Interestingly smartphones today are more camera than smartphone itself, I’ve said this almost half a decade ago when Nokia released their Lumia 1020 with 40MP camera that they should just sell it as a “camera with communications capability” rather than a “phone with great camera”.
Fast forward to today, the same holds true but no one calls their phone a camera but in almost every other event these days the topic would be the camera. A year or 2 ago it’s all about the focus was on the rear camera but of late the focus is on front camera and the emphasis is pretty much on selfie – after all, narcissism has to be fed so with the demand there is the supply.
As the name of the device suggests the camera is about SELFIE and the name PRO appended to it implies that it’s a GREAT device for that. I’m not a selfie person but I guess I need to selfie and wefie a lot to test this device and I did and it turned out to be a huge disappointment.
I’ve bashed the Zenfone 2 before and I’ve praised the Zenfone 3 (and Zenfone 3 Max) enough to create many photography related content but the Zenfone 4 to me turns out to be going backwards. Now before I dive into the photography aspect of it, let’s have a quick look at the device.
This is the dual front camera that ASUS boasts about.
Here are the details taken from the official product page.
To put it in text – the main camera on the ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro uses a Sony IMX351 sensor with f/2.2 lens and has a maximum resolution of 16MP when set to 4:3 aspect ratio (4640?×?3480)
The main selfie camera on the other hande uses Sony IMX362 sensor and f/1.8 lens and has a maximum resolution of 12MP at 3928 x 2944. The wide-angle selfie camera on the other hand is limited to 5MP (2552 x 1912) using Omnivision 5670 sensor with f/2.2 lens.
Let’s move on, here is the bottom of the camera where the speaker and other connection resides.
Lastly of course the rear, looks great but I feel that ASUS lost its identity on this one. The Zenfone 3 models were excellent and carried an identity but the Zenfone 4 Selfie Pro here feels like yet another phone from Apple, Vivo and Oppo.
Being the SELFIE phone, I will place the photography capability of this phone as priority with emphasis on the SELFIE modes.
This is my very first selfie with the ultra-wide camera, it was right after we (the entourage of media at the launch event) received our Selfie Pro – horrible isn’t it? Yes this is the original image without resize, watermark added. I used “saved for web” option to reduce file size but don’t worry, the details are pretty much as it is.
It was so bad I refused to upload nor use it for any other activity that night but why am I doing it now? Suffice to say, I’ve given ASUS more than a month to fix it but looks like there’s little to no improvement.
The most recent patch made it such that the camera app, if in low-light environment and in ultra-wide mode, will show a notification to use the MAIN CAMERA.
Now why am I being harsh? I’ve always given feedback to ASUS regarding the photography aspect of their devices but more often than not I wonder whether the people at the HQ did get their message and do they even have photographers testing their products? I’m not talking ambassadors, I’m talking people who know their stuff, unless the Ambassador(s) are photographers then please consult them?
Sorry ASUS, not holding back my punches this time – I’m pretty sure many media would be praising you guys for this device but I see no reason to sugar-coat the poor delivery of product. Let’s move on because I’m not done with ASUS on this just yet.
The difference between the main camera and the wide camera is very apparent even on Day 1, I’m sure you can tell which is the wide and which is the main camera. I resized the image of the main camera to match the wide camera.
Let me show you more over the next page.