ASUS Zenfone 4 camera review: a mixed bag

“We put the Zenfone 4’s 5-megapixel primary camera to the test.”

ASUS Zenfone 4_9

The ASUS Zenfone range of smartphones were recently launched in the country, offering a tempting mix of price and features. Earlier this month, we got a chance to review the Zenfone 5, the mid-ranger of the lot. Now, we’ve got the entry-level Zenfone 4 (unboxing and first impressions) with us for review. The device pairs a 5MP rear shooter with a VGA front camera, but excludes the flash present on its bigger siblings. However, like the Zenfone 5’s camera, it offers a loaded camera app, with several features, modes and ASUS’ proprietary PixelMaster technology to improve low-light images. We took the camera on a shooting spree, and here are the results.

Long Shot

Asus Zenfone 4 camera sample_long shot

For a 5-megapixel sensor, the image sample displays an accurate representation of the scene, with even elements at the far end visible in fair detail. However, a few objects on the right side appear quite hazy, with a fair bit of noise.

Close Up

Asus Zenfone 4 camera sample_close up
The close-up of the flower displays a decent depth of field and a sharp subject. The camera seems to have some difficulty capturing reds, as is evident with the flower, which has taken on a blue-ish hue.

Close Up (Zoomed In)

Asus Zenfone 4 camera sample_close up zoomed in
In the zoomed-in version of the macro, there was enough detail preserved for the image to be usable, but noise appears in the background.


Asus Zenfone 4 camera sample_hdr off

Without HDR, this landscape shot has managed to capture several elements of the scenery, including the building, clouds and trees, without compromising too much on image quality. However, some of the trees in the background are washed out, while shaded areas appear quite dark.


Asus Zenfone 4 camera sample_HDR on

The HDR mode instantly revives the image, with all the darkened areas brought to life, and the contrasts in the sky much more visible. However, the mode has also tends to oversaturated the colours, lending the greens and reds an almost artificial hue.

Night Shot (Auto)

Asus Zenfone 4 camera sample_night shot

This image sample taken at night as part of our Zenfone 4 camera test shows barely any detail, and only highlights the areas directly under the streetlight. It’s very dark and noisy as well.

Night Shot (With Low Light Mode)

Asus Zenfone 4 camera sample_low light mode on

The Low Light Mode offers a sharp contrast with the previous image, revealing the road in front, brick wall on the side and even a leafy branch on top. While the image is still very grainy, it’s a big improvement over shooting in auto, and offers a fairly passable result.

Low Light

Asus Zenfone 4 camera sample_low light

The Zenfone 4’s camera doesn’t fare very well in low light, as you can see. Not only is the image very noisy, there’s also visible banding, and a complete loss of detail at the top.

Overall, the Zenfone 4’s camera is a mixed bag, delivering decent shots with the low-light and HDR mode, and disappointing with close-ups and indoor shots. It is a budget device though, so it’s unfair to expect too much. On the plus side, the various modes and scenes should liven up your results. We’ll be exploring the camera’s performance in more detail in our full review, coming up shortly.  

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