Mobile

Asus Zenfone 8 Camera review: Compact flagship

Launched in May 2021, the Asus Zenfone 8 is one of the currently most compact flagship-level smartphones. But don’t let the small package fool you. The Asus comes with top-end hardware, including a 5.9-inch Super AMOLED display with 1080 x 2400-pixel resolution and 120 Hz refresh rate, as well as Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line 888 chipset.

In the imaging department, the Zenfone 8 features a dual-camera setup. The primary shooter uses a 64 MP Sony sensor with Quad-Bayer technology and is optically stabilized. The ultra-wide camera widens the field of view to match that of a lens with 14.3 mm (35 mm-equivalent) focal length. You can record up to 8K footage at 24 frames per second in video mode. Let’s see how the Asus Zenfone 8 fared in our DXOMARK Camera tests.

Key camera specifications:

  • Primary: Sony IMX686 1/1.73” 64 MP Quad-Bayer sensor with 0.8 µm pixels, 26.6 mm-equivalent f/1.8-aperture lens, PDAF, OIS
  • Ultra-wide: Sony IMX363 1/2.55″ 12 MP sensor with 1.4 µm pixels, 14.3 mm-equivalent f/2.2-aperture lens, PDAF
  • LED flash
  • 8K at 24fps, 4K at 30/60 fps, 1080p at 30/60 fps (4K at 30 fps tested)

About DXOMARK Camera tests: For scoring and analysis in our smartphone camera reviews, DXOMARK engineers capture and evaluate over 3000 test images and more than 2.5 hours of video both in controlled lab environments and in natural indoor and outdoor scenes, using the camera’s default settings. This article is designed to highlight the most important results of our testing. For more information about the DXOMARK Camera test protocol, click here. More details on how we score smartphone cameras are available here.

Test summary


Asus Zenfone 8

Pros

  • Good texture/noise tradeoff in most conditions
  • Good target exposure in indoor scenes
  • Good subject exposure when tele-zooming, even in backlit scenes
  • Good video color rendering and white balance
  • Good detail in video
  • Effective video stabilization

Cons

  • Exposure instabilities in most scenes
  • Slow autofocus in high-contrast and low-light scenes
  • Inaccurate color in outdoor scenes, especially blue skies
  • Image noise in all conditions
  • Limited dynamic range in videos
  • Noise in low-light videos
  • Judder effect and color fringing in some videos

With a DXOMARK Camera score of 120, the Asus Zenfone 8 makes it into the top group in the DXOMARK Premium segment ranking, on the same level as the Xiaomi Mi 11 and only narrowly beaten by the segment leader, the Apple iPhone 12 (122).

Good overall still image quality for the price bracket results in a Photo score of 126, very close to its direct rival Xiaomi Mi 11 (127) and a few points ahead of the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos) at 123.

The mid-table Zoom score of 54 reflects the lack of an optical tele lens, which results in inferior tele zoom quality compared to many tele-equipped devices. The ultra-wide camera also has room for improvement, though, producing ultra-wide images that are not quite on the same level as most of the Zenfone 8’s segment rivals.

While it’s not the best option for users who like to zoom in or out, the Zenfone 8 does very well in the Video category and its score of 108 puts it among the best picks for mobile photographers in its segment. Keep reading for more details and in-depth comparisons.

Photo

The Asus Zenfone 8 achieves a Photo score of 126. In this section, we take a closer look at each sub-attribute and compare image quality against competitors.

Exposure and Contrast

Asus Zenfone 8

83

111

Huawei P50 Pro
Best: Huawei P50 Pro (111)

In these tests we analyze target exposure, contrast, and dynamic range, including repeatability across a series of images. Tests are undertaken in a wide range of light conditions, including backlit scenes and low light down to 1 lux. The score is derived from a number of objective measurements in the lab and perceptual analysis of real-life images.

These samples show the Asus Zenfone 8’s exposure performance in daylight.

Asus Zenfone 8, usually accurate target exposure, but target exposure in HDR scenes can slightly be low to avoid highlight clipping
Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), good face exposure, some clipping in background
Apple iPhone 12, good face exposure, some clipping in background

Color

Asus Zenfone 8

100

106

Huawei P50 Pro
Best: Huawei P50 Pro (106)

In these tests we analyze color rendering, skin tones, white balance, and color shading, including repeatability across a series of images. The score is derived from a number of objective measurements in the lab and perceptual analysis of real-life images.

These samples show the Asus Zenfone 8’s color performance in daylight.

Asus Zenfone 8, often unpleasant color rendering of blue skies (slightly pink)
Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), pleasant color
Apple iPhone 12, pleasant color

Autofocus

Asus Zenfone 8

89

109

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
Best: Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max (109)

In these tests we analyze autofocus accuracy and shooting time, including repeatability, in the lab. We test focus failures, depth of field, and tracking of moving subjects using perceptual analysis of real-life images.

This graph shows the Asus Zenfone 8’s autofocus performance in the lab at a light level of 1000 lux and a brightness range of 4 EV.

Autofocus performance in daylight (1000 lux) conditions with 4 EV brightness range: the Asus AF is slightly slow in low light and HDR scenes

Texture

Asus Zenfone 8

97

111

Xiaomi Mi 11
Best: Xiaomi Mi 11 (111)

In these tests we analyze texture on faces and objects, including objects in motion, in a range of light conditions, using several lab test setups and perceptual analysis of real-life images.

This graph shows the Asus Zenfone 8’s texture measurements in the lab.

Texture comparison (handheld): the Zenfone 8 delivers good texture across all light levels

Noise

Asus Zenfone 8

81

99

Huawei P50 Pro
Best: Huawei P50 Pro (99)

In these tests we analyze noise on faces and objects, including objects in motion, in a range of light conditions, using several lab test setups and perceptual analysis of real-life images.

These samples show the Asus Zenfone 8’s noise performance in low light.

Bokeh

Asus Zenfone 8

60

80

Huawei P50 Pro
Best: Huawei P50 Pro (80)

For these tests we switch to the camera’s bokeh or portrait mode and analyze depth estimation, bokeh shape, blur gradient, and repeatability, as well as all other general image quality attributes mentioned above. The score is derived from perceptual analysis of real-life images.

These samples show the Asus Zenfone 8’s bokeh simulation in daylight.

Asus Zenfone 8, depth artifacts (top part of the grid, hair) and noise
Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), strong depth artifacts (top part of the grid)
Apple iPhone 12, slight depth artifacts (blurred grid, hair)

Night

Asus Zenfone 8

47

82

Huawei Mate 40 Pro+
Best: Huawei Mate 40 Pro+ (82)

In these tests we shoot a selection of images in pitch-black darkness as well as with city lights in the background providing some illumination. We shoot sample images with the camera at default settings in both flash-auto and flash-off modes. We analyze all image quality attributes but we pay particular attention to exposure, autofocus, and color. We do not test night modes that have to be activated manually.

These samples show the Asus Zenfone 8’s night performance in flash-off mode.

Asus Zenfone 8, flash-off: underexposure on background, inaccurate color rendering
Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), flash-off: slight color cast
Apple iPhone 12, flash-off: good target exposure and color rendering

Artifacts

Asus Zenfone 8

72

75

Google Pixel 4
Best: Google Pixel 4 (75)

In these tests we check images for optical artifacts such as vignetting, flare, lens softness in the corners, distortion, and chromatic aberrations, as well as for processing artifacts such as ghosting and fusion errors, hue shift, and ringing.

This sample shows hue shift artifacts in an outdoor scene.

Asus Zenfone 8, artifacts

Asus Zenfone 8, crop: hue shifts are often visible around clipped areas

Preview

Asus Zenfone 8

64

77

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
Best: Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max (77)

In these tests we analyze the image quality of the preview image and the differences between preview images and captured images, particularly in terms of exposure, dynamic range, and bokeh effect. We also check the smoothness of the field-of-view changes in the preview image when zooming with both buttons or when using the pinch-zoom gesture.

These samples show the Asus Zenfone 8’s preview performance in an indoor setting.

Asus Zenfone 8, preview: accurate target exposure but limited dynamic range
Asus Zenfone 8, final image: similar exposure to preview but better dynamic range

Zoom

The Asus Zenfone 8 achieves a Zoom score of 54. The Zoom score includes the tele and wide sub-scores. In this section, we take a closer look at how these sub-scores were achieved and compare zoom image quality against the competitors.

Wide

Asus Zenfone 8

30

57

Huawei P50 Pro
Best: Huawei P50 Pro (57)

In these tests we analyze the performance of the ultra-wide camera at several focal lengths from 12 to 20 mm. We look at all image quality attributes, but we pay particular attention to such artifacts as chromatic aberrations, lens softness, and distortion.

These samples show the performance of the Asus Zenfone 8’s ultra-wide camera in indoor conditions.

Asus Zenfone 8, ultra-wide: noise, lack of detail, slight white balance cast
Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), ultra-wide: noise, slight lack of detail, white balance cast
Apple iPhone 12, ultra-wide: noise, lack of detail, white balance cast

Tele

Asus Zenfone 8

70

140

Huawei P50 Pro
Best: Huawei P50 Pro (140)

In these tests we analyze all image quality attributes at focal lengths from approximately 40 to 300 mm, paying particular attention to texture and detail. The score is derived from a number of objective measurements in the lab and perceptual analysis of real-life images.

These samples show the Asus Zenfone 8’s tele performance at a close-range zoom setting in daylight

Asus Zenfone 8, close-range zoom

Asus Zenfone 8, crop: good face exposure, slight noise and lack of detail

Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), close-range zoom

Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), crop: good face exposure, noise, slight lack of detail

Apple iPhone 12, close-range zoom

Apple iPhone 12, crop: underexposed face, noise, lack of detail

Video

In our Video tests we analyze the same image quality attributes as for still images, such as exposure, color, texture or noise, but we also include such temporal aspects as speed, and smoothness and stability of exposure, white balance and autofocus transitions.

NOTE: The sample video clips in this section are best viewed at 4K resolution. 

The Asus Zenfone 8 achieves a Video score of 108. A device’s overall Video score is derived from its performance and results across a range of attributes in the same way as the Photo score. In this section, we take a closer look at these sub-scores and compare video image quality against competitors.

Exposure and Contrast

Asus Zenfone 8

82

103

Huawei P50 Pro
Best: Huawei P50 Pro (103)

These video stills show the Asus Zenfone 8’s video exposure in a high-contrast scene.

Asus Zenfone 8, video still, limited dynamic range, highlight clipping
Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), video still, good dynamic range, highlight clipping well controlled
Google Pixel 5, video still, some highlight clipping

Color

Asus Zenfone 8

101

105

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
Best: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (105)

These video stills show the Asus Zenfone 8’s video color in daylight.

Asus Zenfone 8, video still, accurate color rendering and white balance
Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), slight color cast
Google Pixel 5, video still, slight color cast

Autofocus

Asus Zenfone 8

85

108

Huawei P50 Pro
Best: Huawei P50 Pro (108)

These sample clips show the Asus Zenfone 8’s video autofocus performance in daylight.

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Asus Zenfone 8, focus does not lock on model

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Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), focus on model

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Google Pixel 5, focus on model

Texture

Asus Zenfone 8

87

97

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
Best: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (97)

These video stills show the Asus Zenfone 8’s video texture performance in indoor conditions.

Noise (93)

This graph shows the Asus Zenfone 8’s video noise performance in the lab.

Video noise comparison: noise is visible in Zenfone 8 video clips, especially in low light. However, noise levels are similar or lower than the comparison devices.

Artifacts

Asus Zenfone 8

82

94

Oppo Find X2 Pro
Best: Oppo Find X2 Pro (94)

For video artifacts, we check for the same kinds of artifacts mentioned in the Photo section, along with such video-specific artifacts as frame rate variation in different light conditions, judder effect, and moving artifacts (artifacts such as aliasing, color quantization, and flare can often be more intrusive when moving than in a still image).

This video shows a judder effect when panning the camera.

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Artifacts: the Zenfone 8 does not feature adaptive frame rates in video. At a constant frame rate pf 30 fps, a judder effect is visible when panning.

Stabilization

Asus Zenfone 8

97

102

Huawei P50 Pro
Best: Huawei P50 Pro (102)

In these tests we analyze residual motion when handholding the camera during recording, as well as when walking and running with the camera. We also look for stabilization artifacts such as jello effect, sharpness differences between frames, and frame shift (abrupt changes of framing).

This sample clip shows the Asus Zenfone 8’s video stabilization in outdoor conditions.

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Asus Zenfone 8, effective stabilization

[embedded content]

Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos), some residual motion

[embedded content]

Google Pixel 5, effective stabilization

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