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Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra - Why a technical marvel cannot come close to flattering the subject


Andrew Reid

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Xiaomi-Mi-11-Ultra-camera-review.jpg

Somebody with a clue about photography needs to walk into the Chinese smartphone manufacturers and tell them how to do things.

In 2014 the Panasonic CM1 with large 1" sensor came along and there's been a 7 year wait for another 1" smartphone to add the latest computational photography image processing.

The Samsung ISOCELL GN2 in the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is finally it!

There's no doubt about the technical capabilities of this smartphone and that it's capable of some wonderful results (after a bit of grading) as well as 8K. Technically this sensor has every latest development - 50 megapixel, 8K, dual gain ISO readout (per pixel!), Quad Bayer, Dual Pixel Pro AF (split pixels horizontally as well as diagonally!) and more. The phone even has a Time of Flight sensor to assist AF in complete darkness.

So why does it look so shit?

DXOMark has the full run-down on the Mi 11 Ultra with sample photos. You'd expect with these specs, combining the enthusiast grade Sony RX100 size sensor with cutting edge AI and image processing that smartphone manufacturers would have taken the time to learn something about presentation and optics too.

https://www.dxomark.com/xiaomi-mi-11-ultra-camera-review-large-sensor-power/

https://www.eoshd.com/news/xiaomi-mi-11-ultra-with-1-sensor-and-8k-video-gets-reviewed-why-a-technical-marvel-cannot-come-close-to-flattering-the-subject/

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I am fully with you on this one : ) These smartphones "IT designers" are absolutely dumb, inept to understand what a device should be. I am done with so much silliness, ignorance, well, incompetence, I must say. They have no simply clue of the horse in their hands. They think they're dealing with some sort of poney or even a donkey :- )

For some GOOD reason, I've posted this one here and am still looking for:

That ASUS ZENFONE 7 PRO flip cam is one of the most useful tools I've ever shot with. Coupled to efficient 4K 120p would really be a dream. So? They have decided to cripple it without manual exposure! : (

What else to say?

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2 hours ago, ntblowz said:

1/1.12" is not exactly 1" yet, though wasn't there an actual 1" Sony sensor for smartphone rumored?

It's in-between the 1/1.2" and 1" on this chart, so practically 1" as near as makes no difference. Bit like Canon APS-C is still APS-C even when it is a 1.6x crop vs 1.5x crop.

How long before Micro Four Thirds sensor in a smartphone? 🙂

90.jpeg

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3 hours ago, Emanuel said:

I am fully with you on this one : ) These smartphones "IT designers" are absolutely dumb, inept to understand what a device should be. I am done with so much silliness, ignorance, well, incompetence, I must say. They have no simply clue of the horse in their hands. They think they're dealing with some sort of poney or even a donkey :- )

RED Hydrogen had decent colour science.

Sony Xperia 1 II has the most natural image I've found so far.

The Chinese ones are all an inconsistent mess.

The Huawei Mate 40 Pro is the best I've found. But of course the software side is crippled.

It's very frustrating. Nobody seems capable of going forwards in a good way. Apple have mucked up their image processing a bit too. Since the iPhone 11 Pro Max they have turned the digital look up a notch, more over sharpening, but real resolution not really going places.

I haven't found a reason to switch from my iPhone XS Max. The iPhone 12 Pro Max has a nice sensor but in day to day use it hardly makes any difference. Only with the IBIS on manual settings in RAW does it stretch out a lead... Less noise, pin sharp image at slow shutter speeds in low light.

For my main phone I can't switch from Apple to Android especially not without Google Play Services on Huawei. So I stay with Apple for now and use the Mate 40 Pro as a camera only in second jacket pocket!!

3 hours ago, Emanuel said:

That ASUS ZENFONE 7 PRO flip cam is one of the most useful tools I've ever shot with. Coupled to efficient 4K 120p would really be a dream. So? They have decided to cripple it without manual exposure! : (

What else to say?

Is there GCam for it?

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6 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

Is there GCam for it?

I've downloaded this modded version:

https://www.celsoazevedo.com/files/android/google-camera/f/changelog1500/

From here:

https://www.celsoazevedo.com/files/android/google-camera/dev-suggested/

With the config from the previous Zenfone model (6):

https://www.celsoazevedo.com/files/android/google-camera/f/configs-urnyx-02/

 

No luck at all. I actually have found it rather poor BTW. Definitely not at the FILMiC PRO level or even 2021 Best Camera App based in the same root after all.

Camera2 API doesn't allow higher than 30fps and the precedent Camera API also available goes up to 120fps but not to this smartphone model where only 15fps, 24fps (not even 25fps, go figure) and 30fps are able to be recorded throughout this Zenfone 7 PRO along it.

 

High bit rate up to 100Mbps works though : ) other than randomly on the Open Camera app.

 

Another positive note is the fact the (real) innovative retractable/flip camera is there, either on the GCam or 2021 Best Camera, so it is a sign both apps have access to this peculiar ASUS tool rather useful.

Thus, all this shows that's a whole ASUS ballpark case.

 

They should, well, they MUST address it if they respect their commitment with their loyal clientele (in my case since 2011 with many others directly following my steps as far as I've seen from my own path).

 

I sent tonight the link of this thread to the technical responsible of the brand in Western Europe, Middle East & Africa (Territorial PR & TPR Marketing Manager). He will surely read it.

Let's just hope there will be more care to address all this properly and show some love and care for their product, market segment and their supporters. Fingers crossed but I don't hold my breath too much. It's a shame. A pity.

So close we are. There is hardware. Their unique 4K 120fps feature proves it. Hard to understand their carelessness. Really : (

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PS -- In order to let it clear:

As far as I could test it, manual exposure only works either on native or going with third parties app up to 4K 60fps as well 8K 30p on ASUS software.

Not 4K 120fps despite the promising good performance of the hardware of theirs (Zenfone 7 PRO).

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9 minutes ago, Eric Calabros said:

f/2 on this sensor should be like f/5.6 on full frame. Are we getting f/5.6 DoF? 

 

Probably.      DOF depends on distance to subject though as much as anything (plus how much space is in the back ground).     It can be very thin or infinite depending.

You would need to see shots taken alongside with another camera with a similar sensor size.

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6 hours ago, Brian Williams said:

Is it just me? I feel like this photo of the face looks pretty great, am I missing something?

To me it just looks hyper clinical, revealing, digital although it also depends on the photographer and lighting, so we can't blame the phone for everything.

She looks better in this one:

StreetSit_XiaomiMi11Ultra_DxOMark_05-00.

But this one by all accounts is just a bad shot. Greasy, tired skin and blue cast on her forehead.

Granted it is a backlit shot.

PeopleHDRnoFD_XiaomiMi11Ultra_DxOMark_05

In this one the camera is clutching onto every last drop of dynamic range and has that HDR puke look in the windows.

PeopleDuoTable_XiaomiMi11Ultra_DxOMark_0

I just think the PROCESSING dial needs turning down several notches to be honest.

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5 hours ago, Eric Calabros said:

f/2 on this sensor should be like f/5.6 on full frame. Are we getting f/5.6 DoF? 

 

Depends on which mode, not so simple on a phone. The ToF depth map can give you the look of F0.95 on full frame at the touch of a button.

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It all looks pretty awful as does everything I have seen from any phone unless it's thumbnail/IG size.

I've given up on phones myself as a camera, unless it's just a snap for social media/friends & family.

But for everything else, just nah.

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28 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

To me it just looks hyper clinical, revealing, digital although it also depends on the photographer and lighting, so we can't blame the phone for everything.

(...)

I just think the PROCESSING dial needs turning down several notches to be honest.

Indeed. And it is 100% possible if they care. FILMiC PRO offers it. Why not them?

image.thumb.png.d9eb54e16a41f642c71d291e9832ed16.png

 

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12 minutes ago, MrSMW said:

It all looks pretty awful as does everything I have seen from any phone unless it's thumbnail/IG size.

I've given up on phones myself as a camera, unless it's just a snap for social media/friends & family.

But for everything else, just nah.

That's the feeling, yeah, but it is rather viable to arrive there at the other end of the fence if they fulfill the cup and not forget their home work. I've been in touch with the marketing and sales chain either in Portugal or Europe. BTW the ASUS W EMEA man I contacted last night already answered me this morning.

Seems clear they need competent people to help the product to also be a camera.

We can't put who rides a bicycle to fly an aircraft without flight knowledge. Basic flight knowledge is insufficient. Andrew is on the spot when his article nails they need to have who (really) understands of photography.

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One way around the NR and sharpening is simply to shoot RAW DNG on an Android phone.

OnePlus 8 Pro has the best RAW output I've tried.

Sometimes the dynamic range is much more limited vs the processed JPEG though.

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When Steven Soderbergh could say of smartphones, in 2018, that "I think this is the future ... Anybody going to see this movie who has no idea of the backstory to the production will have no idea this was shot on the phone ...  I’ve seen it 40 feet tall. It looks like velvet. This is a gamechanger to me” it's probably safe to conclude that the consumers for these phones are even more oblivious and/or indifferent to what's traditionally been regarded as "image quality".

This is the way of the world, the march of time, cheaper and worse.  And it makes sense, for most smartphone users.  People actually like that plastic processed look.  Or simply can't tell the difference.

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I remember when the first 1" sensor smartphone came out (Panasonic CM1) was around the same time the Samsung NX1 arrived.

It's still worth keeping an eye out for on eBay if you want a smart compact camera...

https://www.eoshd.com/review/panasonic-cm1-review-part-1-smartphone-first-impressions/

Takes some great shots in RAW mode.

In many ways it's still the best sensor in any smartphone for RAW at least.

I recently re-bought one for 100 euros.

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