Want a 200MP Smartphone Camera? Here’s Xiaomi’s 12T Pro
Even by the standards of modern smartphones, the official camera specs of the flagship Xiaomi 12T Pro phone are pretty insane.
Xiaomi has announced its latest and best phone model with claims of a camera that offers a whopping 200MP resolution and the ability to shoot 8K video. It’s almost hard to believe both of these claims, but let’s take a slightly closer look.
According to Xiaomi, its “pro-grade” 200-megapixel sensor operates with the help of the company’s AI imaging algorithm technology to create photos that are both extremely clear and render well even when being taken at night. Furthermore, according to Xiaomi, the phone’s camera technology focuses quickly.
In other words, this new phone supposedly does what a high-quality APS-C or full-frame mirrorless camera can do: Shoot in high resolution, with lots of megapixels and do so quickly even in low light.
While Xiaomi hasn’t yet provided exact details about the giant sensor’s performance and all specs, the technology is apparently being licensed from Samsung’s 200-megapixel HP3 sensor, which was announced in September of last year and contains 200 million 0.56μm (microns) pixels for a total resolution of 16,384 x 12,288.
These real pixels can then be binned together in low-light shooting to create an effective resolution of 50MP or 50 million quad-pixels at an individual size of 2.2 μm.
For the original Samsung sensor, Samsung explained that it could shoot at 7.5 frames per second at 200MP and up to 30fps in its binned-pixel 50MP resolution.
Another setting in the HP3 lets it further join, or bin 16 of the 0.56μm pixels down to make the sensor represent 12.5 megapixels, at which point it can shoot at 120fps and deliver even better low light performance.
The non-Pro 12T phone edition only offers 108 megapixels and can only bin up to 9 pixels at once for better low-light performance.
The catch for all of the above is that it’s what Samsung claims will happen with the help of its own photo processing technology, which is expected (along with this new sensor) in that brand’s next generation of smartphones.
However, whether Xiaomi uses the same quality of image processing technology in its own 12T Pro phone is something we don’t yet know. The company does say the new phone will focus very quickly, but not how quickly.
There’s also another catch in these details: In case you’re thinking that this sensor technology and the phones that use it match the 24 to 40MP+ resolutions we now regularly see in mirrorless cameras, that’s not quite right.
As mentioned above, if Xiaomi’s using the HP3 sensor, it means individual pixels of just 0.56 microns (one-millionth of a meter) each, that even after being binned together into groups of 4 for better low-light performance still only have a size of 2.24 microns.
This is without a doubt remarkable technology for a phone, but it’s worth mentioning here that the individual pixels in most mirrorless cameras, from brands including Sony, Fujifilm, Nikon, or even Hasselblad all offer individual, true pixel sizes of 4.8 to 8.4 microns (μm). That’s far larger than the individual pixel size of those in Xiaomi’s phone and Samsung’s new sensor and also much larger than the size of the phone pixels even after quad-binning.
Another important thing to remember is that the larger the real pixels, the better the image quality, especially in low light.
This is why anyone reading about the resolution of the new phone should take its photo quality with a grain of salt. It’s not false, but it’s also not exactly the same thing as what most stand-alone mirrorless cameras can produce.
Moving back to the Xiaomi 12T Pro phone and its other specs, the manufacturer is also claiming a 2x zoom that will let the camera capture “ideal” photos of faces in portraits. What’s more, Xiaomi will include features known as ProCut and Ultra Burst, which help photographers crop the images they take to create content that looks professional.
As for the video recording in 8K resolution, it will be derived from the sheer overall sensor resolution of the 12T combined with its powerful processing technology.
This processing tech in the 12T Pro is going to be a new Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor built with an advanced 4nm TSMC process that’s supposed to enhance the performance of both the phone’s CPU and GPU by 16.7% and 11% respectively. This will also reduce power use by 30% or more.
An internal heat dissipation mechanism will help everything along by making this phone run cooler than its predecessor could. The 12T non-Pro will have a MediaTek Dimensity 8100 Ultra chip.
To power all of the above, Xioami has given the 12T phone a fast-charging 5,000mAh battery. This is actually more battery power than what Apple’s flagship, the iPhone 14 Pro Max offers with its own 4,323mAh battery. Xiaomi claims the Pro battery can charge back to 100% in less than 20 minutes.
Finally, the Xiaomi 12T and 12T Pro will have 6.67-inch CrystalRes AMOLED screens with 1220p resolution and billions of colors. The brand will be releasing the phones in Asia and parts of Europe as of October 13 with storage options of 8GB+128GB, 8GB+256GB, and 12GB+256GB and a starting price of of 749 Euros (about $749 USD) for the most basic model.
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