BUSINESS

LG takes pride in camera of V30 smartphone

By Song Su-hyun

Industry’s first F1.6 glass-added dual camera to empower V30

  • Published : Sept 21, 2017 - 17:22
  • Updated : Sept 21, 2017 - 18:03
GWANGJU – Robots in a 2-meter-tall box-shape equipment swiftly but precisely place six plastic lenses that are about a fourth of a fingernail in size on an image sensor. On top of the six-layer lenses, the Crystal Clear glass lens is added to let in more light to present better picture quality.

This is a common sight at LG Innotek‘s camera module plant in Gwangju, where LG Electronics‘ first F1.6 dual camera module, which has been adopted by the company‘s latest flagship V30 smartphone, is produced.

“Called the Active Align process, the placement of the lenses on the image sensor requires an extreme level of accuracy and a dust-free environment,” said Lee Yoon-chul, an official at the clean room of the plant.
Employees in smocks show LG’s exclusive camera module for the latest V30 smartphones in a clean room at LG Innotek‘s plant in the designated metropolitan city of Gwangju, on Wednesday. (LG Electronics)

From head to toe, Lee is fully covered in a blue smock, an everyday uniform for him, to manage the process and keep the room nearly free of dust. The room is managed to have less than 10 dust particles that are measured 0.0005 millimeters per cubic foot.

Ventilators on the floor are in full operation to filter out micro dust in the air.

LG Innotek is the world’s No.1 camera module provider for mobile devices by market share. The company is also known as a supplier to Apple.

The company’s Gwangju plant is currently running on full capacity to supply the module for the new LG smartphones that just hit the market Wednesday.

The V30 smartphone has adopted the F1.6 dual camera, the lowest focal ratio number on smartphones so far. The lower the figure, the lens receives more light to represent colors better.

Rival Samsung Electronics’ latest Galaxy Note 8 smartphone features an F1.7 dual camera.

It is also the industry’s first attempt to use glass for the camera lenses, which requires more sophisticated manufacturing technologies due to the lower melting point of the material.

“Precision is the most crucial factor in the manufacturing process of the camera module,” said an official from LG Innotek. “Depth of focus, resolution and other lens specifications are very sensitive to minute changes in conditions, including a dust particle.”

LG has been trying to enhance the camera functions on its premium smartphones since 2013 by adopting the optical image stabilizer as the first smartphone maker.

The Korean tech giant introduced dual cameras for smartphones last year as the first as well. Samsung started adopted the dual cameras this year.

“Consumers are placing special value on smartphone cameras, so therefore we have been pursuing innovation with the lenses,” said Lee Hyun-joo, an official from the product development team at LG Electronics. “LG phones are to meet such consumer needs by providing this DSLR-level camera today.”

By Song Su-hyun (song@heraldcorp.com)