OnePlus 6 Vs Zenfone 5Z Camera Comparison: Closer Than You’d Think

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The OnePlus 6 (Review), ever since its launch has been making new records for the brand as it offered a true ‘flagship grade’ experience at a reasonable price. While there have been likes of Honor 10 and Vivo X21 (Review) who tried but failed to threaten the juggernaut, Asus Zenfone 5Z (Review) has indeed established itself as the closest alternative. The Asus Zenfone 5Z grunts at OnePlus 6 by offering similar ‘flagship grade’ features at a much more pocket-friendly price.

Both OnePlus 6 and Zenfone 5Z have top of the line hardware, user-friendly software, and mostly evenly matched specs. Which is why deciding which is better narrows down to their camera performance. We pitted the mighty OnePlus 6 against the Asus Zenfone 5Z. Let’s clear the confusion once and for all in the detailed camera comparison that follows.

Camera Hardware and App

The Asus Zenfone 5Z and OnePlus 6 both boast of dual optics at the back and mono lens on the front. However, both are way apart in their choice of sensor and implementation of the dual camera setup. OnePlus opted for 16MP+20MP configuration with f/1.7 aperture. The Zenfone 5Z on the other hand, houses a 12MP+8MP (wide-angle) lens with f/1.8 and f/2.0 aperture respectively.

Apart from the megapixel count what really set these two phones apart is the sensor and pixel size. The primary sensor on the OnePlus 6 is a Sony IMX519 with 1.22µm pixel size whereas Asus goes for the Sony IMX363 sensor which has slightly bigger pixels 1.4µm. The advantage of larger pixel size means it can collect more data which theoretically results in a brighter image in low light with comparatively less noise.

On the selfie front, the OnePlus 6 depends on a 16-megapixel sensor with f/2.0 aperture and 1.0µm which is double of what Asus has to offer with an 8-megapixel sensor with f/2.0 and 1.12µm.

The user interfaces for the camera app on both phones are clean and easy to navigate. Both phones offer a number of camera modes including Pro mode. While the Zenfone pro mode offers more controls, the OnePlus 6 can output RAW format which come handy in post-processing.

Longshot and Wide Angle

For this camera comparison, we took the first shot of this tall and wide structure which is surrounded by multiple elements. The first image on the left is shot with the OnePlus 6 has clearly much warmer tones and the image is more evenly exposed.

100 percent crop from about image

The image shot with Zenfone 5Z, on the other hand clearly has better details and superior noise compression. The Zenfone 5Z clearly captures wider landscape with its 24mm lens as compared to the OnePlus 6’s 25mm lens.

Similar readings can be drawn from the second set of images as well. The Zenfone 5Z once again captures more details and captures more in the image frame. What came as a surprise is that, for a change, the Zenfone 5Z has shown better dynamic range as compared to the OnePlus 6. Having said that, the image shot with OnePlus 6 this time captures colors closer to the real scene.

For Zenfone 5Z, the second sensor on the rear is 8-megapixel wide angle lens that is used for depth sensing and captures a bigger canvas. In the above gallery, third-shot is taken with the wide-angle secondary camera which captures far bigger canvas but, as you can surely make out, the quality deteriorates.

HDR Shot

These third set of images are shot with HDR turned on for both the devices. Here the OnePlus 6 clearly manages to do a better job with better metering and understands the matrix of highlights and shadow. This results in a more balanced image.

cropped at 100% zoom from above image

The image shot on Zenfone 5Z, on the other hand, feels a tad underexposed. However, details and noise compression are still better on the Zenfone 5Z. Even with a hundred percent zoom, the Zenfone 5Z image is crisp and without any noise or artefacts.

Rear Camera Portrait

The Asus Zenfone 5Z rear camera portrait mode works slightly different from the OnePlus 6. The former gives you an option to fiddle with settings and chooses the f-stop to set blur intensity. The OnePlus 6, on the other hand, does that automatically. I personally favor the Zenfone 5Z between the two phone as it takes more balanced shots without missing out edges or going overboard.  Having said that, the OnePlus 6 portrait mode also does a fairly decent job.

Dynamic Range and Colors

As I have been pointing out throughout this comparison both OnePlus 6 and the Zenfone 5Z are very different when it comes to dynamic range and colors reproduction. In the first set of images, I would like to draw your attention to the helmet of the figurine where OnePlus 6 algorithm do a lot better job than the Zenfone 5Z.
In the second set image, the OnePlus 6 has a fluorescent cast that’s because of the light emitting from the bulb which was the subject of the image. The Zenfone 5Z, on the other hand, tries to fix it with AI. Though the image looks good, it is clearly far from natural.

OnePlus 6 Vs Zenfone 5Z Selfies

Selfies is one area where the OnePlus 6 clearly outshine the Zenfone 5Z. The OP 6 captures better details and has better dynamic range. Images are crisp, have well-balanced exposure and show natural skin tones. Having said that, the Zenfone 5Z once again has an advantage when it comes to portrait mode. It’s edge detection algorithm work better and blurs out background perfectly. The OnePlus 6 at times fumbles while detecting edges.

In dark, both phones use the screen as a flash to capture selfies. The OnePlus 6 image clearly has more details, is evenly exposed, but colors tones are way too warm for my liking. The image shot on the Zenfone 5Z clearly gets the exposure wrong.

OnePlus 6 Vs Zenfone 5Z Low Light Shots

At night, the Zenfone 5Z is a better camera to carry around between the two phones. More so, if you are comfortable shooting in pro mode. The bigger pixels clearly play their part and Asus’ software expertise also helps it keep ISO levels in check without underexposing the image. The OnePlus 6 also manages to do a fair job, but its more lenient approach towards ISO results in excessive noise and lack of details.

OnePlus 6 Vs Zenfone 5Z Video Recording

The OnePlus 6 and the ZenFone 5Z both can shoot videos at 4K resolution up to 60fps. Even though both phones feature OIS, they don’t use it while shooting at max resolution. Both phones manage to record decent videos in good lighting conditions as electronic stabilization proves handy. Out of the two, stabilization works better on OnePlus 6. The 6 also records at a higher bit rate. The OnePlus 6 has a 10 minutes cap for 4K recording whereas Asus support continues recording. Comparing the two, the OnePlus 6 fairs better in terms of video recording.

OnePlus 6 Vs Zenfone 5Z Camera Comparison: Final Thoughts

OnePlus 6 has established itself as the best all weather camera phone under Rs 40,000 but the Asus Zenfone challenges that notion. The OnePlus 6 has an upper hand with better dynamic range and more natural looking colours but the Zenfone 5Z has its own set of advantages that include sharper images, better control over noise in images, and it clearly has a better portrait mode.

Considering everything it is very difficult to name one of these two phones as a clear winner. If we still have to choose one I will prefer to take the OnePlus 6 as it has a much more balanced approach while capturing images and it is more consistent (especially in HDR shots).

What works in favour of OnePlus 6

  • Better Selfies
  • More consistent dynamic range and HDR performance
  • More balanced color tones

What works in favour of Zenfone 5Z

  • Better details in all lighting conditions
  • Better portrait mode for the rear and front camera
  • Better performance in extreme low light
Deepak RajawatDeepak Rajawat
Experienced technology journalist with over 7-years of experience. Before embracing online journalism, he has worked with several legacy publications including print editions at Hindustan Times and The Statesman. He also has a keen interest in Sports, which he used to cover with equal enthusiasm in his early career.

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1 Comment
5 years ago

You forgot to label the portrait shots. Also, is there any option of adjusting focus blur in the selfie portrait ?

Deepak Rajawat
5 years ago

Thanks for pointing out. Will label them right away. As far as adjusting blur settings are concerned, neither phone offers blur adjustment option for selfies.