ASUS Zenfone 5 camera review: a creature of the night

“The ASUS Zenfone 5’s primary 8MP camera looks quite capable”

The ASUS Zenfone range has just been launched in the country, and as a pleasant surprise, has been priced rather aggressively. This bodes well for ASUS’ latest incursion into the crowded smartphone space. The Zenfone 5 (first impressions | review in pictures) is the mainstay of the range, and its 8GB variant can be yours for Rs 9,999… an attractive price for a good-looking and capable smartphone that offers some very handy features as part of its ZenUI. Another highlight of the device is its 8-megapixel primary camera that boasts a 5-element optical formula lens, a wide f/2.0 aperture and ASUS’ PixelMaster tech for pristine low-light imaging. It’s also loaded when it comes to features and modes, offering everything from HDR to panorama, burst mode to beautification, and background blur to colour filters. Our full review of the Zenfone 5, where we’ll be discussing the camera features, apart from everything else it has to offer, will be up very shortly. Till then, here’s a closer look  at the image samples from the ASUS Zenfone 5’s camera. Click on the images to view them in full resolution.

Long shot

ASUS Zenfone 5 camera test long shot

This ASUS Zenfone 5 camera sample displays good detail and colour accuracy, with reproduction of faraway objects like the buildings in the distance handled reasonably well. The image is in focus throughout, though it does tend to blur when zoomed in.

Close up

ASUS Zenfone 5 camera close up

This image captured as part of the Zenfone 5 camera test has been shot at close quarters and highlights the capabilities of the primary shooter. The colours and details look good, and the camera does look quite capable, though it does tend to oversaturate the colours to some extent.

Close up (zoomed in)

ASUS Zenfone 5 camera close up zoomed

Zooming in on the above image corroborates our theory, and we can see that the ASUS Zenfone 5 camera manages to display a fair degree of variance and colour separation.

HDR off

ASUS Zenfone 5 camera test HDR off

Shot in auto mode, we’ll use the above image to figure out how good the HDR mode on the Zenfone 5 is, but it’s easy to see how well the snapper retains the details.

HDR on

ASUS Zenfone 5 camera review HDR

With HDR mode set to on, the ASUS Zenfone 5 camera performance can be evaluated. Comparing with the image shot in auto, we can make out that it does have an effective HDR mode which doesn’t make the photo look unnatural but brings out the colours better and highlights the darker areas well.

Night shot (auto)

ASUS Zenfone 5 camera night auto

Low light is the nemesis of most smartphone snappers, and the Zenfone 5 is no different. This image shot in auto mode is quite dark and noisy too

Night shot (with low light mode)ASUS Zenfone 5 camera night mode

Loaded with PixelMaster tech, ASUS claims this shooter can capture great low light shots, so we decided to put it to the test. The camera detects ambient conditions and prompts you to activate low light mode. An ‘owl’ icon appears, and the low light mode can be activated by tapping on it, or via the list of modes accessible separately. This mode shoots in 2-megapixel resolution only, but as we can see, manages to output night shots that are quite usable. You need to hold the phone steady and it does take its own sweet time, but the camera almost seems to create a shot out of nothing. In conditions where most other smartphone cameras only capture patches of light, the Zenfone 5 captures grainy, albeit very usable images.

Low light

ASUS Zenfone 5 camera test low light

Shot indoors in low light without the flash, there’s some loss of detail in the above image, and the colours look muted as well.

Low light (with flash)

ASUS Zenfone 5 camera test low light with flash

Shooting the same scene with the flash on, it appears that the Zenfone 5’s LED flash isn’t too strong. While it liven up the image a bit, the details are still lacking and the colours look off. 

The 8-megapixel camera on the ASUS Zenfone 5 does have its hits and misses, but overall, it seems quite capable, especially its night mode that employs some proprietary wizardry to provide usable results in dim lighting conditions. We’ll have more on the camera features and the overall performance very soon, and as you can make out from what we have to say about the shooter, we’ll be counting it as one of the positives.

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