ASUS ZenFone 2 (ZE551ML) Android Smartphone Review

Imaging : Super Resolution

ASUS claims the Super Resolution mode is able to provide 4x the detail, with the image resolution at 16:9 aspect ratio going up to 8192 x 4608, 4 times bigger than the default image size. 8192 x 4608 comes to about 40 Megapixels, that’s even more megapixels than what you get on the Nikon D810, almost touching the pixel count of what you can get from a Hasselblad H4D-40.

It’s a great thing right? Here’s a comparison between the images – can you tell the difference? Of course not as both of them are resized to and image that’s less than 1 megapixel in size.

Mouse-over the image to see comparison.
 

How about this then – what if I told you that I could make the AUTO MODE image 4 times bigger manually and still attain almost the same result as the image taken with Super Resolution mode?

What? How could this be? Check this out.

Mouse-over the image to see comparison.
 

Will you be able to tell the difference if I had not labelled them? The only difference I see are the noise / grain level, detail wise they look the same.

How about we take a look at another area of the same image, take note of the bushes and the details on the bus. Can you tell the difference?

Mouse-over the image to see comparison.
 

So what exactly does ASUS mean by 4x the detail? All I see now is that the AUTO MODE image looks almost EXACTLY the same as the one from the SUPER RESOLUTION mode.

How about another image for reference?

Mouse-over the image to see comparison.
 

Nope, still no difference to me.

I went a little further on this test by taking a sample image from the Samsung Galaxy S6 and resized it to match with the ZenFone 2’s SUPER RESOLUTION image.

Mouse-over the image to see comparison.
 

The enlarged image from the Galaxy S6 comes very close in image quality but looks cleanear too. 4x more detail? It doesn’t look that way.

What am I expecting? I’m expecting the super resolution image to contain much better detail. I’m pretty sure many out there tried the SUPER RESOLUTION mode and thought they got all those details from the mode but in reality they’ve already got those details in AUTO MODE. Yes, the AUTO MODE itself is that good as it is.

In order to provide a better understanding on what is expected, I did the exact same thing with the image from my Nikon D750 Digital SLR. I took 2 frames under same condition, the first frame being 24MP while the second frame being 6MP. Next I enlarged the 6MP image to 24MP, exactly the same conversion from ZenFone 2’s default resolution to SUPER RESOLUTION which is by double the image width and height.

Mouse-over the image to see comparison.
 

Take good look at the 2 orange braided cables that run diagonally across the center of the image. You might not notice it at first glance but take a closer look and you’ll see that the resized 6MP image is not as sharp as the original 24MP image. Observe how distinct is the shine one the cable seen in the 24MP image while on the 6MP image the shine seems blurred.

That’s not to say 6MP images won’t be sharp, it’s just that pixellation occurs when one tries to make an image larger than it is.

My take on the SUPER RESOLUTION mode after conducting detailed tests is that it’s far from capturing 4x more detail. The only difference between the SUPER RESOLUTION image and AUTO MODE image resized is the grain. Take a look at the images above, like say the one with a bus, the image from Super Resolution mode is a lot cleaner but they look the same when it comes to detail.

I can’t think of a good reason to use Super Resolution mode, the level of grain doesn’t bother me one bit if ever I need to resize it to that. I have images that are 13MP or smaller that I have no problem printing 4ft or wider.

Furthermore the ZenFone 2 has other modes that could make your photo better, like the HDR mode and MANUAL mode.

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