With a limited launch in mainland China today, one look at the new smartphones from xiaomi It leaves little doubt as to what the smartphone is all about. A third of the rear of the smartphone is dominated by a dome that covers a number of cameras with one of the largest sensors we’ve seen in a smartphone to date – a 1-inch sensor encased in Leica glass.
Many people – especially men – will tell you that size doesn’t matter. In the case of imaging sensors, this is not the case; The glass in front of the lenses can do so much and there is no perfect glass. Bigger sensors mean higher resolution, yes, but that also means the sensors have room for larger individual pixels. This helps cool the sensor and can indicate better performance in low light.
The entire 12S smartphone series features different imaging systems jointly developed by Xiaomi and Leica. I know that during the Leica mockup recently, I’ve been mocking Hasselblad for its smartphone integration, but in this case it makes sense to some extent. With lenses designed by Leica (which bears the prestigious Leica Summicron brand, no less), the phone may actually be able to make the most of its sensors.
The range of cameras available in different cameras includes some very advanced lens designs which are rarely seen on smartphones; I can’t wait to get my hands on it and see if it works as well in the real world as it looks on paper.
The company claims that its lens designs significantly improve the image quality that the camera is generally able to offer. The alphabet soup in the press release makes it sound as if the smartphone has reinvented the wheel, and it makes some exciting promises:
The primary camera of Xiaomi 12S Ultra adopts 8P aspherical lens, in order to address common shooting problems such as flare, ghosting and chromatic aberration, the camera module of Xiaomi 12S Ultra also adds anti-glare lens coating, lens edge coating with ink, cyclic olefin copolymer material, ray light filter Infrared with spin coating technology. Together, these features provide a clearer and more consistent overall image through the lens.
In addition to the advanced optical design, the Xiaomi 12S series “co-designed with Leica” also uses Leica imaging profiles, which inherits the century-old Leica image aesthetic and reproduces the tone and aesthetics of Leica with the help of sophisticated algorithms. For the end user, this means access to two photography styles: ‘Leica Authentic Look’ and ‘Leica Vibrant Look’, both of which offer enhanced creative freedom to the photographer.
For those of us who have read a photography press release or two, the first paragraph above can be summed up as “We put technology into this camera that was very popular in compact cameras in 2005 or so” and the second paragraph can be summed up as “… And we’ve created some filters that have been on the Hipstamatic since 2009, but these look and feel like Leica cameras.Ignore, of course, that the “Lica look” depends largely on the films you put into the camera giant’s legendary cameras.
Sleight of hand aside, the cameras themselves look impressive, and installing Sony’s 1-inch IMX989 sensors in smartphones is an impressive feat to achieve, both from an engineering standpoint and a commitment to photography from the smartphone maker.
To use a corollary: Have you ever heard of the A-10 fighter jet? It is commonly referred to as Pigwas basically Ridiculously large machine gun They fired depleted uranium shells, and built a plane around it so they could blow up tanks. This is the image this smartphone conjures up for me; This is not the kind of optics you slap on the phone at the last minute because users of the product thought it was a good idea.
The sensors, fitted with high-quality glass, promise exceptional low-light imaging capabilities. Pair that with some clever computational photography skills, 10-bit RAW format, and you’ll start talking about some truly advanced camera technologies. These phones could be the final nail in the low-quality compact camera category that has been on the verge of death for a long time.
Wild, for photography enthusiasts, is that we’re talking about a 50.3MP resolution that defies SLR and a 23mm-equivalent wide-angle lens. This is, as far as I know, the most advanced lens/sensor combination of any smartphone on the market. Of course, megapixels are not everything.
The rest of the smartphone looks decent on paper, too – the 67W high-speed charging, large 4,860mAh battery, and smart battery management should keep you running for a while. The phone is powered by the all-new Snapdragon® 8+ Gen 1 platform. Xiaomi 12S Ultra is equipped with a cooling pump that uses a capillary mesh to pump coolant around and prevent things from overheating, and a 6.73-inch AMOLED color screen.
The phones are currently only available in mainland China, with the Xiaomi 12S Ultra starting at around $900, the Xiaomi 12S Pro starting at around $700, and the Xiaomi 12S starting at around $600. There is no word on whether or when these things will make it out of the country’s borders.