendering: Scene capture type:Standard Scene type:Directly photographed Sensing method:One chip Shutter speed:8.338 milliseconds Spectral sensitivity: Subject distance range: White balance mode:Auto Interoperability sub-IFD ------------------------ Interoperability type:R98 Interoperability version:1.00 GPS sub-IFD ----------- GPS version: GPS date/time (UTC):30-12-1899 12:00:00 AM GPS altitude:0 metres GPS satellites: GPS status: GPS measure mode: GPS map datum: GPS differential: Thumbnail IFD ------------- Thumbnail orientation:Normal Thumbnail resolution:72 x 72 inches
The V30’s f/1.69 aperture should ordinarily get rounded to f/1.7 for brevity. Instead, LG chose to ignore the hundredths digit entirely, truncating the number to f/1.6 in its own favor. The end result is a number that indicates that the V30 does indeed have an even wider aperture for a smartphone camera.
LG’s advertising and marketing machinery does heavily bank upon this misleading claim. The official press release for the V30 does tout it as the first f/1.6 aperture camera lens and goes on to boast the f-number in several places.
The change from f/1.6 to f/1.69 may not seem like a big deal – it’s only a difference of 0.09! Right? Not quite — when you put into context that the closest competition to the LG V30 can only manage f/1.7 aperture, then LG’s claims start venturing into the territory of misleading advertisement. The previous LG flagship, the LG G6, sported an aperture of f/1.8, so LG V30’s claimed f/1.6 aperture would indicate double the numeric improvement over the previous flagship. Having the aperture actually be f/1.7 would take away talking points from LG’s latest flagship, dulling its edge against the competition and rendering much of this marketing misleading.
LG can be given the benefit of doubt in this case because of how EXIF data works. EXIF data can often be unreliable, especially when the software could be buggy. The samples originate from review units, with at least GSMArena mentioning that the phone is an early pre-production unit. This incorrect f-number situation could be a result of early camera firmware writing incorrect data (it’s arbitrarily set, so it could be a mistake), or it could be a case of LG trying to mislead customers.
We hope LG clarifies the situation with the V30’s main camera and corrects the misinformation regarding its aperture value.