Xiaomi has narrowed the gap between smartphones and premium digital cameras with the release of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra and its 1-inch sensor. But even that has fixed focal length lenses like a typical smartphone. Now the company offers a rare look behind the scenes – in fact, two projects were being developed at the same time, one of which became the 12S Ultra. Another is a hybrid between a smartphone and a mirrorless camera.
This concept device has a second 1-inch sensor, which is not covered by the lens itself (but covered with sapphire glass for protection). This allows the user to attach Leica M mount lenses, opening the door for (semi-)professional use. It’s paired with an advanced camera app that supports a variety of lens focal lengths, zebra lines, histograms, and other tools photographers expect. And 10-bit RAW support of course.
A concept smartphone/mirrorless camera hybrid based on the Xiaomi 12S Ultra
This requires an adapter, which makes the device bulky. However, notice that we said second 1 inch sensor – this concept can take photos and videos like a normal phone because it has the same main camera as the 12S Ultra (1″ sensor, 23 mm lens) and ultra-wide camera (13 mm), these can be used without any additional Hardware.
Lens accessories for smartphones have existed before, but that’s a flawed design – light has to pass through both the external lenses and the phone’s lens, which leads to light loss and a soft image. This Xiaomi concept is different because the attached Leica lens sends light directly to the sensor (except for the protective glass that keeps out dust and water).
Camera samples from the Xiaomi 12S Ultra concept device (12 MP)
When attached, this lens functions as a 1-inch mirrorless camera. Unlike a conventional mirrorless camera, this device is also blessed with advanced computational photography capabilities enabled by the powerful Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset.
Black and white camera samples from the Xiaomi 12S Ultra concept device (12MP)
Again, this is different for additional lenses that go on smartphone lenses. It’s not like the lens-type cameras that Sony has been pushing back for a decade. Those were competing digital cameras, the phone was just the display. And it’s not like Android-powered cameras had phone functionality. These did not have removable lenses. This is something very special made by Xiaomi and Leica.
We don’t have complete specifications for this concept device, but it’s obviously stable from the same as the Xiaomi 12S Ultra. It even has a same grip faux leather back and enjoys full IP68 dust and water resistance. The company has added some reinforcements to the frame where the lens is attached to make it stronger.
Xiaomi has not given any indication whether it will sell this 12S Ultra-based concept device. Maybe not and maybe not – the upcoming Xiaomi 13 Pro is said to have a 1-inch sensor, so maybe a special edition of this device would be more appropriate. Either way, keep this in mind when Sony plans its next Xperia Pro phone.
Source (in Chinese) | through