Over the past few years, smartphones have undergone a radical transformation. From being considered gadgets meant to only talk and text one’s contacts, their role has become versatile enough to include a plethora of tasks which earlier required specific gadgets. A visible change in the user’s busy lifestyles meant that they required gadgets that could excel at more than just one function. Photography has, quite understandably, emerged as one of the key functions of a smartphone. Camera is often considered as one of the features that can actually influence a consumer to recommend a phone. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that smartphones have actually replaced other cameras to become the preferred device for photography for the larger section of the audience. In fact, it is very common to find even professional photographers with a smartphone having a good quality camera for impromptu photography. But what constitutes a good photography smartphone? Listed below are a few features that throw light on the same.
Camera Hardware and Software Modifications
The most obvious feature on the list. A good camera forms the very basic of a good photography smartphone. Just like a magnificent monument is the result of the labour of an experienced architect, trained craftsmen and disciplined workers, a stunning photograph requires a good camera sensor, lens and aperture among other hardware specifications. It is near impossible to expect a smartphone that utilizes lower-quality camera components to click an image that impresses the users. Similarly, an innovative software for the smartphone camera is a great way to enhance the quality of images. Such a feature can help in capturing photographs that are vibrant, real and stunning always.
ZenFone 3 packs a 16MP camera with the latest Sony® IMX298 sensor, six-element Largan lens with a large f/2.0 aperture. The camera is protected by sapphire glass that is resistant to scratches and damage. This ensures crystal clarity in images at all times. ZenFone 3 is equipped with ASUS-exclusive PixelMaster 3.0 that elevates the level of smartphone photography. The phone offers exclusive TriTech auto-focus technology that combines three focusing technologies — laser, phase detection and continuous contrast-detection auto-focus — to achieve clear focus in 0.03 seconds, up to 10x faster than the blink of an eye.
The phone also provides 4K video recording facility that results in crisp, high resolution videos.
Deep Trench Isolation technology provides a finer quality of images by reducing the imaging noise while the Colour Correction Sensor detects the type of light and automatically applies the best settings to achieve the perfect balance for natural-looking colors.
4K Video Recording at Night Sample
Shooting a precious moment on camera only to see a blurry image is not the most ideal situation to be in. This is where optical image stabilization (OIS) plays a key role. It ensures that movements and jerks do not interfere with the sharpness of an image. After all, most extraordinary shots happen by chance and are not actually composed. For instance, spotting a tiger drinking water in a sanctuary is a once-in-a-lifetime moment and no one would want it to be ruined because of a smartphone that does not offer OIS. Furthermore, we are increasingly capturing our memories in video format. Be it weddings, parties or travelogues, all of such moments are captured in extended videos which would be ruined if not for electronic image stabilization (EIS).
ZenFone 3 offers 4-axis, 4-stop OIS with 8-direction OIS compensation and 3-axis EIS with 6-direction EIS compensation to ensure steady shots and blur-free memories.
The EIS video output of the ZenFone 3 has a maximum resolution of 4K (3840 ×2160). Owing to the phone’s high resolution sensor, ZenFone 3 provides 4K video recording facility that offers incredible details to match the resolution of the highest resolution TVs currently in the market.
A good camera-smartphone should provide multiple modes to suit various photography requirements and styles of the user. This ensures that the user is able to make modifications to suit his or her vision for each photograph.
Some of the modes offered by ZenFone 3 include:
HDR Pro and Real Time HDR – In HDR Pro mode, the camera analyses the images and improves the contrast levels by lowering the brightness in overexposed sections, and increasing the brightness by up to 400% in underexposed parts, providing more details in the picture. However, unlike other smartphones, ZenFone 3 displays HDR photo results in real time when framing the shot resulting in increased accuracy of photographs.
Super Resolution Mode – ZenFone 3’s Super Resolution Mode allows the user to create a super-high resolution, 64MP photos. It employs special image-processing techniques to capture and combine four 16MP photos to create a single image with exceptional 4X clarity, greater detail and less noise. Low Light Mode – ZenFone 3’s Low Light Mode combines four adjacent pixels on its sensor to work as a single large pixel to provide greater light sensitivity. This mode, in combination with OIS helps reproduce images that are clearer and sharper than the ones shot on other smartphones.
Photo Sample: 7.30 PM Evening Shot with Low Light Mode
Professional manual creative controls – Every smartphone photographer has a different interpretation of a scene and often likes to be in total control of the frame that he or she has in his or her mind. ZenFone 3’s manual controls allows the user to input custom settings for white balance, Exposure Value (EV), ISO sensitivity, shutter speed and focus, allowing for greater creative independence.
Photo Sample: Foreground & Object Seperation
32 second slow shutter mode – ZenFone 3’s allows photos to be shot with and exposure time of up to 32 seconds. This allows the smartphone photographers to use their creativity when shooting low light or night-time photos. It is best suited to capture the light streaks of passing traffic or stationary subjects in very low light conditions without the harsh lighting of a flash.
Comprehensive Preset Modes – ZenFone 3’s camera offers multiple preset modes to enable the users to shoot in multiple situations. Some of these include special effect filters, a miniature mode that makes subjects appear like mini toy figures, automated unwanted element removal, an automated beautification mode for human portraits as well as an automated time-lapse mode.
Panorama Mode – This allows the users to take beautiful landscape shots by simply panning the camera from one side of the landscape to another. The camera captures individual frames and glues them together to form one panoramic photo.
Depth of Field Mode – This mode increases the focus on the main object by blurring the background.
Miniature Mode – This mode makes subjects appear like toy models giving a whacky touch to the image!
Time Rewind Mode – This mode is used to shoot fast moving subjects like children or pets. The camera shoots a rapid burst of frames in sequence for up to two seconds, allowing the users to select the frame that they would want to save.
All Smiles – Quite similar to the Time rewind Mode, All Smiles mode shoots five frames allowing the user to save the best ones.
Gif Animation Mode – ZenFone 3 also allows the users to create fun gifs. Users only need to click an image and the camera compiles the photo sequence as an animated gif image.
Outdoor Photo Sample:
A good photography smartphone needs to be backed by high performing technical specifications. It is important to be able to capture shots at a moment’s notice without facing any lags and hang-ups. A slow smartphone that makes one wait in between shots hinders the freedom that a photographer should enjoy.
ZenFone 3 is designed for photographers and is powered by a 64-bit, 2.0GHz octa-core Snapdragon™ 625 – the first 600 tier processor that uses 14nm finFET process technology making it 35% more power efficient than 28nm processors. Furthermore, PC-grade graphics combine with up to 4GB RAM to deliver an outstanding performance with improved efficiency.
Every picture clicked requires a certain amount of storage space. “Memory low” or “Please delete old data” are two of the most fearful messages for a smartphone photographer. Nobody wishes to part with their memories and why should they? A smartphone should deliver sufficient storage space to the users to be able to save their pictures, both old and new.
ZenFone 3 offers up to 64GB of internal storage that can be expanded to 2 TB through a micro-SD card.
A smartphone should be designed to support the user’s photography expeditions. It is generally noticed that when smartphones are packed with features, they tend to appear bulky, which is not the most ideal design element for a smartphone photographer. It should be sleek, easy to hold and feel good in the hands of the user, making it difficult for him or her to put the phone down and motivating him to explore the world through the smartphone’s camera a little more!
The ZenFone 3 range is constructed out of materials like glass and metal in a sleek packaging making it really comfortable to use. ZenFone 3 is only 7.69 mm thin and bears the aesthetics of Zen’s signature concentric-circle pattern, rendering it as beautiful as the images it captures!