Camera comparison: ZenFone 3 Zoom vs iPhone 7 Plus

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The ASUS  ZenFone 3 Zoom and Apple iPhone 7 Plus both have 12-megapixel dual camera systems that operate in a similar way. However, that is where the similarities end. In this section we do a technical comparison between the two smartphones’ cameras using their stock camera apps.

ZenFone 3 Zoom
zenfone3zoom
iPhone 7 Plus
iphone7plus
SuperPixel Main Camera Zoom Camera Main camera Zoom camera
Resolution 12 Megapixels
Focal length 25 mm 59 mm 28 mm 56 mm
Optical zoom 1 x 2.3 x 1 x 2.0 x
Digital zoom 1 x Up to 12 x 1 x Up to 10x
Aperture f/1.7 f/2.6 f/1.8 f/2.8
Sensor size 1/2.55″ 1/3.42″ 1/3” 1/3.6”
Pixel size 1.4 mm 1.0 mm 1.22 mm 1.0 mm
Focusing technologies ASUS TriTech+ with:
Dual Pixel Phase Detection
2nd Gen Laser
Contrast (Continuous subject tracking) Detection
Contrast Detection AF Phase Detection Contrast Detection AF
Stock camera app shooting aspect ratios 16:9 (default)
4:3
Panorama
4:3 (default)
1:1
Panorama
Shooting modes 17 preset photo modes including 11 effects, 2 video modes Two other modes: Portrait and Pano, with 8 effects
Manual control White balance
Exposure value
ISO
Camera selection
Shutter speed
Focus
None

Focal ranges and apertures – The iPhone 7 Plus’s dual camera system consists of a 25mm main camera and a 56mm zoom camera. In both cases, the ZenFone 3 Zoom’s cameras supersede those of the iPhone 7 Plus with a main camera that offers a wider 25mm field of view, and a zoom camera extends the focal range to a longer 59mm. This gives ZenFone 3 owners the ability to cover slightly wider landscapes and zoom in closer to distant or small subjects. For both cameras, the ZenFone 3 Zoom also offers wider apertures of f/1.7 and f/2.6 respectively, allowing more light through to the sensor.

Aspect ratios – The stock camera app of the iPhone 7 Plus limits users to shooting in either a 4:3 or 1:1 (square) aspect ratio. On the other hand the ZenFone 3 Zoom’s camera app offers users the option to shoot in a full 12-megapixel resolution, 4:3 aspect ratio or a default 8 megapixel, 16:9 rectangular aspect ratio that perfectly fits most laptop displays as well as all Full HD or 4K TVs without showing unsightly black bars at the sides. Combined with the wide angle of the main camera, the ZenFone 3 Zoom is able to shoot more natural looking 16:9 panoramic landscape photos compared to the iPhone 7 Plus.

Main camera focal length and aspect ratio comparison

ZenFone Zoom S: 16:9, 8 megapixel photo shot using the SuperPixel Main camera at 1.0x (25mm) zoom showing a wider angle of coverage and more natural looking panoramic presentation of the landscape p_20170218_160420_vhdr_auto iPhone 7 Plus: Full 12-megapixel resolution 4:3 photo shot using the main camera at 1.0x (29mm) zoomimg_0806
ZenFone 3 Zoom: 16:9, 8 megapixel photo shot using the SuperPixel Main camera at 1.0x (25mm) zoom showing a wider angle of coverage and more natural looking panoramic presentation of the landscape iPhone 7 Plus: Full 12-megapixel resolution 4:3 photo shot using the main camera at 1.0x (29mm) zoom

Zoom camera comparison

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ZenFone 3 Zoom: 2.3x (59mm) optical zoom. Shot from same distance to the subject as the iPhone 7 Plus, the ZenFone 3 Zoom is able to isolate the subject by excluding more of the background (notice the wall columns), making it better for portraits in this respect. Color also looks more similar to the actual scene thanks to the Color Correction Sensor that makes the blue of the soldier’s uniform appear the shade it should. iPhone 7 Plus: 2.0x (56mm) optical zoom. Gives the scene a slightly warm tinge that makes the skin tone of the subject look a little more natural. However, the wider angle of the zoom lens has included more of the background that distracts from the subject.
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ZenFone 3 Zoom: 2.3x (59mm) optical zoom. Again, shot from the same distance as the iPhone 7 Plus, the ZenFone 3 Zoom is able to create greater depth for photos of small subjects. iPhone 7 Plus: 2.0x (56mm) optical zoom.

Light sensitivity and low light shooting – The larger pixels of the ZenFone 3 Zoom, coupled with its larger apertures for both its cameras compared to the iPhone 7 Plus, make it a more accomplished low light smartphone camera.

Low light comparison

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ZenFone 3 Zoom (Auto mode) iPhone 7 Plus (Auto mode) – only available mode
ZenFone 3 Zoom (Night mode). Designed for low light shots, this mode slows the shutter speed slightly and raises the ISO sensitivity of the sensor to brighten subjects in a night scene. No dedicated night mode on the iPhone 7 Plus

ZenFone 3  Zoom Manual mode – Impossible on iPhone 7 plus’ stock camera app, the ZenFone 3 Zoom lets enthusiast users set their own photo settings to photograph scenes in the many ways they can be presented. Just like with a Digital SLR camera, settings including White Balance (WB), Exposure Value (EV), ISO sensitivity, Manual Focus, and even the camera lens can be manually selected. The highlight of the manual controls is the slow shutter mode that is able to create amazing looking low light scenes such as surreal-looking night landscapes or those light trails.

Manual mode comparison

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ZenFone 3 Zoom: 2.3x zoom camera used. Manual mode, 2 second exposure, ISO 200: Shot from a tripod with a slow shutter speed and lower ISO, the photographer captured the falling waterfall as an artistic, silky blur. The lower ISO selected also helps to control the graininess of the photo. iPhone 7 Plus: 2.3x Zoom camera used. Auto ¼ second exposure, ISO 400: The iPhone 7 Plus assumed the user is not shooting from a tripod and automatically set a ¼ second shutter speed for this photo which does not have the silky water flow effect of the ZenFone 3 Zoom’s photo, and the ISO 400 ISO set also made the photo look a little grainier.
img_0855
ZenFone 3 Zoom: Manual mode, 2 second exposure, ISO 50: Shot from a tripod with a slow shutter speed and the lowest ISO setting possible, the photographer captured the scene with the vast uniform surfaces of the sky and river showing as little grain as possible thanks to the low ISO setting. iPhone 7 Plus: auto ¼ second exposure, ISO 250: Again, the iPhone 7 Plus automatically assumed the user is not shooting from a tripod and chose a ¼ second shutter speed for this photo. The higher ISO 250 set by the iPhone 7 Plus made the sky look a little grainier.

Summary – The iPhone 7 Plus has good camera hardware and a camera app that has been designed for general photographers to achieve good results with as little effort as possible. Overall, it succeeds in achieving this goal with its ultra-simple interface and generally good specifications. On the other hand, the superior camera and lens specifications of the ZenFone 3 Zoom’s cameras, together with its comprehensive camera app and powerful photo editing software, allows its users to match the performance of the iPhone 7 Plus. The most important aspect of the ZenFone 3 Zoom is its ability to empower users in learning the technical art of photography – so they can unleash their creativity and fully control the camera to present scenes limited only by their imagination.

The fact that the ZenFone 3 Zoom is about half the price of the iPhone 7 Plus is a bonus.

Learn more about the ZenFone 3 Zoom S