At present, smartphones are becoming more and more advanced, and their cameras are no exception. Camera sensors on phones have gotten bigger over the years, and it is no surprise that point and shoot cameras have fallen off the face of the planet. However, there is a problem that arises for these phones as their sensors would need to get many times bigger still if they are to continue on this journey to take on high-end mirrorless or DSLR cameras. This article discusses the problem with most smartphone cameras and introduces a new phone that aims to solve the problem.
The Problem with Most Smartphone Cameras
The single main component of any camera is the sensor, which takes in light and turns that light into a digital output that becomes the image. The bigger the sensor, the more light it can process, and therefore the higher quality the end image will be. Over the years, camera sensors on phones have gotten bigger, and early smartphones like the iPhone 3GS had quarter-inch sensors. Nowadays, smartphones like the 12 Pro have half-inch sensors, and some phones even have one-inch sensors.
One of the problems that arise for these phones is that if they are to take on high-end mirrorless or DSLR cameras, their sensors would need to get many times bigger still. However, it is not just the sensors that are getting bigger; the cameras on phones are also sticking out more. This is because the larger the sensor, the larger the lens also needs to be to properly direct light to the whole sensor area to take advantage of it. The further the distance required between that lens and the sensor, the more difficult it becomes to fit a sensor twice the size of what we have now into a phone.
Introducing the Xiaomi 12s Ultra Concept
The Xiaomi 12s Ultra concept aims to solve this problem. It is built from the ground up to support external thick lenses, making it possible to attach a lens that is half the size of a person’s face. The phone is built to work with Leica lenses, and it comes with a mounting mechanism called the Knee Mount. It opens up the aperture all the way to as wide as you can possibly get on a phone. The system gets in two times the amount of light of the pretty beastly already normal 12s Ultra. The phone also has more settings, like focus peaking, zebra lines, and a full-on histogram, making it possible to fiddle with settings in a friendly smartphone interface with the hardware of a proper camera.
The Quality of Photos and Videos
The quality of photos and videos taken with the Xiaomi 12s Ultra concept is impressive. The extra light gathering ability of the concept phone means more information and finer details. The phone is also capable of achieving a DSLR-like separation between foreground and background, which is the exact effect that software-based portrait mode has been trying to simulate for the last 10 years. The video is the one thing that most smartphones and their software-based solutions have struggled to recreate, but the Xiaomi 12s Ultra concept produces impressive video quality.
The Problem with the Xiaomi 12s Ultra Concept
Despite the impressive features of the Xiaomi 12s Ultra concept, it has one fundamental problem. The Leica M lenses are made for proper cameras with much bigger sensors than even the one-inch one in the concept phone. Using the lens in this way means putting up with the extra space and weight of the lens without getting the full perks from it.
In conclusion, the Xiaomi 12s Ultra concept phone is a step in the right direction towards solving the problem with most smartphone cameras. It is built from the ground up to support external thick lenses and is capable of achieving impressive photo and video quality. However, it has one fundamental problem with its system.