Cameras have never really been high on the priority list for the ROG Phone line. We get it. ASUS is consistently delivering the best mobile gaming experience it can to users. Everything else ends up further down the priorities list. Even so, past ROG Phone models have managed to include a solid, if unimpressive, camera setup.
The ROG Phone 6D and 6D Ultimate have an identical camera setup, one that is borrowed straight from the other ROG Phone 6 phones. Just like with most aspects of the ROG Phone 6D Ultimate, you can check our extensive ROG Phone 6 Pro review for more info. However, camera performance depends on more than just the camera hardware. Since the ROG Phone 6D Ultimate has a new chipset, it also has a new ISP, hence likely different processing. Let's jump in.
The main camera is based on the 50MP Sony IMX766 sensor. It's got a 40% larger sensor than last year, and it's is a fairly-popular Quad Bayer sensor used by a number of BBK devices like Oppo, vivo and OnePlus models. It has a 1/1.56" size with 1.0µm individual pixels. Nothing too glamorous or spectacular. There is no OIS, Laser AF and just a simple one-LED flash setup. Even so, the sensor itself is solid.
Complementing the main 50MP camera, the ROG Phone 6D/6D Ultimate has a rather unremarkable 13MP ultrawide (OmniVision OV13B, as reported by the OS). It has a 125-degree field of view. Last and probably least - a 5MP macro, f/2.0 camera. As per our hardware-digging efforts, it actually uses an OmniVision OV8856 sensor, which has a native resolution of 8MP. It acts as a dedicated macro shooter, which is, arguably, a bit better than simply having a depth sensor. The ultrawide and macro cameras are carried over from the ROG Phone 5/5s and are not too dissimilar from those on the ROG Phone 3 either. Not that we have anything against such a practice.
The ROG Phone 6D/6D Ultimate borrows the 12MP snapper from its Zenfone 8 sibling on the selfie side. It is based on the Sony IMX663 - a 1/2.93" sensor with 1.22µm individual pixels. Unfortunately, in the ROG Phone 6, it lacks autofocus for some reason.
The ROG camera app UI is a fairly custom affair. We would say it is surprisingly feature-rich without being chaotic. You can head to our ROG Phone 6 Pro review to tour the app and its features.
The main 50MP camera captures solid shots. Since it uses a Quad-Bayer sensor, these are saved in 12.5MP by default. Detail is plenty. Everything is nice and sharp, even towards the edges of the frame. Colors look nice and natural without being oversaturated or too dull. Contrast is good.
There are some issues with dynamic range, but nothing colossal. Pixel-peeping reveals a bit of aggressive sharpening, but again well within reason. Certain fine patterns can exhibit both chromatic aberration and moire fringing. But now we're just nitpicking.
Shooting in 50MP mode is possible, and you do stand to gain a noticeable amount of fine detail in the shots. These don't take all that long to capture either, perhaps just a second, which just leaves the consideration of large file size to deal with.
However, we should note that the aforementioned chromatic aberration and moire fringing issues are much more prevalent when shooting in 50MP mode. Plus, you can also notice the sharpening of small details when zooming in.
The ROG Phone 6D Ultimate lacks a dedicated telephoto, but it can still capture quite competent 2x zoom photos from the main camera. These have most of the quality characteristics of 1x stills.
However, the sharpening of smaller objects and details is a lot easier to notice, and it sometimes borders on excessive. We rarely saw any actual oversharpening artifacts in the frame, but certain things like leaves can still look like an oil painting with sharp, drawn-in outlines. That's mostly a problem if you start zooming in, though and hardly noticeable in 1:1 size.
The main camera can also capture very decent portrait shots. Subject detection and separation are on point 90% of the time, with very few occasional mistakes on busier backgrounds, and we really like the quality of the bokeh effect.
Skin texture and tone, while not bad, can use some work to look more natural. That's not a problem when shooting non-human subjects, though, which works out great with practically no complaints regarding subject detection and separation.
Before we move on, here's how the main camera on the ROG Phone 6D Ultimate stacks up against the competition in our vast photo compare database. We include samples in both 12.5MP and 50MP resolutions.
The 13MP ultrawide camera holds up very well too. Detail is good for this type of camera. The colors in particular, are great and are a very good match to the main camera's. Edge softness is very minimal, and so is barrel distortion, although depending on the scene, you can notice the algorithmic corrections that have taken place.
We only wish the ultrawide camera had autofocus, so it could double for macro shots. Instead, the ROG Phone 6D Ultimate has a dedicated 5MP macro snapper. It's nothing fancy but gets the job done.
Unfortunately, it lacks autofocus, and the focal distance is a bit too far for our liking, meaning you can't really get all that close to your subject.
We are pretty pleased with the performance of the 12MP selfie camera as well. It also captures plenty of detail. Skin texture looks nice and convincing with pleasing tones.
There is no autofocus, but the focus depth is reasonable. Face detection makes sure your face is properly exposed.
Portraits from the selfie camera live up to expectations as well. The overall quality is the same as far as the subject is concerned. Detection and separation are great, even if not perfect, and the bokeh quality is really high and convincing.
We expected the ROG Phone 6D/6D Ultimate to not have 8K video recording as the MediaTek Dimensity 9000+ should be capped at 4K but Asus and Mediatek have worked together to bring 8K to the Phone 6D lineup.
The 4K video samples we captured came in a standard h.264 AVC video stream of just over 50 Mbps, along with a standard AVC 48 kHz stereo audio stream inside an MP4 container. The usual affair. These clips look great with a flagship level of detail, great dynamic range and good contrast.
Colors are very lively, perhaps even a bit too saturated, and the ROG Phone 6D Ultimate has a tendency to overexpose on occasion. Both are small gripes.
Here's how the main camera stacks up against the competition in our extensive video compare database.
The ultrawide camera on the ROG Phone 6D Ultimate also does 4K@30-ish fps video in the same standard format as the main cam. It also looks great for the hardware at hand. Detail is plenty, and colors are lively with a bit of extra pop to them, which some people will appreciate.
Contrast and Dynamic range are decent but could be better, and there is a bit of visible noise on flat, uniform surfaces like roads. Nothing too major, though.
The selfie camera does 4K@30fps as well, the same as the other two. The video it produces is passable but a bit disappointing, mainly due to the highly oversaturated colors. Skin looks outright orange to red with not much in the way of actual texture, and other colors aren't pretty either. Dynamic range isn't great, either.
The ROG Phone 6D Ultimate wouldn't be our first choice for a vlogging phone.
In terms of stabilization, rather impressively, the ROG Phone 6D Ultimate can apply EIS to any of its cameras at its full 4K resolution while giving up a bit of the frame for cropping. This stabilization works well too, smoothing out big and smaller bumps and shakes. You can see it in action in the following playlist.
A second level of stabilization is available for the main and ultrawide cameras called HyperSteady. It claims to combat even more of the shakes and twitches. However, it is limited to 1080p. We don't really see much benefit in using it over the standard stabilization.
The main camera is decent, but unremarkable in low-light conditions. Detail is good, and there is practically no noise to speak of. Colors are also mostly true to life but can be a bit yellow at times.
Probably the weakest link is the limited dynamic range. Darker areas get mostly crushed, and light sources are blown out more often than not.
Shooting in 50MP mode helps quite a bit with detail. Noise is still very low, and colors look true to life, so there are no obvious downsides to using 50MP mode other than the large file sizes.
2x zoom shots with the main camera are also decent, but they have a lot more noise. Still perfectly usable, though.
The Ultrawide camera struggles badly in low-light conditions. Photos are dark, blurry and noisy. On the plus side, light sources are at least somewhat contained.
The ROG Phone 6D Ultimate has an automatic night mode which it applies as it sees fit in the general photo mode. There is a dedicated night mode in the camera mode selector that generally applies more aggressive settings with longer capture times and more stacking than its automatic counterpart.
Night mode has a very dramatic effect on shots. It captures a lot more detail, cleans everything up, and applies some sharpening to make it look even nicer. Light sources are contained much better, and dark areas are much brighter with more detail.
Night mode shots do tend to look a bit yellow, but that's a small gripe compared to the massive improvement to quality. Capturing night mode shots usually takes three to four seconds, and the mode is also available for the ultrawide camera.
The 12MP selfie camera struggles in low light as well. Subjects look blurry, and finer facial features and texture are all but lost. It's not overly impressive but still decently usable.
There is no night mode available for the selfie camera.
Low-light videos from the main camera are excellent all around. Detail is great, and so are colors. There is practically no noise. Light sources are handled well.
Unfortunately, the same can not be said about the ultrawide camera. Its videos are dark and noisy.