Camera - First Impressions

The camera of the Zenfone 8 isn’t something that I had particularly large hopes for, given the fact that it seems to have the same hardware setup as on the Zenfone 7, which showcased quite disappointing results in our dedicated review of that device. Bar any surprises by ASUS in terms of improved software image processing, we should see rather similar results.

For this piece, I’m keeping things simple and just showcasing sample images from the ZF8 – I’ll be following up with a larger camera centric article across all recent flagship phones in the market in a few weeks' time.

 

In this first scene, we see rather familiar results reminding us very much of the images produced by the Zenfone 7 last year. The shots are characterised by a tendence to flatten out textures a whole lot, some kind of side-effect of ASUS’ HDR algorithm, I think. The scene ended up quite a lot darker than it actually was and there’s just a general lack of any small detail highlights throughout the scene.

While the phone lacks a telephoto module, it’s possible to get to reasonable quality 2x shots via the use of the native 64MP shooting mode of the camera – ASUS here actually uses this by default when going from 1x to 2x zoom mode, something a lot of vendors with similar high-res camera hardware seem to not always get right. The result isn’t great given the 0.8µm pixel size, with very little dynamic range and a lot of fuzziness, but it’s still higher quality than a digital magnification.

 

In this scene I’m again reminded of ASUS’s issue with dynamic range and the tendency to just flatten out luminosity across the scene, giving it a 2D look rather than preserving depth of objects.


 

Looking at the ultra-wide angle shot, the phone does alright with the colours but completely loses out texture preservation compared to the main camera, with a large amount of blurring of details.

Dynamic range continues to be an issue in most scenes with the camera just not being able to preserve depth of objects unless in the most forgiving lighting conditions.

Generally, we also see that the optics of the module doesn’t keep up with the 16MP auto mode results of the sensor, as we’re seeing hazing and ghosting around highly contrasting edges.

Colourful subjects have again the issue that there’s lot of gradations and details that are seemingly lost due to the processing.

ASUS has added auto-focus to the ultra-wide angle this year, meaning this module is now able to focus extremely close to subjects down to 4cm, which can actually give quite good results and is a flexible way to enable macro photography.

Functional, not competitive

Overall, the results of the Zenfone 8 camera are disappointing, but not surprising. ASUS’s phones in general have historically had lacking cameras and image processing that was not up to par with other flagship devices. The Zenfone 8 positions itself as a 2021 flagship phone, but its camera system is far from that. It’s functional for the occasional shot, but it’s pretty much outshone by essentially any other camera solution in the market, with very little silver linings in favour of the device.

If you’re looking for competitive cameras in a phone, the Zenfone 8 is not the device for you.

Battery Life Conclusion & First Impressions
POST A COMMENT

65 Comments

View All Comments

  • drajitshnew - Thursday, May 13, 2021 - link

    I do not understand -- they should be adding micro SD express. Reply
  • thejaredhuang - Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - link

    So I've seen the picture of the 4000mAh battery on 2 different sites, it looks like its easily replaceable once the back cover is off, Andrei do you have any info on how easy it is to remove the back cover? Reply
  • Unashamed_unoriginal_username_x86 - Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - link

    The paragraph on the last page starting with "As we always say" is duplicated Reply
  • Wereweeb - Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - link

    I actually quite like this one. Not gaudy, not cringy, not exaggerated, just an all-around solid and compact smartphone. The camera bump does look misaligned, and the chrome ring around the selfie cam is just one of the dumbest things I've ever seen; but otherwise, if I needed to daily carry a SD 888, this would be the phone I'd buy. Reply
  • Silver5urfer - Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - link

    No 3.5mm jack on the Flip and no SD slot on the both phones, bonus is get a hole in cheaper version. Well this is going to be a skip. Sony Xperia 1 Mark III is still the king on the smartphones right now, king in price also unfortunately.

    SD slot is not about storage, it's about having things right near your fingertips in the case of any emergency - Phone cracked / Phone busted up need to send to factory / Immediately need to get data to a PC / any private data. That is not possible with any solution, Cloud is not a solution at all as it needs constant Internet access and background data usage PLUS it's going to a blackbox security system putting all your data behind a ToS and Privacy Corporate Policy.
    Reply
  • flyingpants265 - Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - link

    You'll never get what you need by relying on a private corporation - if you want actual utility, you'll need a government subsidy or non-profit or something. The population is never going to "learn to make the right choices", that day is never coming.

    What's needed is several different models of fully-featured Linux phones. Won't happen.
    Reply
  • ozon - Friday, May 14, 2021 - link

    There's microSD slot on the 8 Flip. Saw it listed on the Asus page. Reply
  • nicolaim - Thursday, May 13, 2021 - link

    No wireless charging: lame. Reply
  • JfromImaginstuff - Thursday, May 13, 2021 - link

    You do realise that wireless charging is still very inefficient Reply
  • ads295 - Thursday, May 13, 2021 - link

    I think there should be a law forcing it to be named "wired wireless charging" until we can transmit at least 5W of power over a distance of 1 metre. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now