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Xiaomi 12S Ultra will include a huge 1-inch camera sensor by Sony

Sony and Xiaomi each committed $15 million to the development of the sensor

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Xiaomi 12S Ultra will include a huge 1-inch camera sensor by Sony

Big-sensor cameras are somewhat of a unicorn for smartphone imaging engineers. Even the most powerful smartphone cameras employ very small sensors. And efforts to bring larger sensors to the mobile form factor have proven impractical, specialised, or never truly materialised. Xiaomi seems to be the latest firm to attempt to capture the elusive notion with its forthcoming 12S Ultra flagship.

According to a Weibo post noticed by Android Authority, the phone would feature a massive 1-inch sensor co-developed with Sony. That’s around 1.7 times the surface area of the 1/1.33-inch-type sensor in the primary camera module of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. The $1,300 Cyber-shot RX100 VII from Sony, which is essentially the small camera’s pinnacle and final-boss version, also has a sensor of the same size.

Sony and Xiaomi each committed $15 million to the development of the camera sensor used in the 12S Ultra

It’s a pioneering work since nobody has truly been able to master the 1-inch smartphone camera. Not even Sony, whose Xperia Pro-I has a sensor that size but only utilises a portion of it. The larger sensor, pixels, and optics would provide considerable image quality advantages over smaller, typical smartphone cameras, particularly in low light.

Xiaomi isn’t stopping at the sensors, either. The business enlisted the help of Leica, albeit this is far from Leica’s first smartphone camera endeavour. To be honest, conventional camera manufacturers’ cooperation with smartphone OEMs have yielded nothing more than a label on the camera and a lot of marketing bluster. At least in this instance, Xiaomi is investing time, money, and effort into creating new hardware together. According to Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun, Sony and Xiaomi each contributed $15 million toward the development of the new sensor.

Unfortunately, it’s exceedingly doubtful that the 12S Ultra will ever be marketed in the US as Chinese companies have a very tough time competing there. In any event, it won’t be long before the phone is officially unveiled. Xiaomi claims it will debut 12S Ultra to the globe on July 4 at 7 PM China Standard Time (CST).

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