There are plenty of features that ASUS has equipped into its new ZenFone smartphone series despite being priced at under RM 1000. One such feature that we have managed to check out ourselves during our brief time here at the ZenFone regional launch event in Jakarta is the PixelMaster Camera.
Even within the PixelMaster Camera itself, ASUS has included plenty of modes ranging from beautification to HDR to selfie helper that should be able to provide plenty of fun for users that love to snap photos. That being said, what have caught my attention the most is the camera’s Low Light Mode that is available only on ZenFone 5 and ZenFone 6 (sorry, ZenFone 4 future owners).
Seeing is believing, so read on to see more.
In general, the ASUS PixelMaster Camera represents the combined ability of the camera’s optics and sensor together with the image processing algorithm that was developed in-house by ASUS itself. Through PixelMaster’s Low Light Mode, the company claimed that the camera is able to boost light sensitivity up to 400% as well as up to 200% more contract contrast than other smartphone cameras.
However, the output resolution of the camera under Low Light Mode shrinks to 25% of the camera’s actual full resolution as this particular mode also utilizes pixel binning (also known as oversampling) technique in order to provide the advantages that were mentioned above. In ZenFone 5’s case, the output from Low Light Mode is 2-megapixels while the same mode on ZenFone 6 churns out 3.25-megapixels output.
Nevertheless, ASUS is really confident of the low-light capability of its PixelMaster Camera. To prove it, the company has actually constructed a small room at the Jakarta’s launch event that is almost pitch-dark so that media members are able to test the capability of PixelMaster’s Low Light Mode themselves using ZenFone 5.
To make things interesting, I brought along Nokia Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1020 together with Sony Xperia Z1 and HTC One M8 to go head-to-head against ASUS PixelMaster Camera on ZenFone 5. All these higher-end devices not only cost more than the ZenFone series but their cameras are also known to perform well under low-light conditions.
To my surprise, the output that I obtained under the Low Light Mode on ZenFone 5’s PixelMaster Camera have managed to surpass all the high-end smartphones above***. Here are the actual output from all the devices that I’ve tested in that pitch-dark room:
All of the above samples can also be seen in this Flickr album.
While camera ability is not the only factor that determines the overall quality of a smartphone, the comparison above nevertheless has showed how powerful the low light algorithm that ASUS has managed to develop for the PixelMaster Camera on ZenFone series. It certainly amazes me that such capability exists on a smartphone that only costs RM 599.
Then again, let’s see how ZenFone 5 stacks up as a smartphone in general once we are able to obtain a retail unit to test out in the near future (hopefully).
***[NOTE]: Thanks to everyone that pointed out the Night settings mode under the Auto mode in Nokia Camera for Nokia Lumia devices. I overlook the existence of that particular setting on Nokia Camera as I’ve been using Pro mode on Nokia Camera for so long and it has churned out fairly good results. I will repeat this test once again, when we receive the retail unit of ASUS ZenFone 5 later this month. I apologized for the big error above.
[HTC One M8 and Sony Xperia Z1 samples are courtesy of @memeranglaut]