Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Returning from a pause in posts over the last couple of weeks, lets start the year afresh with a non-restaurant but food related blog. In this post I’ll be writing about one of the aspects of a food blog that is often missed upon by readers and is usually taken as granted. Apart from tasting and writing about the dishes in a restaurant, a major emphasis also is on the pictures that are clicked which helps the readers to attribute the flavours that are described.

But the biggest enemy I face as a food blogger is the low light conditions in 8 out of 10 restaurants that I visit. Yes, aesthetically it is best for a restaurant to be dim lit or lit in dark colours but it’s a photographer’s nightmare. First and foremost, the use of a flash becomes unavoidable and this raises a lot of eyebrows on the adjacent tables. We do understand that at times it touches the borderline of disturbance to the other patrons but we are left with no other choice. Another issue with using flash is that the dark colour ceiling often absorbs majority of the flash and we still end of with a half baked picture that needs to be colour corrected. Only other option to avoid this embarrassment of using a flash is to use the camera on the mobile phone. Agreed, it won’t be as perfect as a DSLR but mobile pictures have their own advantages such as being able to instantly sharing on social media.

However again here the issue becomes of clarity and resolution. Only high end smartphones on the lines of Apple iPhone & Samsung S series are capable of handling low light photography. Nevertheless, the situation seemingly is changing with manufacturers emphasizing on better camera features even on mid segment mobiles. One such manufacturer is ASUS. As part of testing their new ZenFone 2 Laser range of mobile phones, I was provided a test mobile by ASUS India to evaluate and understand the phone camera’s performance.

To begin with, the standout feature in the ZenFone 2 Laser has to be the laser focussing that it uses as against the conventional contrast focussing other mobiles use. This not only enables a quick and better focus, it helps a lot under low light conditions as the laser is independent of ambient light and can provide the sensor with an accurate focus. The next feature that I felt was outstanding was the Low Light mode. Although this brings the resolution down to 3MP but it can really brighten the image. If you can hold your hand steady, then this mode can do wonders. With about 16 camera modes in total, the variety of settings ensure there is a mode for all needs. One thing that really helps for semi-pro photographers like me are the full Manual mode. When it comes to clicking food, having control over ISO & Depth of Field can catapult a low light image from zero to a hero.

Considering the overall speed of the phone interface and the possibility of having an external memory card along with a sleek design, makes the ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser a perfect companion for restaurant reviews along with my professional camera kit. ASUS also has a cute little LolliFlash that combines a dual flash and can be skinned with three skins that provide either a white, red or blue tint to the image.

Some of the images shot using the ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser are below,










Street Food & Low Light Photography just became much much easier.

P.S: This is not an advertisement nor is it a paid review. I was only provided with an ASUS ZenFone2 Laser mobile phone to evaluate its performance and capability.

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