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Yes, the LG V30's camera really does have an f/1.6 aperture

Could the LG V30 be its best-ever flagship phone? There's a good shout for it, and part of that comes down to its cameras. LG is making a big deal about the primary shooter in particular: a 16MP sensor with improved optics and an industry-leading f/1.6 aperture. With all of that focus on the camera, somewhere along the way a rumor has started that LG is lying about the aperture, claiming that it is actually f/1.7 — a number offered by other smartphones.

This just isn't true.

As is so often the case, the first handful of phones to hit the hands of the press — and be on display at trade shows like IFA 2017 — have non-final pre-production software, and sometimes even pre-production hardware. That software often has bugs, and that's precisely what we're looking at here: camera software that is unintentionally reporting the wrong aperture in the EXIF data of the pictures.

An LG spokesperson has confirmed to Android Central that the V30's main camera is, indeed, shooting at f/1.6 despite the software bug on some evaluation phones that shows otherwise. One of the LG V30s Android Central is currently using — a European unit — is actually properly displaying f/1.6 on photos as well.

This is what happens with pre-production software, folks.

Given the imaging-focused marketing approach around the V30, which specifically touts the uniqueness of the f/1.6 aperture, I don't quite understand why LG would ever lie about something so blatantly. And so, of course, it isn't lying about it at all. Carry on, folks — the V30's camera has the hardware LG says it does, and now we can move on to evaluating its actual photo performance.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

76 Comments
  • THANK YOU ANDROID CENTRAL FOR POSTING THIS STORY!
  • GLAD YOU ENJOY OUR COVERAGE!
  • 😂
  • Loving the coverage of this phone so far, keep it coming. Canceled my Note 8 pre-order thanks to it and cannot wait to get my hands on it!! This is the first LG phone I've been excited about since the G2.
  • Same here. I'd pre-ordered the Note 8 to take advantage of the Note 7 rebate. Loved the Note 7 so much, I bought (and returned) two of them. But after watching the LG V30 coverage, I stopped at Best Buy last night to get hands on the Note 8. It's just too big with the finger print sensor at the top. I'm sure it will be a great phone but it's too uncomfortable to hold for me trying to reach up to the top every time to unlock. And, how many times a day do you do that. I'll miss the S-Pen, but I love my music and I'm looking forward to the V30. Or, Pixel XL 2. We'll see.
  • A very good article, many positive reviews about the V30. If they keep the price down which is rumored at 750.00 I think LG will be very surprised with banner sales! Finally, they appear to have hit the nail on the head! Yikes!
  • Android central has great content and I feel you're one of the better writers. I like Jerry's work a lot to.
  • As someone who has owned the V10, and currently the V20, what's up with the drooling coverage of this device all of a sudden? The V series has always been an underdog imo, but now peeps are clamoring to get their bandwagon fingers on this phone. LG payola?
  • Because unlike the V10 and V20, the V30 has actual mass appeal considering its more traditional size, proportions and features. Yes this is a V30, technically part of the V-series, but there really isn't much philosophy shared between this and the V10 — or even the V20 — beyond the focus on videography. It could very easily be a G-series phone.
  • Yup! It's what the G6 should have been.
  • Fully agree with this!
  • Agreed x2
  • I'm more concerned about the 1/24 shutter time than if it is really 1.6 aperture or not. 1/24 means it still isn't grabbing enough light and will produce photos with motion blur.
  • This does not really make any sense. If you want MORE light going in then you need LONGER shutter time, which is what creates the motion blur. You avoid motion blur by having SHORTER shutter time which might then let less light go in but you solve it by either using a larger aperture or pumping up the ISO.
  • So what could've been the V30? Just curious
  • No, not really. Far more attention is going to the Note 8. And iPhone 8,X,Edition or whatever they're calling it. LG will struggle again with this phone as it has in the past.
  • Saw someone claiming f 1.7 on reddit. Thanks for clearing this up! Can't wait to see this compared with next pixel!
  • Right where my mind is. I've had JUMP for years on T-Mo and never used it. I may finally push that button with this or if T-Mo gets the new Pixel.
  • XDA Editor here, I humbly request you change the wording of the first paragraph because it does not accurately reflect our coverage, nor that of 9to5Google. First of all, we don't "claim" that the aperture "is actually f/1.7", and we certainly do not state "LG is lying about the aperture". This is a flat out misrepresentation of both the XDA and the 9to5Google articles, which do not contain the word "lie" and certainly do not say there is certain "lying" - at most, the articles claim that if and only if the disparity is true, then LG would be misleading customers. It turned out that it was early software misreporting the specification. And guess what? That's precisely what both articles state is a likely or most likely explanation: XDA: "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." 9to5Google: "So, what’s going on here? That’s unclear. It’s very possible (and honestly, pretty likely) that this is a simple software issue and the camera app hasn’t been updated to fully take advantage of the new hardware." So please, alter the first paragraph to correctly represent what the articles circulating online actually were discussing -- in a calm manner that does not merit a "let's all take a deep breath" comment, I might add. Neither site claimed LG is lying, neither site claimed the aperture is certainly f/1.7, neither site reported on a rumor but a discrepancy that's present in your own review unit, and that's all that was reported.
  • As a humble editor should you personally message Android Central instead of posting it here "trying" to make a scene.
  • So, AC can publicly call out 9to5 and XDA in the intro to an article, but neither of them should publicly respond in a comment on the article?
  • That is correct. It's called etiquette. It doesn't matter what rude or unprofessional thing someone else does, if you wish to be seen as "humble" YOU are responsible for YOUR response.
  • Don't be mad that AndroidCentral actually did the research to get to the truth. This is why I love this site, despite every comment section accusing them of being paid off by every manufacturer, I feel like I see real effort in the journalism
  • Did you read the 9to5 or XDA articles? Both were about how the EXIF data that was being found was likely wrong, why people were worried about the EXIF data, and that people should hang on until LG has a chance to publish a public statement... XDA even updated their article with LG's statement when LG got back to them...
  • "...that people should hang on until LG has a chance to publish a public statement..." I didn't see that indicated in their piece. However, I did read, "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. " -XDA
  • "I didn't see that indicated in their piece." Then you didn't read the article. They provided multiple explanations for what may be causing the discrepancy between the EXIF data and the advertising, and ended by telling people to wait for LG's answer. FTA: "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." "However, I did read, "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. " -XDA Because that is what the EXIF data is indicating if it is correct. They went on to point out that there is also a substantial chance that the EXIF data is incorrect (which LG is now claiming).
  • I more than welcome any quote from that article that states, "...that people should hang on until LG has a chance to publish a public statement..."
  • "I more than welcome any quote from that article that states, "...that people should hang on until LG has a chance to publish a public statement..."" Hold on, you're asking me to provide an exact quote from the article that matches my paraphrasing of the article? You understand that it doesn't work like that, right? That's not what paraphrasing is. The exact quote, which I provided above, is: "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." If the advertising is wrong, then that is misinformation caused by LG that LG needs to correct. If the EXIF data is wrong (as they are now saying it is), then that is misinformation caused by LG that LG needs to correct. Either way, LG published misinformation that needed to be clarified. The question is which one was misinformation. If it's the EXIF data, then it is no big deal. XDA was telling people to wait for that information (which they reached out to LG to get) before grabbing their pitchforks.
  • The "take a breath comment" is appropriate given the asinine reactions on reddit and other fora/comment blocs that yesterday's clickbaiting headlines promoted, regardless of the actual discussion in anyone's articles.
  • Clickbait titles? 9to5Google's was "Photos taken with the LG V30 report a higher aperture than advertised", about how the EXIF data was reporting a higher aperture than advertised, meaning that camera may have a higher aperture than advertised. They urged people to stop panicking about it, and wait for LG get back to them with a response. XDA's was "The LG V30’s Main Camera Aperture May Not Actually be f/1.6 as Advertised", about how the EXIF data was reporting a different aperture than advertised, meaning that the camera may have a different aperture than advertised. They urged people to stop panicking about it, and wait for LG get back to them with a response (and then published the response in an update to the article). If there was "asinine reactions", it wasn't from those two articles. Those articles were responsible journalism.
  • "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." - XDA That sentence alone shows the tone of their article. Responsible journalism would've taken a pause before accusing LG of "trying to mislead customers", as though that was a legitimate second choice without actually being in contact with LG FIRST.
  • It does not. At that point we knew it was either an oversight or unconscious mistake, or a conscious decision. If it was a conscious decision, then it was misleading. We are not accusing LG of trying to mislead customers. There is a huge difference, our statement was a careful exclusive disjunction, an either/or statement. We did not accuse LG of lying or being misleading, we said that it could either be an oversight or mistake, or it could be an attempt at misleading customers. That is wholly different from flat-out accusing a company of wrong-doing.
  • Sir, with all due respect, stating that "it could be a case of LG trying to mislead customers" is very specific wording.
  • It's very specific wording indeed, it specifically says that it IS a possibility, IF it turns out that it being an oversight is NOT a possibility. I can't see how anyone would think that misleading marketing material is NOT a possibility, especially IF the discrepancy is not a mistake. The statement is invariably valid unless you believe LG is incapable of misleading customers or making mistakes.
  • Yeah, that's Phone Arena style writing. Where the goal is to get the zing in there first, and then backtrack as to appear balanced. If that wasn't the intention, what we're all saying is, this was the result.
  • Oh boy, if I was LG's attorney there would probably be lawsuit paperwork sitting on your desk come Tuesday morning. Stating that they might be attmepting to mis-lead customers about the V30 features is a strong word to use. Unfortunately you really don't state anything specific behind why you question it. My guess is you came on here to stir up something between forums, which is very childish and immature behavior.
  • "Oh boy, if I was LG's attorney there would probably be lawsuit paperwork sitting on your desk come Tuesday morning." Could you clarify what you think LG would sue for? The article was completely factual. If the advertising is wrong, then that is misinformation caused by LG that LG needs to correct. If the EXIF data is wrong (as they are now saying it is), then that is misinformation caused by LG that LG needs to correct. Either way, LG published misinformation that needed to be clarified. "My guess is you came on here to stir up something between forums, which is very childish and immature behavior." AC is explicitly calling out 9to5 and XDA in their article (when they're arguably the only two sites that responsibly reported on the initial f/1.69 information), and you're calling XDA "childish"? smh
  • Listen, we all can appreciate that you've created this ghost of an account just to comment on this specific article today. I'm sure your employer or whatever powers that be appreciate your efforts. But it's pretty clear that your just some shill/astroturf supporter. Maybe your TachyGun incognito...?
  • "Listen, we all can appreciate that you've created this ghost of an account just to comment on this specific article today. I'm sure your employer or whatever powers that be appreciate your efforts. But it's pretty clear that your just some shill/astroturf supporter. Maybe your TachyGun incognito...?" I got linked to here from Reddit, where my account is almost 5 years old. Sorry I don't have an account on every website. But you don't care. You just want to accuse me of being a shill for 9to5 because it fits your narrative. Speaking of which, what news website can afford to pay for shills? I don't think any of them make quite that much money...
  • Considering that you have posted over 5,560 comments on site named Karma.I take what you say as a grain of salt. You have strictly come here to strictly bait the journalism team and start a argument. Oh and before you speak any further your profile links in with TachyOnGun. Better luck next time.
  • Learn what slander and defamation is. As well the frivolous statements your are making and accusing people of Yes, it makes you childish and immature. Especially when you work for another tech site and you come over to a different companies thread to bait the journalism team.
  • "Learn what slander and defamation is." Slander is a form of defamation, specifically relating to spoken word. The term you're looking for is libel. Can you tell me what fact they presented that was provably false? Keep in mind that speculation on what something may be is not presenting something as a fact, "As well the frivolous statements your are making and accusing people of" 1. Frivolous litigation has nothing to do with libel, and does not represent any statements made. 2. What exactly are you claiming that I said? You do understand that falsely accusing someone of libel is libel in and of itself if you want to go there (which would be ridiculous for a comment section as Jerry is pointing out, but whatever). "Yes, it makes you childish and immature. Especially when you work for another tech site and you come over to a different companies thread to bait the journalism team."" Oh, you just mixed up what comment chain you're responding to. Got it.
  • Ah yes, you like to look at Google before you post things. You do realize slander has more than one definition, right?. When someone uses slander it is usually in making false and non credible, such as a damaging statement. Such as what you are doing under your other handle. As well defamation is article two of continued slander. As for frivolous. Which are just like your posts, they serve no purpose on here. I recommend you find a new hobby rather than stir up a article between journalists and posters. As well don't make it so obvious that you are that you have two different handles you are posting under. BTW, libel is defined as slander and defamation as well.
  • "Ah yes, you like to look at Google before you post things." Are you seriously bragging about the fact that you used a word that you don't understand, and didn't check what it means before using it? "You do realize slander has more than one definition, right?. When someone uses slander it is usually in making false and non credible, such as a damaging statement." Again, that is in regards to spoken content. (especially when bringing up the subject of lawyers and the legal definition of it...) The term you're looking for is libel. "Such as what you are doing under your other handle." lol. "There's no way more than one person agrees with me. You must all be one guy" "As for frivolous. Which are just like your posts, they serve no purpose on here." I am now 100% certain that you don't know what frivolous litigation means, and about 60% certain that you don't know what frivolous means even when not using it in a legal context. "I recommend you find a new hobby rather than stir up a article between journalists and posters. Stir up? What did I stir up? I responded to an ongoing discussion in a comment section about three articles, one of which links to the other two in their opening paragraph... "As well don't make it so obvious that you are that you have two different handles you are posting under." Care to provide any evidence for your libelous claim? Or can I just assume that you're an alt for DMP89145 up there as well? Oh wait, of course not. That's not how it works. "BTW, libel is defined as slander and defamation as well." Libel is defamation. Slander is defamation. Libel is not slander. Slander is not libel. Defamation is an overarching category that includes both independent terms.
  • Damn. Getting the attorneys involved now. Relax guys. I know Andrew pretty well. He didn't mean anything here. Neither did XDA or whoever else. You get excited over new shit and everyone wants to talk about it. Bad firmware that shows incorrect info combined with LG doing everything they can to promote the V30 and putting pictures all over the internet with that bad info means people gonna talk about it. That's all that happened.
  • +1
  • I'll never read XDA again now that I know their editors go on other websites to whine.
  • XDA Editor, you CONCLUSION PARAGRAPH totally refutes anything you said here. You blatantly accuse LG of misrepresentation. Go read that again, and apologize profusely to LG. XDA: "We hope LG clarifies the situation with the V30’s main camera and corrects the misinformation regarding its aperture value." WHAT misinformation do they need to correct? the misinformation you propagated in your poorly researched article?
  • Yeah excited to try out 1.6ap on the new V30... Have G6 the camera is great... Waiting for V30 India launch
  • Unfortunately I have read that they have used a small 1/3.1" sensor, which negates a lot of the potential advantages that the larger aperture would otherwise have provided. If only they paired that aperture with a 1/2.3" sensor instead. Still possibly the best smartphone camera not made by Google.
  • This is he information I was looking for. So hard to find sensor size for camera phones.
  • I've been watching the samples on Instagram and listening to the AC Podcast. The sensors on the G6 are hardly the latest and the quality with them is fantastic. LG has proven to me they can take yesterday's sensors, pair them with good optics and processing to make a really good smartphone camera. I have small children who move fast, I care far more about the picture quality than the spec sheet.
  • I don't understand these comments that the camera is 'good enough' because of software processing, when there was a clear compromise made with the hardware. I personally would want the very best camera possible for the price I'm paying. And the V30 camera would have been even better if they had used a larger sensor too, that's the laws of physics. I called Google out on that last year with the Pixel's lack of OIS, now I'm calling LG out on the tiny sensor they're using in the V30.
  • Phone cameras have really become Amazing, I still remember the dumb days of "let's see who has the most megapixels!", I'm glad they're over.
  • Dear Samsung fans: Your Note 8 and Galaxy S8/+ are great phones. They'll still outsell this awesome device.(even if a few minority would argue the V30 deserves to most likely be the phone of the year) Relax.lol Sincerely, waiting to get my hands on my next LG device.
  • Dear V30 fans. LG has made a great device, but the Note 8 still has something unique, the S Pen. To be honest I hope both sell well. Samsung and LG have the best US flagships this year IMO.
  • We already know that. Just poking a little fun at Samsung fans. They have been coming out of the woodwork against possibly their best competition this year. And I agree with your analysis.
  • As a G6 owner its hard to see such a great product announced. I guess I need to pay the G6 off, sell it, and pay for this sexy beast of a phone. The second screen was what prevented me from getting the V20. My money is ready to be taken
  • I feel exactly the same!
  • As actually love the second screen not only for the shortcuts and favorite apps but the fact that you can literally see all your notifications update live as a ticker display without any interruption from what you're doing. But I love the idea of a movable floating bar which makes the functionality of it way more useful/accessible than the second screen. I'm definitely upgrading from my V20 although I will miss removable battery and IR blaster.
  • Hm you know that you can disable the second screen ? You can even disable it screen off /on only. V20 - best phone money can buy below 300€
  • How big are the pixels?
  • From what I hear, the V30's IMX351 sensor is 1um (yes, very small), but LG seems to deal with small pixels very well.
  • I would like to note that the sensor itself is actually quite small. LG seems to be the only OEM these days not interested in bigger pixels, as the V30 actually shrinks the pixels down to 1um, for a 1/3.1" sensor against the V20's 1.12um, 1/2.8" sensor and G6's (13MP) 1.12um, 1/3.06" sensor.
  • I wonder why they decreased the sensor size though. I was really concerned but it appears from early pre production software that LG is doing some magic in the processing.
  • Yeah but imagine what they could do with a larger sensor. The V30 could have been even better with larger pixels.
  • I know. I wonder why they reduced the size. Maybe so the camera hump is much less pronounced? That's the only thing I can think of.
  • G6 plus 1.133
  • It's down to the Note 8, V30 or Pixel 2 for cameras of the year in the Android arena. I always find this time of year exciting with the heavy hitters up at bat.
  • Unfortunately, the OLED display in low light settings shows hot spots and some kind of grid matrix that you can see. At least that's what I've noticed. I still think it's to early for OLED displays on smartphones. Maybe the V40 will be a better phone with OLED. Note 8 will be my choice until then.
  • V30 is today's LG G2. Imagine if LG could make their UX more attractive and a larger battery in this.
  • The hardware is impressive but isn't the software equally important? Like pixels and iphones. Computational something
  • LG V30 is an super sexy phone.LG nailed it this time.and note 8 is an total disaster.
  • Nope. Both will be great.
  • Mislead or not, still takes one of the greatest pictures. I just hate that over sharpening images from LG. But some may love sharper images than smooth ones.
  • How good is the front camera? Can that 5mp do wonders?