World’s Best Smartphone Camera Sensor in Leica-Branded Xiaomi 12S Ultra

World’s Best Smartphone Camera Sensor in Leica-Branded Xiaomi 12S Ultra

Xiaomi has announced its 12S Series, including the Ultra co-engineered with Leica.

That flagship features the world’s largest smartphone sensor: a 50-megapixel 1-inch sensor behind a 23mm f/1.9 Leica lens.

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra features a 6.73-inch AMOLED display that promises 1,500 nits of peak brightness at 2K resolution with support for the P3 color gamut (specifics on the actual color accuracy were not provided).

Behind the display, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is the first flagship model to be equipped with two proprietary Xiaomi Surge chips, Xiaomi Surge P1 fast-charging chipset and Xiaomi Surge G1 battery management chipset, which the company says offers excellent improvements in battery management and overall user experience.

World's Best Smartphone Camera Sensor in Leica-Branded Xiaomi 12S Ultra

The new smartphone also supports 67W wired fast charging, 50W wireless fast charging, and 10W reverse wireless charging.

At the core of the Xiaomi Surge, Battery Management System is a 4,860mAh single-cell silicon-oxygen anode battery and Xiaomi Surge P1 fast-charging chipset, which the company says also supports up to a 16A output current with 96.8% conversion efficiency.

Not to downplay a better battery and display size, but the show’s real star is the giant camera array.

World’s Best Smartphone Camera Sensor in Leica-Branded Xiaomi 12S Ultra

World's Best Smartphone Camera Sensor in Leica-Branded Xiaomi 12S Ultra

A Huge Camera

The massive camera on the back of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is centered around a Sony IMX989 1-inch sensor that uses a Quad-Bayer pixel array with individual pixels sized at 1.6μm.

After pixel binning, Xiaomi says these pixels reach a larger 3.2μm, reducing noise, extending the dynamic range, increasing light captured, and achieving better imagery in low-light conditions.

The sensor was co-developed between Sony and Xiaomi, which Engadget reports includes a 50-50 split in bearing the costs to put it together.

To use the total size of the 1-inch sensor, Xiaomi leaned on Leica to develop a “sophisticated optical lens.”

“[The 12S Ultra] utilizes Leica’s world-class optical design capabilities in its lens system while adhering to their stringent optical quality testing standards and implementing Xiaomi’s expertise in miniaturizing components to ensure ultra-high-resolution, ultra-high light sensitivity, reduced dispersion, and lower flare,” the company says.

The lens supposedly mitigates flare, ghosting, and chromatic aberration.

In addition to the physical lens design, the camera also has been tuned to reproduce Leica’s tone and aesthetics with “cutting edge algorithms,” realized in the Leica Authentic Look and Leica Vibrant Look photo profiles.

As explained by Xiaomi:

  • The “Leica Authentic Look” pursues natural imagery for which Leica is known. Retaining light and shadow contrast adds a sense of three-dimensional depth to photos, with the characteristic excellence of Leica’s time-proven light and shadow aesthetics.
  • The “Leica Vibrant Look” features input by both Xiaomi and Leica. Combining Xiaomi’s experience in smartphone photography with Leica’s leading aesthetic, photographers can strive to capture the moment’s emotion, symbolizing Leica’s exploration of the smartphone photography space.

The primary camera is also the first Android device to support Dolby Vision HDR video recording and playback.

Additionally, it features Xiaomi’s image stabilization HyberOIS, which the company says provides ultra-stable performance and continuous compensation for movement during video recording.

“HyperOIS utilizes the gap between two frames to drive the OIS motor to its original position, giving each frame a full effective range of stabilization,” the company claims.

Xiaomi says the 12S Ultra has also been designed to be more friendly to photographers in post-production.

It captures photos in 10-bit RAW format calibrated by Adobe Labs with color correction metadata embedded directly into the files.

Adobe Camera RAW software optimizes photos based on metadata when using Adobe Lightroom to open photos shot on Xiaomi 12S Series.

Xiaomi says it provides professional photographers with a good starting point for post-production.

Xiaomi hinted that it would be releasing the landmark smartphone camera last week. Still, the sheer size of the camera array on the rear of the new 12S Ultra shows how challenging it is to fully utilize a sizeable 1-inch sensor in a thin smartphone design.

Sony attempted something similar with its Xperia Pro-I earlier this year, but due to size constraints, it could not use the full size of the sensor like Xiaomi was able to here.

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra smartphone starts at 5,999 Yuan, about $892.

It and the other smartphones in the 12S Series are launching first in mainland China, and the company has not provided any information on when to expect it in other regions.

World’s Best Smartphone Camera Sensor in Leica-Branded Xiaomi 12S Ultra

World's Best Smartphone Camera Sensor

Price

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra, which is the most premium smartphone is priced at as high as Yuan 6999 (about Rs 82,000) for the 12GB RAM and 512GB storage variant.

The Xiaomi 12S Ultra starts at Yuan 5999 (about Rs 70,000). Meanwhile, the Xiaomi 12S series starts at Yuan 3,999 (about Rs 47,000) for the base 8GB RAM and 128GB storage model.

Xiaomi 12SPro starts at YUan 4600 (about Rs 54, 258) while the most expensive the 12S Pro is priced at Yuan 5199 (about Rs 62,000.

When it comes to photography, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra comes with a new sensor made in collaboration with Sony. It is also the biggest sensor in the line-up.

The Xiaomi 12S which contends with iPhone 13 features a 4,500 mAh battery with 65W fast charging support.

While the 12S and 12S Pro come with similar features although with upgrade processors.

The brand also launched its fitness tracker Xiaomi Band 7 Pro in China, while the Xiaomi 12S Ultra will go on sale by July 8 in China.

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