Zenfone Zoom Camera Capability (Hardware) Is Not Fully Available (ZX551ML)


#1

Hello, connoisseurs and developers! I have a little big frustration over how Asus develops software for their mobile devices. I have a Zenfone Zoom (ZX551ML), which is a marvelous piece of hardware that is, unfortunately, neglected big time in terms of software implementation. Don’t get me wrong, the software is good enough - fluent interface, a plethora of functions and lots of customization; it’s just that some things that are possible technically aren’t supported by it (the stock firmware or whatever).

For instance, this device’s front camera is the famous Omnivision OV5670. According to the official papers, this little thing is capable of recording 1080p videos at 60 frames per second (pretty amazing, right?). However, Asus allows only 30. Also, it can capture 480p videos at 120 fps - that would be its Slow Motion mode. None of that is possible from Asus’ support however. Instead, it captures 1080p “slow motion” videos that are a total joke - they’re actually slowed down 30 fps videos that are turned into a laggy and pathetic 6 or 7 fps rate. (If you’ll check, many people reported this on forums.)

What about the rear camera, the main attraction and the star of this supposed and alleged camera phone? Well, the rear sensor’s make and model are completely unknown. Hardware-info-gathering apps only show “Fujitsu M10MO”, which is the image processing engine, not the sensor. The “slow motion” videos captured by it are as pathetic as those from the front-facing camera and it shoots at 30 fps as well.

It shoots decent and good quality videos, but it could have been MUCH BETTER. Regarding the slow motion capture, I don’t know why they did that idiotic 6 or 7 fps thing, and I don’t know why they don’t allow 60 fps shooting. Is it because of a possible overheating of the device? Well, at least they could do what Sony did - warn the user regarding dangerous or at-limit temperatures being reached and close the app/process/recording. That is what a decent engineering compromise would have been like. I know that, to keep things safe (the temperature and other hardware parameters), you need to decrease the resolution in order to increase the frame rate. I wouldn’t be bothered by a 480p format as long as it’s PROPERLY slowed down. Those 7fps “slow motion” videos are simply awful. 2008’s Samsung i900 Omnia records AUTHENTIC and better slow motion videos than these high end devices, even if the resolution is crappy.

Also, another thing that completely bugs me is the lack of RAW support. An XDA developer managed to create an app for the Zenfone 2 (ZE551ML) that can capture RAW pictures, in the DNG format; it’s called Raw Dumper. In Zenfone Zoom, it would only work for the front camera and you would need a rooted device for this app to work. Is there a way to make this thing possible without root, and also for the rear camera of the Zenfone Zoom?

I’m not a programmer or a developer; I only know that the Camera 2 API level for this device is “Legacy”, if that helps, which means lossless photo capture/RAW isn’t supported. Is there a way to change it to a level 3 or anything like that? Also, it’s running on Android 6.

Another thing that bothers me would be the lack of support for stereo audio recording. Even if it has two microphones, the 2nd one is only allowed to be used and work for noise suppression. I would also like 32-bit recordings at higher rates… like 192000 Hz. Currently, it’s defaulted at a rate of 48000 Hz and a bit depth of 16, like most devices.

I don’t know if I am being too pretentious or too exigent; I just don’t want to have to use third-party OTG devices to capture professional material that could come out of this device’s onboard sensors. LG V20 has a likewise quad-core CPU clocked at a similar frequency and it’s able to do these things flawlessly. I don’t know why so many manufacturers, including Asus, choose to limit and waste their hardware potential and resources like that. Things can be much better!

Is there any developer who’d have an interest in approaching these issues for this particular device? Thank you very much; I hope somebody will read my message!


#2

@Zaid_Rynes Your question was quite technical that’s why It hasn’t been answered by anyone. I got what you are saying but if the company is not offering these features then why someone would be buying this phone and I don’t think its an easy job to rewire a complete software with all the controls. May be you should try some other apps that may have functionality to manuplate the software.


#3

I was asking myself if there are developers interested in… basically hacking these devices and (potentially) working with low level programming. People did it before. I’m not getting any replies because there aren’t any developers interested I guess, haha…

Besides, I want to know why are these limitations and if they are linked to hardware at all. It may be due to the ISP (image signal processor)… the fact that 60 fps cannot work as a format… it might be a CPU thing. I was wondering if any engineer could clear things up for me. Asus’ official forums are very poor and the assistants are unprepared.

But still, there are phones that have the same ISP and they can record 720p videos in slow motion (120 fps) without any issue. And the lack of RAW support cannot be justified by any means.

RAW capture is strictly a software thing; every camera captures RAW data.


#4

Yes, You’re correct. Every phone captures RAW photos but there are many phones out there that don’t have camera 2 API including your phone. I also thought that it was a software thing in the beginning but after learning more about it, I came to know that it wasn’t possible with my processor. There is much more in a phone then these things that controls all the functions of your phones camera as well as video features.
I’d prefer that you should get a new phone that supports all these features if you’re really frustrated. Just my opinion.


#5

Thank you very much for your interest! Well, my phone definitely has Camera2 API, but there are more levels of Camera2 API: “Legacy”, “Limited”, “Full” and “Level_3”. RAW support comes only with “Level_3”, and mine is “Legacy”. The Zenfone 2 is a “Legacy” device too (very similar to mine), and somebody managed to bypass the whole thing and hacked it by making an app for RAW capture, modifying the kernel. It’s called “Raw Dumper” and it works flawlessly.

What phone and what processor are you referring to? In theory, every phone captures RAW data and then processes it into lossy and cheap JPEG images. It’s just that some of them make it possible for this RAW to be attained along with the JPEG.