Xiaomi 12T Pro hands-on: Trying out the 200MP main camera
Xiaomi 12T Pro hands-on: Trying out the 200MP main camera
Note: This feature was first published on 5 October 2022.
If you missed it, Xiaomi announced the Xiaomi 12T Pro on 4 October 2022, touting flagship components with a whopping 200MP main camera.
That definitely warrants a try with its overall imaging capabilities. Before we go straight into photos and videos, here’s a quick recap on what the 12T Pro is all about.
Xiaomi 12T Pro has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset, powering its 6.67-inch CrystalRes AMOLED display rated at 1220p resolution (2,712 x 1,220 pixels) with 120Hz refresh rate and support for HDR content.
Inside comes LPDDR5 RAM, UFS 3.1 storage, and Android 12 cloaked in MIUI 13. The 5G smartphone protects all of that with a sleek-looking glass sandwich body with IP53-rated water and dust resistance (Gorilla Glass 5 front with anti-glare glass at the back). Powering that is a 5,000mAh battery with blazing fast 120W wired fast charging.
All of that, for just S$1,099 (12GB RAM + 256GB storage) in Singapore with options for Black, Silver, and Blue colourways. What’s missing is Xiaomi’s Leica partnership, but we doubt the Xiaomi 12T Pro was conceptualised after the kawan-kawan (friend-friend) ink has dried.
Triple rear cameras led by 200MP pixel-binned shooter
Keeping within its T-series price point while offering an experience that can match premium flagship alternatives isn’t easy. Xiaomi looked to the 12T Pro’s triple rear cameras to do so – its main camera gets all the upgrades while keeping its secondary shooters simple. In detail, they are:
200MP main camera
- Samsung ISOCELL HP1 with 1/1.22-inch sensor size (0.64μm pixels)
- 4-in-1 pixel binning technique (1.28μm pixel size)
- 16-in-1 pixel binning technique (2.56μm pixel size)
- f/1.69 aperture, 8P lens, 85° FOV
- OIS, 200MP Xiaomi ProCut, 2x in-sensor zoom, 8K video recording, HDR10+ video
8MP ultra-wide angle camera
- 1/4-inch sensor size (1.12μm pixels)
- f/2.2 aperture, 120° FOV
2MP macro camera
- 1/5-inch sensor size (1.75μm pixels)
- f/2.4 aperture
In a nutshell, the 200MP main camera does a lot of little things to make the most of its imaging chops. Default shooting on the main camera would net you 12MP photos like many other phones, but its sensor isn’t wasted because of 16-in-1 pixel-binning that gives you bigger pixels (and in turn, brighter images). There’s also 2x “in-sensor” zoom where the Xiaomi 12T Pro focuses on the middle 50% of its main sensor to draw out a “zoomed in image”.
Since the secondary shooters aren’t the star of this show, we’ve focused most of our samples on trying different shots with the main camera and Xiaomi’s many shooting modes. like its portraiture shots (with adjustable bokeh after shooting).
200MP photo samples
For the Xiaomi 12T Pro, 200MP is an option under the “More” tab, parked together with its 50MP option (a result of 4-in-1 pixel binning). An average 200MP photo has a ~70MB file size, and that’s probably the biggest drawback this mode has.
200MP means you can put your photo on a large paper format without worrying about the image’s structure showing up in your prints (like artefacts and loss of detail).
There are digital perks to shooting 200MP photos as well. On the phone, you can very much zoom in and crop out parts of the image without it looking like a poorly-grabbed screenshot. You can click on the images we have to see their original 200MP resolution.
As a whole, the main sensor (while in 200MP mode) has great sharpness and clarity, although its contrast and colour handling do seem very aggressive at times. We like how 200MP kept details in the photo that you can observe up close.
As explained earlier, the main camera gives you 12MP shots because it starts off with 16-in-1 pixel binning by default. The Xiaomi 12T Pro combines a total of 16 adjacent pixels to make a really large pixel that’s even better at capturing light than before.
It offers everything we expected from the Xiaomi 12T Pro, with a nice mix of quality between its sharpness, noise handling, colour reproduction, and detail. Xiaomi tends to go for dramatic-looking shots with its automatic HDR mode. Your standard Xiaomi 12T Pro images social media-ready once you hit the shutter.
In-sensor 2x zoom
To create a zoomed-in photo without losing out on imaging quality like how digital zoom typically does, Xiaomi 12T Pro uses its 200MP sensor to earmark the middle 50% of its main sensor to draw out a “zoomed in image”. This is in the same style as the 2x telephoto option on the iPhone 14 Pro series models.
It’s almost as decent as having an optical zoom lens on the phone without the extra hardware and components bogging down the handset’s affordability. A crucial pain point of zoomed in images is the loss of detail, which you can see was mostly unscathed in these samples. The tree kept its rings on the bark and you’re retaining most of your pavement’s lines.
10x digital zoom
Xiaomi has a 10x digital zoom option for those who desperately need that coverage. It’s more functional than anything else, since it has all the hallmarks of typical digitally zoomed-in shots: there’s artefacts all about with some loss of detail.
The 8MP ultra-wide lends an extra hand in helping Xiaomi 12T Pro users get better framing for architecture and landscape photos, with less aggressive contrast and colour manipulation than its main camera. The fish-eye effect is only more obvious towards the corners and sides.
Shooting in the Xiaomi 12T Pro’s built-in Portrait Mode gives you the chance to artificially enhance the bokeh after-the-fact. Beyond that, rear camera portraits rely on its main camera to deliver on low f/1.7 aperture, well-lit subjects, with details all intact.
Besides having slight jitters when panning, The video recording on Xiaomi 12T Pro feels highly stabilised and easy to control.
Availability and pricing
The Xiaomi 12T (8GB RAM + 256GB storage) goes at S$749, while the Xiaomi 12T Pro (12GB RAM + 256GB storage) retails at S$1,099.
Pre-orders for both models run from 6 to 13 October 2022 at Xiaomi Stores, major consumer electronics stores, and its partnered stores across Singapore.
Xiaomi 12T pre-orders get a Xiaomi Air Purifier 4 Compact (worth S$159), while Xiaomi 12T Pro pre-orders get a Xiaomi Watch S1 Active (worth S$229) together with the Air Purifier 4 Compact.
Pre-orders for the phones are also available on Xiaomi’s official Lazada and shopee platforms between 5 to 12 October (Xiaomi 12T Lazada, Xiaomi 12T Shopee, Xiaomi 12T Pro Lazada, Xiaomi 12T Pro Shopee). Finally, the 12T series are also available at telcos M1, Singtel, and StarHub, with product availability and dates subject to the telco’s stock.