As modern smartphone cameras improve they continually push the limits of “quick snaps” and move ever closer to a piece of true photography kit. LG‘s latest flagship offering – the LG G4 – is a great example of a camera that punches above its weight and out of its category.

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The G4 has a 16 MP, F/1.8, laser autofocus, image stabilised camera that delivers some truly amazing photos. Let’s take a look at a few angles and compare the G4 with your average mid-level DSLR. Can a smartphone really replace a DSLR? This LG G4 vs DSLR shootout finds out.

Image Quality

While the 16 megapixel output of the G4 is slightly behind the average 20 megapixel output of a modern DSLR, the difference is only really noticeable when enlarged dramatically. In terms of number of pixels, I don’t believe anything above 10 MP adds or detracts to the images for standard use. The G4 easily manages to produce 5312 × 2988 pixel images without breaking a sweat, more than your average photographer could ask for.


Both cameras are able to shoot crisp beautiful images in good lighting making it hard to remember which image was taken by which camera. In low-light the DSLR has traditionally out performed smartphone cameras, although, with the G4 including manual settings for ISO, shutter speed and aperture its low-light photography is excellent.

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The most important aspect for a professional photographer is the ability to export those images without losing data. The G4 is able to capture and export images in RAW format, just like the DSLR, to provide additional editing ability for photographers and ensuring none of the beautiful details captured have to be compressed.

Verdict: Draw


Photography is a dynamic profession with no two scenarios being the same with moving subjects and changing light affecting every shot you take. Having a piece of technology that can adapt to these changes is crucial. The G4’s manual mode allows for customisation of ISO, Aperture, White Balance, Shutter Speed and exposure compensation really does allow it to step up to the table. With a wide aperture of F/1.8 you can really get the most out of the camera including those beautiful blurred backgrounds. Being a smartphone you have the option of supplementing your G4 with additional apps – for example making use of a light reading app can help you get your settings 100% correct or in phone editing apps like SnapSeed that can enhance your photos in minutes.


A DSLR would also have all of these bases covered with the addition of switchable lenses allowing the user to increase zoom or angle with more accuracy. While this provides a major benefit to the images captured it also comes at a cost – having a range of lenses can be very expensive. If you factor in a selection of lenses plus the winder range of ISO settings available on DSLR cameras you would expect them to pull ahead in this category. However, when you factor in the lack of substantial editing and the long process of downloading images, editing and then uploading to your file sharing platform of choice – the G4 pulls ahead by a whisker.

Verdict: LG G4 Win


One of the biggest advantages of using a DSLR over a regular point-and-shoot camera is the ability to snap shots instantly, minimising the risk of missing a moment in action. The G4 also manages to step up in this area with its laser focus and quad-core CPU making it a fantastic camera for taking fast shots. You can also open the camera by double tapping on the lockscreen button, launching the camera in a blisteringly fast six-tenths of a second.

Add to that the ability to carry your LG G4 in your pocket as opposed to lugging around a large DSLR and the LG manages to win this quick draw.

Verdict: LG G4 Win


The LG G4 supports expandable microSD storage of up to a massive 2TB exceeding many DSLR cameras. However, there are currently no 2TB cards available and the maximum that you can get for either device is 256 Gb cards.


The G4 of course enables you to make use of cloud storage through apps like Google Drive or Dropbox where you can sync your pics as you take them.

Verdict: LG G4 Win


The G4 has an excellent 3000 mHa battery which is better than most smartphones but the ability of a DSLR to use little to no power when idle means that you can shoot for days on end without needing a charge. While both have removable batteries allowing you to carry a spare with you, the DSLR is the clear winner here.

Verdict: DSLR Win


Overall the DSLR is still a premium piece of photography kit with the ability to change lenses and shoot for longer periods. However, the G4’s lightning fast speed, manual mode, RAW file formats and ability to make use of 3rd party apps and cloud storage pushes it ahead in our opinion. If you are looking for a versatile camera for the modern age then the LG G4 is a great bet without the expense of kitting up with a full set of DSLR lenses, editing software and accessories

Winner: LG G4 Smartphone (by a hair)