When I Left my DSLR Behind and Took the Zenfone Zoom Instead

When we were standing outside in the sun at Sanghol (Punjab) a colleague pointed out a bunch of parrots and asked where my camera was? When I told them I left it at home, their jaws dropped in disbelief, I am considered to be inseparable from my DSLR. However as I had the Zenfone Zoom on a returnable basis and I wanted to travel light for the academic conference I was attending at Sanghol, I actually left my DSLR behind and took just the Zenfone Zoom instead.

Priced at 37,999 it is a primarily meant for smartphone photography. As it has 3X optical zoom, they must have done a lot of R&D to fit the components and still let the phone look like a phone rather than a camera! I also liked the fact that the phone has a leather back and hence a good grip, it doesn’t feel that the phone will slip out of the hand.

Zenfone Zoom comes with 4GB RAM and 64 bit Intel CPU. Other features are:

  • World thinnest 3X optical Zoom, total 12X Zoom
  • 4GB RAM, Intel PC level performance
  • 13MP Laser Auto focus camera
  • 4 Stops Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)
  • 10P HOYA Lens

You can see the complete phone specs from the link above. Do watch the video too. However, I would let the pictures taken by the phone do the talking and you can decide where it stands in the competition of the best camera phone.

My trip to Sanghol in Punjab was for an academic conference but when did that stop us from having fun? I was meeting a lot of colleagues whom I used to work with, before I went the travel blogging route.

parrot
A Parrot Finds a Perch!

The bunch of parrots that were pointed out to me were not too happy with me trying to get close to them! So I decided to test the zoom. The light was not favoring me but I was happy with my shot. I wish I had the phone with me for a longer duration to try more shots!

dessert
I Just Love to Eat Desserts!

The Zenfone Zoom is a delight when it comes to clicking the delightful desserts. I didn’t miss my DSLR at all while I was photographing food.

mustard-field
Sarson Ke Khet and No, They were there Before DDLJ

After the conference we went to the fields of the village lambardar and it was flowering sarson all around. I loved the pictures I got without carrying my DSLR. I know the focus of this phone is on zoom but a traveler often seeks the landscape too. If Zenfone is working on another model I would say it should have a winder angle lens too for landscapes.

caretakers-sanghol
Teja Singh Ji (on the Right) with His Colleague

We also visited the Buddhist remains that have been excavated near Sanghol. Though I am not good with people photography I managed to get the caretakers of the sites to pose for me. I believe a cell phone is less intimidating than a DSLR.

trees
It was a Lovely Evening!

In the evening we went to a dhaba to have chai and pakoras. I quite liked the tree lined avenue I saw. I stopped and starting clicking. If it was the SLR I would have to first take it out of the bag, change the lens, check out the settings if it was in manual and then click the shot. Sometimes I just want to click the shot and go chai and pakoras! If you like to click close up shots, this phone would work for you!

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Even though I went to present a paper at an academic seminar at Sanghol in Punjab but I managed to catch the glimpses of its rural life and Buddhist Heritage too. The place is also known as Ucha Pind.

cordia-college-sanghol
A Painting on the Walls of Cordia College, Sanghol

The seminar was hosted at Cordia Group of Institutions, Sanghol. On the first day after the presentations were over we went to the local lambardar’s fields. He was a sturdy man in Ray Ban glasses. They offered sweet tea to us.

sanghol-sarson-ke-khet-selfie
Sarson Ke Khet and Selfie!

It was sunset time, the perfect time to be in the sarson ke khet! Even I could not resist a selfie!

sanghol-punjab
The Beautiful Fields of Sanghol in Punjab

There was no time to walk or I would have loved to go and explore! Still, it was a joy to be watching the sunset in the lush green fields.

eating-sugar-cane
The Joy of Eating Sugarcane!

I can’t remember when I ate a sugarcane last. It used to be a regular feature during my childhood. I was a bit curious if my teeth were up to the task and they did not let me down. My former dean, Prof. Venkatesh remarked “You can take the girl out of Gorakhpur but not Gorakhpur out of the girl!”

buddhist-heritage-sanghol
The Buddhist Heritage of Sanghol

The second evening was devoted to exploring the excavation sites near Sanghol. Sanghol is just about 40 minutes drive from Chandigarh on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana highway. There are two sites close by to the ASI office. The one above is known as SGL5.

water-channels-sanghol
The Water Channels at SGL5, Sanghol

The site is said to be dated from the Harrapan Civilization and it was continuously populated till the Gupta period. That means people lived at the site from about 2100 BCE to 6 CE! Then due to some reason it passed out from the cosmic favor! Now why is it that my travels are making me more curious about history?

defense-wall-sanghol
A Defense Wall from the Bygone Ear at Sanghol

There is a smaller site near the ASI building but I am not sure if it has any name, yet. Teja Singh ji, an ASI employee was quite excited about the finding of this wall. There was no excavation happening at present.

excavations-sanghol
The Main Structure at the Second Site, Sanghol

There were two ASI employees who mentioned that it looked like that this site hosted the rooms of the monks and SGL 5 was the meditation center.

covered-drainage-sanghol
The Remains of a Covered Drainage System at Sanghol

On the smaller site there was a covered drain, and that immediately leads to the discussion that why can’t we achieve it now? We could not visit SGL 11 or the museum as they were closed by the time we ventured out of the college.

academic-mentors
Prof Venkatesh, Me, Prof Misra and Mr. Anil Yadav

And finally here are the three people who are responsible for keeping me in academia. We used to call them the members of the power corridor. They were the finest team I ever worked with. As Prof Misra and Mr Yadav now work at Sanghol, they showed us around! February for me has started on  the right note!

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Mridula Dwivedi

I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!

If you wish to collaborate with me, please check out my media kit. You can write to me at mridulablog@gmail.com

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