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Zooming in on the Zenfone 2 vs Galaxy S6 Edge Camera Shootout

There you have it
There you have it

Which One is Better?

Our recent post, Camera Shootout: ASUS Zenfone 2 vs Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, got a whole lot of positive and negative comments. This is a follow-up meant to clarify everything and to put things into better perspective and context.

Did the ASUS Zenfone 2 outperform the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge? The answer is simply: YES and NO. Yes because if your measure is photo brightness in lowlight with HDR, the ASUS Zenfone 2 comes out on top. BUT if you measure over-all photo sharpness, especially down to the pixel level, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge whoops the Zenfone 2 (Pixel Master technology of the Zenfone downsizes the photo which results to grainer pixels if you zoom in. If you take a look at the file sizes of the raw files you’ll see that the S6 Edge has a noticeably bigger file size than the ZF2).

To better illustrate this point, check out the photo samples taken from both phones that we zoomed in above. It is fairly self-explanatory.

ASUS is clearly positioning their camera capabilities on taking better shots in low-light conditions which is reflected in their slogan “See What Others Can’ See”. Their take on mobile photography definitely has a lot of advantages but it also has downsides as you can see in the sample shot above. It’s a bold move on their part and we’re interested to see how the market will respond to it.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Full Review
ASUS Zenfone 2 Initial Review

Carlo Ople

Carlo is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Unbox.ph. During daytime he’s the Managing Director and Partner of a Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines and by nighttime he’s living out his passion as a gadget enthusiast and story teller through Unbox.

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  1. I looked at the shots again. I thought the S6 was better when I first saw them. My opinion hasn’t changed.

    Butterfly shot (Low Light)- this only proves that the night mode setting on the Zenfone is more sensitive to light. Think ISO boost. Kinda gimicky if you ask me. This doesn’t automatically equate to better real world shots.

    Castle shot (HDR) – Again, just like the night node, this shows that ASUS’s HDR mode is made to be more sensitive to light making it easier for the HDR processing to make decisions. I personally, wouldn’t shoot in HDR 100% of the time. Processing time matters!

    Lego shot (Macro) – S6 is the clear winner in sharpness (see “lego” prints on the blocks), noise handling and color and contrast representation. The Zenfone shot looks overexposed to me.

    Model Shot (Ambient light) – Another win for the S6 on all points just like the macro shot. It’s quite plain to see.

    To say that “…the Zenfone 2 ZE551ML managed to meet and exceed the performance of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge.” is exaggerating at best.

    1. exag talaga n nagiging bias na.. sa gsmarena kabaliktaran dito, may full review sila sa zenfone 2 at s6 edge.

  2. For a more comprehensive LOW-LIGHT performance comparison, please take pictures of the following:
    1. human beings
    2. nighttime (outside) scenery (ex: skyline, streets, parking lot, buildings, etc.)

  3. yup, the unbox comparison confirms it..medyo may watercolor-effect nga sa shots ng zenfone 2. πŸ™
    sana maglabas sila ng update fix..

    1. The water color effect is caused by Asus Image optimization feature, which could be turned off manually.

      But Samsung’s exposure setting is still more intelligent than any other phones today. Lesser over-exposed or under-exposed shots.

      1. its not really an exposure setting. its all about the sensor on how larger it is and how it handles dynamic range. Samsung has truly installed one of the best camera phone sensors in the world thats why the images it captures has the best dynamic rangle and very well exposed images than any other phone camera. Only the iphone 6plus comes close, not even the HTC One M9.
        Remember how bloggers bashed the camera on the htc one because its camera captures images with poor dynamic range. Same case sa zenfone na overexposed palagi or underexposed ang images. Walang case na well exposed yung images especially when shooting in harshed lighting conditions.

  4. As i said before, the way the photo was taken for the S6 is lazy. If you look at both pictures from the previous article about the camera, the focus point of each picture clearly wasn’t the same. The Zenfone 2 focus point was on the Lego man while the S6 focus point was on the bottom left of the picture.

  5. Why would you compare a camera phone having HDR is turn on on both? This is the worst thing Ive ever heard/read. Dapat talaga Auto lahat ng settings para makita yung capabilities ng phone. And also not all HDR works the way others do, lahat may ibat-ibang image prcessing sa HDR. So please Unbox make a very comprehensive review with this. It doesnt show justice.

  6. I own neither one of this, however, I don’t see the big fuss among Samsung owners. You can comfortably rest knowing that your phone is better than the Asus. It should be. After all, it is more than twice the price.

    But what the heck, both of which cannot compare favorably with my Nikon D4s. Hehehe. Peace people.

    1. yep ofcourse everyone can agree even entry level dslr walang laban tong mga mobile phones, but then again, you can’t also boast of your dslr camera to be pocketable lol~

  7. sus, bumili na lang kayo ng range finder/ ILC/ DSLR kung ang pagbabasehan niyo sa pagbili ng phone e camera, just look zenfone 2 even at top end specs is half the price of galaxy s6 edge, if you’re practical, base it on the performance/price ratio, now if fanboyism is involved, buy what damn brand you want

  8. i used to enjoy reading unbox posts, before they put a review or phone info they spend time on it, but now its just a race of who’s posting the new things up 1st… now i love to read the comments rather than the post its more informative really

    1. Hi AJ!

      Thanks for your feedback. We’re constantly trying to improve the quality, speed, and frequency of our content. I hope you do keep coming back and see the improvement as the days go by.

      Unbox EIC

    2. im still an unbox.ph fan nonetheless πŸ™‚ thanks for the reply i think i said something that hit the spot for you to notice and actually reply to my comment.. more power guys… (y)

  9. Asus fan here.

    But just no. The camera of the Zenfone 2 doesn’t outperform the S6. It doesn’t even come close. Lowlight is good, yes, but other than that, the camera is just simply disappointing. I guess one of the main reason is that they opted for a Toshiba sensor instead of the Sony sensor which they used on the previous generation Zenfone. Higher megapixel doesn’t necessarily mean better shots. The camera of the Zenfone 2 is subpar. The Zenfone 5 and 6 has better shots than that of the Zenfone 2. Zenfone 2 ids clearer, yes, but it’s not smoother.

    1. Toshiba sensors is better than the exmor R for mobile itself from sony.

      Nokia N8 uses toshiba, Pureview 808 also and lumia 1020 all three are excellent in image quality it took many generations of exmor R from sony to match them, and to date there’s no clear evidence that the latest 2014 flagship droid with latest sensor from sony outperformed the Pureview 808 in terms of pure image quality despite of the latter had an aging front illuminated sensor.

      Now the problem with the zenfone 2 is not from the sensor but its how they (Asus) tweaked it like the old king Nokia.

      Anyway as for the comparison…

      I just wonder if unboxph had many reviewers or just one person.

      Quote: “We’re very impressed with the camera performance of the Zenfone 2 so far” -unboxph

      Which is unimpressive in most international reviewer such as gsmarena.

      And I agree with them and in fact according to their camera tool and samples, the shots from zenfone 2 are unfortunately unimpressive compare to some older droid.

      If you had a previous reviewed droid either just recently or a few years ago which is better than zenfone 2 then why telling “impressed” despite the “new” device had a mediocre and worst than the previous reviewed droid.

      Smell like a little biased isn’t it? πŸ™‚

      Well I don’t say copy some international reviewers, they’re many but I see the “consistency” in their reviews despite of they’re different from one another.

      I don’t see the improvement from a new generation from an older device by just telling “we’re impressed” or ” I like the sounds and loud enough to hear from my pocket” which I always read here πŸ™‚

      1. It’s not the Toshiba sensor that makes the Nokia 808 PureView Camera stand out. It’s the camera optics used. They used Carl Zeiss which is far better than Sony optics. If you look at android models sporting a Toshiba sensor, nothing compares to the output of Sony sensors except for that of Microsoft lumia phones.

        And I think you are also right about the part where they tweaked it. It’s not as impressive as their previous flagships when they first got out.

        Maybe I’m wrong, but I prefer a smoother detail rather than a more detailed but noisier output.

      2. To add to that, I think that Toshiba sensors are superior in DSLRs, although it’s quite unclear which is better because Nikon uses both, and Nikon produces great images. I think it still depends on the build.

        Toshiba sensors, i guess, are just not built for mobile photography. They are better off in large cameras.

  10. The fact that Asus’ zenfone 2 is being pitted against the likes of Samsung galaxy S6 is more than enough for them to be happy.

    Of course photo quality will (must) go to te S6. But for a mere 12k phone to actually compared to a 40k phone is an achievement in itself. Expecting it to win, though, is a pipe dream.

    Still, zenfone 2 will be the more practical buy.

    1. If you like to take good quality pictures without having a cumbersome photocamera with you then the quality of the Zenfone becomes worrying. I saw some shots taken by a friend in Taipei and didn’t even come close to a Galaxy. And my Lumia 1520 simply outperformed both, especially in low light, sunsets and other specific conditions. I like the Zenfone but the reason why i won’t buy it to substitute my Note II in the Android platform is EXACTLY the photocamera. I’ll go look for the LG G4 despite me not being a fan of LG (I have had basically all Galaxy Note except the 4 because i got disappointed with the 3). They could have made it just a tad more expensive and put a good camera in it.
      It’s saddening…especially because living in Taiwan you get them for really cheap.

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