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Samsung and Google should steal this old LG camera feature
It’s a shame LG left the smartphone industry, as the company always had a reputation for trying new and quirky things. This was particularly true in the camera space, as it debuted features like ultrawide cameras, manual video modes, and flexible triple rear cameras.
However, there’s one underappreciated LG camera feature that deserves some love and should be copied by other smartphone companies. We’re talking about LG’s Graphy functionality.
A more approachable manual mode
Ever seen a great photo and wondered what camera settings were used to capture it? That’s the premise of LG’s Graphy feature, introduced in 2017 and allowing you to easily copy the exact camera settings of a specific photo.
All you needed to do was launch the LG camera app, go to manual mode, and then choose the Graphy button to apply the settings from one of several photos/templates. There was also a “plus” icon, allowing you to add specific snaps from the Graphy app to your camera app as a template.
LG's Graphy was a simpler manual mode that copied settings from existing photos.
Though you couldn’t use your own images, the Graphy app still had plenty of shots from a variety of photographers. These snaps included daytime cityscapes, moody indoor scenes, neon-lit environments, and more.
Settings applied from a Graphy template ranged from white balance to ISO, exposure, and shutter speed. Check out some samples we took below, showing the difference between various templates.
This is far from a perfect solution, as you’ll still need to fine-tune the settings for your specific scene. Nevertheless, the Graphy approach was a great way to learn how to use a phone’s manual mode. For what it’s worth, I haven’t tweaked the settings in the sample photos above.
Using Graphy today
Unfortunately for smartphone photography enthusiasts, LG’s Graphy feature today is a shadow of its former self when using phones like the LG V60. It’s unclear when this happened, but the Graphy integration has been severely hobbled here.
Simply put, you can’t add new Graphy photos/templates to your camera app, while the Graphy app itself is basically broken. More specifically, the app only shows a limited number of photos and you can’t tap on them to view or apply the relevant settings.
We'd love to see other smartphone brands integrate LG's original Graphy functionality into their manual modes.
You can still use 16 pre-installed templates in the V60’s camera app (e.g. night sky, cafe, daytime landscape), but new templates are the lifeblood of a feature like this. If there’s any consolation, LG’s manual mode still offers setting hints much like camera apps from other OEMs. So you can try out one of these default templates and then adjust settings from here.
We’d love to see the likes of Google, Samsung, Xiaomi, Motorola, and others offer their own Graphy-like feature, as it was a really innovative way to learn about and use manual camera modes. It also made for a refreshing change from the AI mode handholding we see on many modern phones today.
There’s still scope for improvements in the future too, such as the ability to use your own photos, and exporting or importing more settings so you could share them with other photographers. So here’s hoping another OEM picks up the Graphy baton in the future.