The Xiaomi 12S Ultra was announced last week and we’re working on a full review. Part of that process is taking camera samples – a lot of samples – that we can examine and ideally compare with another phone.
We’re still working on the review, but we thought you would like to see some of the photos that we’ve shot so far, including comparisons with the previous camera king from Xiaomi – the Mi 11 Ultra. We’ll leave the technical discussions of image quality for the review, for now just enjoy the sights.
Reminder: you can use the “compare button” to put two images side by side. This will allow you to compare a Xiaomi 12 Ultra and an 11 Ultra shot head to head, but also compare some of the shooting modes on the new phone (which were co-developed by Leica).
We will start with the star of the show, that 1″ Sony IMX989 sensor in the main camera. Here are daylight shots, shot in Leica Vibrant mode. The first time you open the camera app it will ask you to pick between Leica Authentic and Leica Vibrant (there is no “none of the above” option, you have to pick). We think that most people will prefer the Vibrant option, but we have Authentic shots too, of course (use the compare feature to see how they differ).
Xiaomi 12S Ultra: main camera, Leica Vibrant mode
Xiaomi 12S Ultra: main camera, Leica Authentic mode
Here are shots from the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra for comparison. Note the difference in dynamic range (especially in scenes that mix shadows with well lit areas), the color rendering, the sharpness and so on.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra: main camera
The camera defaults to 12MP mode, but you can snap full resolution images as well – for the IMX989 that means 50MP. Here are a few shots for you to have a closer look at:
Xiaomi 12S Ultra: main camera, 50MP resolution, Leica Vibrant mode
The 1″ sensor is the largest used in a smartphone yet. This means lovely natural bokeh without having to resort to computational photography. Here are a few examples:
Xiaomi 12S Ultra: main camera, look at that bokeh!
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra: main camera
While the 1″ module is by far the most impressive camera on board, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra has two other highly capable cameras. Let’s have a look at the 5x periscope with a 48MP sensor (1/2.0″) first (shot in 12MP resolution).
Xiaomi 12S Ultra: 5x tele camera, 12MP resolution, Leica Vibrant mode
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra: 5x tele camera, 12MP resolution
Next stop, the 48MP ultra wide camera (here we are including only shots in 12MP resolution). This lens is slightly narrower than last year’s ultra (13mm vs. 12mm), see how much of a difference that makes.
Xiaomi 12S Ultra: ultra wide, 12MP resolution, Leica Vibrant mode
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra: ultra wide, 12MP resolution
The massive 1″ sensor is paired with a surprisingly bring f/1.9 aperture and is backed by Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and omni-directional PDAF. That promises spectacular low-light photos, even before we turn on the night mode.
The first batch of photos is with Night mode off, this is just the raw ability of the sensor. Below that are the same scenes with the Mi 11 Ultra for a head-to-head comparison.
Xiaomi 12S Ultra: main camera, night mode off
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra: main camera, night mode off
There is a setting that lets the camera app enable Night mode automatically, however, for this next set we switched over to the dedicated Night mode in the app.
Xiaomi 12S Ultra: main camera, night mode on
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra: main camera, night mode on
Moving on to the 5x telephoto camera, we will just show you the images with Night mode on for now.
Xiaomi 12S Ultra: 5x tele camera, night mode on
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra: 5x tele camera, night mode on
The same with the ultra wide camera. We have many more camera samples on hand, but we’ll leave those for the full review.
Xiaomi 12S Ultra: ultra wide, night mode on
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra: ultra wide, night mode on
Again, we have taken many more shots, including ones with auto night mode and with night mode disabled. But we’re in the process of analyzing how much of an impact these modes have, so let’s leave those for the full review.
As you can imagine, there is so much to cover in the review – we haven’t even talked about the video recording capabilities. Those benefit from the natural bokeh and wide dynamic range of the sensor as well.
That’s our queue to go back to working on the review, which is coming soon. It will cover the camera in details, of course, but it will also go over the rest of the phone – the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is another new addition compared to the previous Xiaomi 12-series phones.