Xiaomi’s new flagship offers 3 photo modules. The main one is a new Samsung ISOCELL GN2 1 / 1.12 inch 50 megapixel sensor. Expected at the turn, this module promises to offer very bright shots thanks to photosites of 1.4 μm. To this main module, Xiaomi adds an ultra wide-angle and a telephoto lens of 48 megapixels each. The latter allows 5x optical zoom, 10x hybrid zoom, and 120x digital zoom. A first !
It’s rare enough to be underlined, but be aware that it is possible to capture full definition images on the 3 photo modules. Usually, this is only possible on the main module which, by default, photographs in 12, 16 or 27 megapixels, depending on the maximum definition of the sensor (48, 64 or 108 megapixels). Here, we therefore get shots in 12.5 or 50 megapixels with the main module, and 12 or 48 megapixels for the secondary modules. As a reminder, it is the technology of pixel-binning which varies the definition of the photos. By merging four photosites, the pixels in the photo become larger and store more light. What to gain in quality in low light … in theory.
Main module: 50 megapixels, f / 1.9, eq. 24 mm
With its main module, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra therefore captures shots in 12 megapixels by default. It is possible to force full definition through the options of the photo application and choosing the cleverly named “50” mode, for 50 megapixels. To compare the two definitions, we isolated a 0.92 megapixel area on each shot.
By day, this increase in definition allows a much more comfortable cropping. The mobile also takes the opportunity to offer more details. The result is very good in full definition.
At night, Xiaomi lightens the image processing in full definition. We thus find a little more details, despite a generally smooth rendering. We also note a slightly more pronounced contrast.
Now let’s compare the mobile with its most direct opponent, Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra.
By day, the Mi 11 Ultra displays very good quality. Despite the slightly reddish tones, the photo is very detailed, offering very clean colors. The S21 Ultra strengthens the contrast a bit, but still delivers a shot that’s a little more pleasing to the eye.
At night, Xiaomi falls back into its old ways. The mobile tends to smooth out more than it should and to lose color. Even if the rendering is more successful than that of the Galaxy S21 Ultra, it lacks detail to position itself well against the best, whether it is the Galaxy S20 Ultra or Huawei’s Mate 30 Pro.
Ultra wide-angle module: 48 megapixels, f / 2.2, eq. 12 mm
The change in resolution on the ultra wide angle leads to the same conclusions as those of the main module: more details, but only in good light conditions.
The result is also very good in the center of the photo in full daytime definition, with excellent sharpness.
In low light, at full definition, the smartphone delivers a very rough, smooth, blurry shot and with a lot of digital noise.
At the center of the shot, the Mi 11 Ultra manages to offer a more detailed shot than that of the S21 Ultra. The software processing is very light and the sharpness more important. There is still a colorimetry that draws towards the red and a barrel deformation of the photo.
In the difficult exercise of the ultra wide-angle night shot, the Mi 11 Ultra does well. Although displaying a warm tone, it offers overall more detail than the competition, with less pronounced smoothing.
5x telephoto module: 48 megapixels, f / 4.1, eq. 120 mm
While the full definition was relevant for the previous two modules, this is not the case here.
By day, full definition suffers from too strong software processing that smooths out the cliché and drowns out the details.
At night, the cliché is simply unusable at full definition. You might as well prefer the default mode to shoot 5x.
Here, the S21 Ultra only offers 3x optical zoom, where the Xiaomi opts for 5x. Despite a greater distance from the stage, the image of the Mi 11 Ultra offers a much more detailed rendering than that of its Korean opponent. Note also that the center of the photo of the Mi 11 Ultra is covered with digital noise.
In low light, the difference is quite obvious between the two smartphones. The shot of the Mi 11 Ultra turns out to be much less smooth than that of the S21 Ultra. We are therefore dealing with a photo with better sharpness, and therefore more flattering.
Front module, portrait and video mode
On the front, the Mi 11 Ultra offers a 20 megapixel module, the same as that of the Xiaomi Mi 11. The quality of the selfies is good in all light conditions. But the subtlety of this Ultra model lies in its screen placed at the back, which allows you to take your best self-portraits with the main 50 megapixel module.
For portraits, the smartphone also excels. He manages to cut out a subject suitably without stumbling over the usual small details of small hair and beard hair.
In video, the Mi 11 Ultra is capable of filming up to 8K at 24 fps. It is possible to shoot in 4K at 30 or 60 fps without HDR. With HDR enabled, 4K is only available at 30 fps. The optics being stabilized, the captured images do not move, but to benefit from them, it will be necessary to make a concession in the level of the recording definition which is limited to 1080p at 30 fps.