I went on vacation recently in Japan and took the opportunity to take two of the current crop of camera-centric smartphones in the market: the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom and the OPPO F3. For this post, we’re concentrating on the shooting prowess of the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom. The Taiwanese brand’s new dual rear camera-toting smartphone.

As a refresher, this second generation Zoom device features a dual-lens setup with 12-megapixel ƒ/1.7 SONY IMX362 sensor and a ƒ/2.6 Samsung 3M3 sensor with 2.3x optical zoom camera. As its name suggests, the focus is on the zooming capabilities of the device.

This post is going to be mostly photos with a few comments about the shots I took. I didn’t want to overcomplicate things and left the camera in default auto with HDR on (which did make the colors pop). Now, let’s leave the images to speak for themselves. All of the images are unedited and came straight from the phone.

We first noticed how much colors popped out with this photo. It was a dreary day in Hakone and the leaves on the trees were duller in real life.

Sometimes it does lose a few of the details and be a bit on the dull side but it can still produce some pretty good colors as seen in this photo.

Closeups even without playing around with its Depth of Field feature can produce some pretty great shots.

If you want to see the Depth of Field feature at work, here’s a sample. It’s a bit of a hit and miss and would require some patience for you to get the right shot. But if you stick with it, you can produce some pretty amazing images.

It gets some great colors and detail even in a not-so-well-lit room.

If you just tinker with it, you can get some interesting shots. Left the camera in auto and got this out of a badly lit room.

Taken at dusk, you can see the highlights are blown out a bit in the lights and the signs.

You can see more of the blown out highlights in this night shot.

While most of this photo came out natural, you can’t see any details in my shoes.

How about its selfie camera? I’m not a fan of the Beautification Mode so I left the setting in Auto and it comes out pretty good and pretty faithful to colors. The red in my jacket is similar to its color in real life.

One of the fun features on the ZenFone 3 Zoom is the GIF mode. It’s basically a burst shot where you can take up to 50 images. Afterwards, the app will let you speed up or slow down the GIF or even have it show the image moving in reverse.

 

But the main feature of this phone’s camera is in its name. And we were blown away by the zooming capabilities of the ZenFone 3 Zoom. You might have seen this image on our Instagram page. But we had so much fun playing around with it that there are a couple of samples here:

Relying on the zoom button on top of the shutter button. We went from 1x to 2.3x to 5x in this last shot. As you can see the torii (that red traditional Japanese gate) is still pretty visible in 5x version.

It’s pretty impressive how much detail you get in zoomed in shots even with some movement in the photo.

The first three shots followed the 1x, 2.3x, and 5x options. I accidentally discovered that if you pinch to zoom, the phone can go up to 12x digital zoom. You lose a lot of details and it’s already pixelated but it’s still pretty visible.

What about video? We took a few clips during the Kanda Matsuri (Kanda Festival) in Akihabara. The first one is just in auto, while the second clip is zoomed in a bit. You can see it stutters every now and then when it records movement. But for a non-pro user, that should be good enough.