Xiaomi becomes the first to officially announce a 64-megapixel camera smartphone
First announced in May, Samsung’s 64-megapixel ISOCELL Bright GW1 sensor sounded pretty impressive. In July, Xiaomi teased a new camera that would feature this pretty insane sensor, as did Indian smartphone company, Realme.
It looks like Xiaomi has beaten them to the finish line, though. They have now announced the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro, the world’s first smartphone with a 64-megapixel camera.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro actually contains four cameras, with the Samsung ISOCELL 64-megapixel 1/1.7″ sensor being the primary camera. It has an f/1.8 lens and phase detection autofocus system.
Even though it is, technically, a 64-megapixel camera, it’s not designed to be used that way. It follows the Quad-Bayer principle, whereby groups of four sensors are combined into one in order to produce a final image with a quarter of the resolution of the actual sensor. In this case, 16-megapixels. The principle works very well, too. It helps to increase detail and reduce noise, particularly at lower light levels. Of course, you can shoot the full 64-megapixel resolution if you wish, too.
- 64 MP, f/1.8, (wide), 1/1.7″, 0.8µm, PDAF
- 8 MP, f/2.2, 13mm (ultrawide), 1/4″, 1.12µm
- 2 MP, f/2.4, 1/5″, 1.75µm (dedicated macro camera)
- 2 MP, f/2.4, 1/5″, 1.75µm, depth sensor
As well as this, there is an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, along with a pair of 2-megapixel cameras. One of these is a “Macro” camera and the other is the depth-sensing camera for things like fake bokeh. A 2-megapixel macro camera sounds a little odd to me. I think you’d probably be better just shooting with the 64-megapixel sensor from a little further away and then cropping it down, and still get better results. But, we’ll see.
When it comes to video, the 64-megapixel main camera shoots 4K UHD at 30 frames per second, or 1080p HD at 30, 60, or 120fps with gyro & electronic image stabilisation.
The front-camera, unfortunately, is housed in a notch, and is 20-megapixel resolution with an f/2.0 aperture lens. It sits in a 6.53″ IPS LCD capactive touchscreen display (not OLED, sorry), with 1080×2340 resolution for a 409ppi pixel density. This supports HDR and 1080p video at 30 frames per second.
It seems a bit of a waste to me to put such a high-resolution camera inside what appears to be a pretty low-end phone. The MediaTek Helio G90T is certainly a mid-range chipset, at best, and doesn’t even really compare to something like the Snapdragon 855 flagship processor. I’m curious to see what the next generation of higher-end smartphones may be able to do with this camera once they start to implement it.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro is expected to be available in China from September and is around $195 for the 6GB/64GB version and around $250 for the 8GB/128GB version. Pricing and availability outside of China has not yet been released.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.