The trend of smartphones with optical zoom started with the launch of Nokia N90. Even Samsung introduced Galaxy K Zoom which featured 10X optical zoom. But, the missing point in all the phone with optical zoom was the missing phone feel. Most of them were like a digital camera compressed to a smartphone.
After a series of attempts by many manufacturers, Asus introduced ZenFone Zoom with optical zoom. The exception was, it did not compromise on being a smartphone. The phone was appreciated by the consumers and somehow managed to push the image of smartphones with optical zoom.
Today, Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom was introduced at the CES 2017 and it looks like, the Taiwan tech giant has step up the game with its new innovative dual-camera system, which is quite similar to the iPhone 7 Plus. So, let’s dig into the camera’s of both these phones and find out the major differences between the camera technologies used by Asus.
Asus Zenfone Zoom
The camera setup of Zenfone Zoom is a series of periscope-like prisms that gives the flexibility to align the lens assembly to be mounted vertically in the camera housing. The actual zoom feature of the phone performs well and give 3X optical reach. The 3X zoom is achieved without degrading the image quality and lens extending outwards.
The camera setup also features ⅓ inch 13MP image sensor coupled to OIS and laser autofocus. Talking about the image quality of the Asus Zenfone Zoom, the images are a bit dull, lack of detail and feel smeared color. The phone has a wide aperture of f/2.7 but narrows to f/4.8, leading to degraded image qualities, and depth of field. The smaller sensor size and aperture combo does not give you the best background blur.
Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom
The dual camera setup of Zenfone 3 Zoom includes a 25mm unit, giving a bigger perspective on things and give better landscapes view. The secondary ‘Zoom’ lens gives 2.3 times magnification up to 59mm.
There is also a dedicated manual mode which allows the user to control ISO, white balance, shutter speed, just like in a DSLR. The next big improvement in the Zenfone 3 Zoom is the TriTech+ auto-focus system. With this system, Asus becomes the second manufacturer to use Dual Pixel technology. Dual Pixel technology uses every pixel on the camera sensor as a phase-detection pixel. This helps the camera to lock focus quickly. Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom locks the focus in just 0.3 seconds. It is aided by laser auto-focus that helps in dim conditions.
The phone packs a 12MP Sony IMX362 sensor at ½.55” size. This results in bigger individual pixel and bigger individual pixel means more light. This helps in capturing better images in dim conditions.
The other features of the camera include optical stabilization with a 4-axis, 4-stops OIS system, along with an electronic image stabilization with 3-axis stabilization. Both these systems work together to give optimal results. Asus has also introduced ‘SuperPixel Engine’ that intelligently controls ISO levels while shooting and adds noise reduction to give more light out of darker pictures.
The next is the 13MP front camera with f/2.0 lens and Sony IMX214 image sensor. This is a smaller, ⅓.06” sensor with 1.12-micron size for each pixel. It supports screen flash, means your selfie image will illuminate your face a bit better each time your screen blinks.
Other Major Improvements In Zenfone 3 Zoom
Asus has not only focused on camera setup but, has also worked upon the design and built quality. Zenfone 3 Zoom is a sleek phone with just 7.9mm thickness and weighing 170 grams.
The phone is packed with 4GB RAM and a 5000mAh battery pack, making it class leading in every aspect.
Another major change is with the chipset, where the Zenfone Zoom came with an Intel processor. The new Zenfone Zoom 3 comes with the Snapdragon 625.
The main focus of Asus Zenfone Zoom was restricted to just camera setup. But, with Zenfone 3 Zoom entering the market, Asus has turned the table with the power packed specifications of the phone and segment leading dual-camera setup.
The Zenfone 3 Zoom looks like an impressive camera oriented smartphone. But we have to wait and see how much does it cost in India before we give our verdict on the device.