Is it twice cheaper twice as bad? Xiaomi Mi 9 - camera review

Xiaomi Mi 9 is a flagship smartphone at a price twice lower than other top devices. How does the camera of this smartphone fall out on this background?

If the smartphone is 2 thousand. PLN cheaper than standard models, it must have some compromises. At first glance, they can not be seen at all, because Xiaomi Mi 9 surprises with the presence of three lenses, just like the most important rivals in the market.

Xiaomi Mi 9 is equipped with a triple camera module, containing three lenses with different angles of view.

xiaomi mi 9

The main camera has a resolution of 48 megapixels and a popular matrix IMX586 with a diagonal 1/2 inches with a pixel size of 0.8 micrometres. In the default mode, the camera takes 12 megapixel photos by combining four pixels into one. The lens's brightness is f / 1.7 and, unfortunately, it is not stabilized.

xiaomi mi 9

The second module is based on a telephoto lens with a brightness of f / 2.2, also without optical stabilization. It has a double magnification relative to the standard lens (focal length 52 mm versus 26 mm). The matrix has a resolution of 12 megapixels and the pixel size is equal to 1 micrometer.

The third module uses an ultra-wide angle lens (multiples of 0.65 relative to the main module, 117 degrees viewing angle). The lens has f / 2.2 light and is not stabilized, and the matrix has 16 megapixels. In the ultra wide angle mode, we can also take macro shots, because the camera has autofocus catching focus from 4 cm.

xiaomi mi 9

Such a specification has a few compromises, and the most is the lack of stabilization. We will not find it in the front webcam, which has a resolution of 20 megapixels, light f / 2.0 and it is located in a symbolic teardrop-shaped trunk.

Xiaomi Mi 9 is definitely the best current Xiaomi camera.

The Chinese producer in Mi 7 and even Mi 8 was clearly lagging behind the competition when it comes to the quality of the photos. Me 9 is a clear step forward. The photos are finally good enough for the vast majority of users.

xiaomi mi 9

xiaomi mi 9

xiaomi mi 9

Colors are usually very natural and it is difficult to have any reservations about them. The only drawback is sometimes the earthy shade of the skin, which appears in the interiors, especially those made in cloudy weather outside the window. Here the iPhone XS or Samsung Galaxy S10 + perform better.

xiaomi mi 9

Contrast falls naturally, and the choice of exposure also does not cause problems, but it is still standard in today's smartphones.

The real test of camera quality is the tonal range, i.e. how well the camera deals with putting very bright and very dark parties in one photo. Here, the Xiaomi Mi 9 clearly stands out from the top-class competition. If we have a clear sky in the frame, it will often be blown. This is the biggest drawback of the camera and unfortunately is visible in many situations. What's worse, HDR mode is very conservative and has little effect on improving this situation.

The same situation is also visible at the ultra wide angle. It is a pity, because practically all competitors are doing well with such scenes.

The wide angle works very well!

xiaomi mi 9

The ultra-wide-angle lens is the biggest boon that has hit smartphones in recent years. I am very happy that the presence of such a lens has already become the standard among the top shelf of smartphones. The ability to catch a much wider field of view gives you completely new creative possibilities and simply makes you happy when shooting. Especially if you're talking about a device that fits in your pocket.

The Xiaomi Mi 9 wide angle lens completes the standard very well, because during the day you can not see large qualitative deviations from the basic module. What else at night.

The night-time photos are very average. Against this background, the Xiaomi Mi 9 stands out from the competition.

Night scenes from the Xiaomi Mi 9 rather will not impress anyone, especially in the era of revolutionary solutions recently shown by Huaweia . Pictures from Xiaomi are clearly noisy and lacking detail, and a clear problem is the poor tonal range. In standard mode, the camera quite hardly illuminates dark areas.

The night mode, on the other hand, selects a more enjoyable exposure, but at the cost of even greater image degradation. On the screen of the smartphone the picture looks very good, but on the monitor you can see terrible noise and lack of details.

At night, the portrait lens does not work, and instead Xiaomi Mi 9 serves a portion of the frame from the standard camera module, so the quality of such photos leaves a lot to be desired. In turn, the ultra-wide lens presents a very low level when it comes to details at night. The quality of the photos resembles cheap sports cameras.

Portrait mode and selfie are not disappointing.

xiaomi mi 9

In portrait mode, the camera switches to the telephoto lens and blurs the background behind the main subject. Edge detection may not be perfect, but inaccuracies occur even with twice as expensive competitors. Generally, background blur from both the front and back camera is at a high level, although the front camera tends to overburden images.

The 48 megapixel mode adds nothing to the pictures and even takes away a few options.

The full resolution of 48 megapixels is available as a separate camera mode. We lose the ability to take HDR pictures and use scene detection as part of the AI ​​algorithms. What do we gain? Proper ... nothing.

xiaomi mi 9

Photos on 48 megapixels do not bring any added value. You can not see more detailed image on them. I am tempted to say that it is not worth using the full resolution of the camera.

To date, the best use of the 48 megapixel matrix was made by Honor View 20 , which included a mode of detail improvement based on AI and combining several photos into one. In Xiaomi Mi 9 this solution is very lacking.

The camera application could be better.

In general, the application works well and is intuitive and easy to use, but has some inaccuracies. For example, switching to the telephoto lens can be found under the button with the multiplier, visible in the middle, but the ultra-wide-angle mode is on the left, under a separate button. This is not the peak of convenience.

The application regularly forgets our HDR and AI settings. Very often it happened to me that the HDR mode was turned off, even though I had set it to Auto before.

In addition, the island of the camera really protrudes above the casing. It does not hide fully when you put on the case.

xiaomi mi 9

This is not a big drawback, but the Xiaomi Mi 9 always bends when it is on a flat surface, even when in the attached case. The protruding lens is also more likely to damage the glass, although it is allegedly sapphire. Tests of destructive reviewers show, however, that this is a de facto standard glass. You have to remember about it.

Me 9 is the best camera on Xiaomi smartphones, but it lacks a lot to the top.

Xiaomi Mi 9 is a very reliable device in terms of photography, but at the same time it stands out from the forehead. If we look at it through the prism of twice the more expensive smartphones - eg Samsung Galaxy S10 +, Huawei P30 Pro, or XS iPhone XS - disappoint us with the quality of night scenes and poor HDR.

xiaomi mi 9

The problem, however, is that Xiaomi Mi 9 costs 2 thousand. less than these smartphones. Looking through the prism of the price, we have a really successful and extremely versatile camera here. And although last year Samsung Galaxy S9, which you can buy for about 2 thousand. It still makes better photos than the Xiaomi Mi 9, but it does not offer a telephoto or an ultra-wide angle, so it's difficult to set up these smartphones directly.

If you do not care about the absolute top quality of photos, Xiaomi Mi 9 is enough for everyday photographic uses. However, if the quality of the camera is a priority for you, unfortunately you have to turn to the more expensive smartphones. There is no rose without spikes, just as there are no ideal standard flags for 2 thousand. zł.

Is it twice cheaper twice as bad? Xiaomi Mi 9 - camera review


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