The special Xiaomi 13 Ultra edition with a Leica-inspired camera body and support for on-camera filters is now formally verified to be a genuine product that is going to market. This is the closest we’ve come to a true camera replacement in the smartphone industry.
Xiaomi teased the upcoming debut by writing on Weibo today (via Notebookcheck), “This is professional imaging equipment, not a camera phone.”
And indeed, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra pictured above looks like a professional imaging device. It’s a look and functionality you simply do not get with an iPhone 14 Pro or a Galaxy S23 Ultra.
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We have already seen plenty of leaks for the 13 Ultra, but this is the first time we get to see this special version that will apparently be sold with a camera handgrip accessory as well as support for threaded filters, so you could screw on a polarizing filter, or an ND filter just like you would on a professional camera.
We have previously seen leaked photos showing some mysterious connectors right on the camera system, and it seems that these will be used for the threaded filters that you can add to this phone. Even the filter size has leaked out, and the 13 Ultra is expected to support 67mm filters.
Except for hitting all the right design notes to get that hipster look, we have learned from the Xiaomi camera chief that this special model will be fine-tuned for street photography, where the speed of a camera is of crucial importance. Imagine trying to capture a glimpse of a person on the street or in a crowded subway station. Those are mere moments that require an instant reaction. You cannot waste time setting up the camera, or even focusing.
similar to a Leica camera in its street photography optimization!
That is where the company’s collaboration with Leica has helped them include hyperfocal distance technology on the Xiaomi 13 Ultra.
But what is the focus, hyperfocal distance? This is a term that refers to a point where everything on a camera is in acceptable focus which is what you need to capture those precious impromptu moments of street photography.
In the words of Xiaomi CEO, “No need to focus is the fastest focus”. For this, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra is perfectly set up. A double click of the volume button starts the camera and it instantly captures a picture within 0.8 seconds. You even get a simplified interface specifically made for street shooting.
By default, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra starts at a 35mm focal length, but you have a toggle to go from 23mm to 50mm. The aperture is set at ƒ/4, which helps have everything in focus.
Some images from the Xiaomi 13 Ultra
The Xiaomi team has also been hyping the camera of the 13 Ultra over at the Chinese microblog Weibo, and Xiaomi definitely goes for a completely different look from the current smartphone processing where we have a lot of over-sharpening to images.
Colors on the 13 Ultra are definitely way more realistic, with an almost cinematic, film quality to them.
We also see a few photos taken with the zoom cameras and having a fast aperture on both the 3.2X and 5X zoom cameras makes them way more useful in low-lit conditions.
Sony IMX 858, 50MP, 5X periscope zoom, 120mm, f/3.0 aperture
Front 32MP camera
The focus here is definitely on that gigantic 1-inch type sensor for the main camera, but for the first time, it is paired with a variable aperture lens that can go from f/1.9 to f/4.0 depending on your needs. Xiaomi is also using a Summicron lens with the highest optical quality so far on its phones, which is one more element that contributes to quality images.
The company also discusses the additional sensors that will be included in the Xiaomi 13 Ultra, and we believe that by deciding to employ the same Sony IMX 858 sensor for both the ultra-wide and the two zoom cameras, the firm made the right decision.
the IMX 858 sensor’s 1/2.51″ size, which is not the largest available, camera experts claim that testing of the sensor in the past has shown that it produces better image quality than the Xiaomi 12S Ultra from last year. Additionally, it adds the benefit of having consistent-looking colors at each focal length, which is also very important.