Photography and video
It is high time for the main feature that is Flip Camera. I have written a lot about the camera mechanism of Asus ZenFone 6 at the beginning of the review, so now I will only talk about photos and videos. The biggest advantage of the camera is not in its interesting mechanism, but that we can always use the exact same functions and capabilities – no matter if we are taking classic photos or taking selfies. Usually selfies cameras are weaker than the main ones – but not in this case. Thanks to the fact that the main camera because the front one, ZenFone 6 was commend by DxO, which awarded it with a high amount of points for selfie… Funny, is it not?
Thanks to the fact that the camera mechanism moves, we can set it under different angles – which gives us a variety of photography options. For example, we can record what is in front of us, by holding the smartphone in a natural way, slightly tilted towards us. It is much more comfortable from a bike holder or a selfie-stick, and finally – we can make a support for the phone with the bended module, which works as a substitute of a tripod. There are a lot of scenarios of using the mechanism – and I am sure that I did not discover them all.
No matter how we will set the camera, we can use the camera of Asus ZenFone 6, which has a 48-megapixel camera with an f/1.8 lens and the focal length of 26 mm and the 13 Mpx wide-angle lens with 125 degrees field of view. Photos taken during the day are not far from the quality offered by other flagships.
Focus, colours representation, exposition – everything is as it should be. Details representation is perfect, and in addition we can use the HDR+ mode, in order to extract more contrast and details in poorly lighted shots. During the day it is worth using the 48-megapixel mode, but when the amount of light drops down, it is better to use the option of connecting adjacent pixels of the Quad Bayer matrix and switch to 12 megapixels.
If we need a wider shot, there is a wide-angle lens – however, here we need to remember that the focus is fixed (especially when taking selfies) and with a lower brightness, that is why in weaker lighting effects will be worse than if using the main matrix. Wide angle photos cover wide fields – but we must remember about characteristic distortions of image. Fortunately, in this case, despite the wide field of view of the lens – they are not that big.
If the field view from a 125 degrees lens will still not be enough – we can switch to panorama. You do not like them, because it is difficult to move the phone along a straight line? In ZenFone 6 we just need to hold the phone still and press the button – the rest will be taken care of by the automat controlling gears of the camera. In other words – we do not need to move the whole phone – the camera moves itself, which makes taking a wide-angle panorama much easier – even with a selfie ;)
In a dual camera there has to be background blurring. In Asus ZenFone 6 it is decent, but like in most cases, cutting out more complex objects from the background, like leaves or hair, leaves a lot to be desired.
Despite this – I am pleased – especially with selfies. There is a digital zoom – it is a decent one, though of course we cannot count on a perfect details representation.
Night is the enemy of most smartphone cameras, and auto mode in ZenFone 6 is not fond of it either. After dark there is a large, visible noise, fortunately colours are close to those that we see while taking photos. Let us say that this is a level typical for this year’s “budget flagships”.
The situation changes after switching to the dedicated night mode. Most of all, we will notice a lower amount of noise, though the side-effect of filtrating will be a “smoothening” of a photo – visible in a bigger zoom. This is not a deterioration in details representation – on the contrary, after noise reduction they are more visible. The night mode will dim too bright parts of the shot, while lighting the darker ones – and the shot will have a more attractive looks. I definitely advise against using the auto mode while taking night shots. I recommend switching to night or the manual mode, because it is available in the camera app as well.
I have no concerns towards the quality of videos recorded by ZenFone 6. There is no optical image stabilization – but the electronic one works great. We can even risk saying that in some conditions it matches the optical one. Recordings are possible in the maximum resolution of 4K in 60 frames per second – what is important, still with the usage of EIS. It is difficult to have any major concerns towards the sound – microphones are sensitive. Sometimes, when there is a lot of wind – a bit too much. In addition – there is slow motion – from 480 frames per second in HD to 240 frames per second in Full HD. Using the “mobility” of the camera, we can trace the recorded object. If it only remains on a contrast background, the camera will follow it as long as the turning axis allows it.
|Asus ZenFone 6 - sample videos
video: GSMchoice.com, via YouTube
The camera interface is simple and readable, though I would change one thing. In Zen UI the camera modes are switched with a swiping gesture. This is comfortable when they are 2-3. In ZenFone 6 due to the large amount of modes, a panel with icons – in my opinion – could have been much better. Now, to reach to the end of the list, we need to swipe a lot…