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LG Optimus G's 13-megapixel smile-worthy camera for Sprint (pictures)

Here's something to smile about: a 13-megapixel camera that mostly proved our concerns wrong, though there were a few problems with LG's top-tier shooter. One of those is that it's only available for Sprint.

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Jessica Dolcourt

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1 of 24 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Sprint's LG Optimus G takes great outdoor shots

SAN DIEGO--When I first saw Sprint's LG Optimus G with my own eyes at MobileCon 2012 in San Diego, I wasn't convinced that its 13-megapixel camera had the goods. My original indoor shots, which you'll see below, were largely terrible, and the eerie conference center lighting didn't help.

I'm happy to report that taking CNET's Sprint review unit into the great outdoors proves otherwise. The camera's continuous autofocus and other tricks are great help in focusing on the screen. While there were still some imperfect shots, many were terrific, like this outdoor view of the famous Gaslamp sign downtown.

Note that the AT&T version of the phone has an 8-megapixel camera, not a 13-megapixel camera.

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2 of 24 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Setting the scene

It has just rained in the late morning hours in San Diego, with the sun playing hide-and-seek and plenty of natural light. The awning of this restaurant came in clear. Unless stated, all photos in this collection have been resized, but are otherwise untouched.
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3 of 24 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Sevilla close-up

There was little noise around the full-resolution sample of the Cafe Sevilla sign.

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4 of 24 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

San Diego plant life

This planter box near the convention center caught my eye. Colors were balanced and true-to-life, even the brilliant greens.

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5 of 24 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Full resolution succulents

This sample, taken from the full-resolution image, looked pretty good.

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6 of 24 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Flowers after the rain

This photo of downtown flowers was clear and well-defined.

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7 of 24 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Colors were slightly darker and more opaque than real life, as the Optimus G's camera struggled to resolve light bouncing back from the clear glass inlay.

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8 of 24 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Plushies

I stopped by a kids' store to photograph these plush toys. The owl is the best-defined of the bunch.

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9 of 24 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Look him in the eye

Here we have the full-resolution sample of one stuffed animal's eye.

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10 of 24 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Double fisting

My lunchtime Arnold Palmer and a vintage water glass at Searsucker in San Diego, a wide-open space with a mixture of artificial and natural light. I sat directly under some warm yellow track lighting. The color of the blue glass and drink are just right, but I was looking for a little more sharpness on the glass.

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Searsucker bottles

You can see the flare from outdoor light behind these water bottles. I was disappointed that the Optimus G camera didn't define the bottles' edges. And yes, autofocus was working perfectly.

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12 of 24 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Frayed ropes

Again, my patient indoor shot of ropes overhanging a table disappointed. My eyes see a warm orange glow sharply emanating from the filaments of the old-timey bulbs, and the rope decoration has much more contrast between light and shadow, and much more definition.
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13 of 24 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Steak salad

My lunch was delicious, but you wouldn't know it looking at this indistinct image. I'm not sure what happened, but my hands were steady when I took the shot.

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14 of 24 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Menu

The room was very dark, but the Optimus G's brilliant flash illuminated the Cafe Chloe menu just fine during CNET's MobileCon team dinner. Yum!
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Dinner time

The flash handily burst forth again to snap this photo of dinner.

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Toothbrush fail

This photo of my busted (and taped-up) toothbrush head was designed to once again test the Optimus G's 13-megapixel camera indoors. Bathroom lights were on, the flash burst, and completely overwhelmed the shot.

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17 of 24 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Indoor convention center shots

I took this next series of pictures indoors in the bowels of the San Diego Convention Center, which has famously poor lighting. This was the best photo of the bunch that I snapped before getting the Optimus G review unit for the previous photos. In this image, the apples were the point of focus.

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18 of 24 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Apples, full resolution

Here's a sampling from the full-resolution shot.
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Cuppa joe

The resized photo turned out OK.
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Coffee close-up

And here it is up close at the focus point.
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21 of 24 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Not really in focus

This image of Sprint spokeswoman Danielle Babbington looked terrific on the Optimus G's screen, but proves much "softer" off the phone.
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22 of 24 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Full resolution

Now again, with full resolution.
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Photos of a photographer

I wish I had taken this shot of CNET editor Lynn La a second time to make sure that the lack of detail I'm seeing is the camera's fault and not mine.
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24 of 24 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Point of focus

I focused on Lynn's hands holding the camera when I took this shot. Here it is in its full resolution.

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