LG optimus black

With only 5MP, the LG Optimus Black's camera is about on a par with the Apple iPhone 4 but doesn't reach the 8MP spec of the Samsung Galaxy S2. Yet somehow, that doesn't seem to matter for daytime shots, as the images produced look gorgeous on the NOVA screen.

LG optimus black

BRIGHT: The blue of the sky is retained in the picture, though some brighter contrast sections are a little bleached

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LG optimus black

OVERCAST: The sky is washed out, but the detail of the building is retained nicely

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You can't zoom in particularly far before the picture becomes pixelated, but looking at them as-taken they're good enough for a 5MP phone camera. The colours are mainly true to life, except for a little washing out of the sky on an overcast day, and there are several shooting modes to play around with.

There are five different focus modes on the LG Optimus Black, including Auto, Macro and Face Tracking. You can steadily decrease the MP size, plus choose from several scene modes such as Landscape, Sports, Sunset and Night.

If you prefer fiddling with the manual settings, the camera allows you to change the White Balance (within reason) and the ISO (to 800). Then there are the shot modes (Shallow Focus, Beauty, Panorama and so on), geolocation and the volume rocker doubles as a zoom key. It's more than enough for the amateur photographer to play around with.

LG optimus black

ART SHOT: The camera has an art shot mode which can employ one of four colour washes. This is the 'warm' wash, mimicking a cross-processed image

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LG optimus black

AUTO SUNSET: This picture, taken during a sunset in auto mode, retains none of the colour of the scene, with the sun washed out entirely

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LG optimus black

SUNSET MODE: The same picture, taken with the 'sunset' mode, captures an almost identical shot, with the sun still washed out

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LG optimus black

MACRO: This mode aims to mimic a shallow focus shot, but doesn't manage to focus on any particular spot, thus blurring the entire photo

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Inside, however, the 5MP camera really shows – the resulting pictures are grainy, dampened with a yellow tint or completely over-exposed from the LED flash.

The camera also has a similar problem with night time shots, both outdoors and indoors, with far too much noise.

LG optimus black

NIGHT FLASH: Taken with a flash, indoors at night, this picture is completely over-exposed and the colours are too bright

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LG optimus black

NIGHT NO FLASH: There's no over-exposure when taken without a flash, but plenty of noise

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Where the G key would have really come in handy, instead of just being the camera launcher, is if it doubled as a capture button. Instead you're left tapping the screen in the usual way of touchscreen smartphones, which causes hand-shaking when attempting to capture photos.

The secondary camera, however, is the star – a front-facing 2MP camera currently bettered only by the BlackBerry PlayBook's 3MP, for video calling.