Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro vs. Mi 9 camera comparison: A result couldn't be clearer?
The Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro just went through our test course. But does it always have to be the latest model? Prospective buyers of a Xiaomi smartphone have been spoiled for choice since the release of the current Mi smartphone generation. Is the current high price premium of the Mi 10 series compared to the Mi 9 generation worth it in terms of the photo quality of the main camera? How big are the qualitative differences between the 108 MP sensor in the Mi 10 Pro and the 48 MP Sony sensor in the Mi 9?
We'll take a closer look at both Xiaomi smartphones using different photo subjects and lighting situations.
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Cameras in the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro and Mi 9 compared
The rear main camera of the Mi 9 has a resolution of 48 MP at a fast aperture of f/1.75. The Quad-Bayer color filter in the built-in Sony IMX586 image sensor can combine 2x2 adjacent 0.8 µm pixels into a large 1.6 µm pixel, so that the Mi Phone can produce images with a resolution of 12 megapixels.
The 108 MP sensor in the Mi 10 Pro also has 0.8 µm pixels, which are merged into a 1.6 µm pixel in pixel-binning mode. However, due to the enormous resolution of the Samsung S5KHMX, the Mi 10 Pro produces images with a higher resolution of 27 MP. The aperture is also somewhat more light-sensitive at f/1.69.
In daylight, the Mi 10 Pro already scores points over its predecessor with its higher dynamic range and more image details. However, the focus at the edge of the image is not always optimal. The Mi 9 also reproduces the subjects with a little less contrast, but the quality differences are not serious in daylight. Especially at the edges, the image sharpness is often a bit better than with the Mi 10 Pro.
In less light, the weaknesses of the Sony IMX586 in the Mi 9 come to bear. Neither in terms of image sharpness nor with a pronounced brightness can the previous year's model of the Mi series convince. The Mi 10 Pro shows much less noise in direct comparison. For subjects in the dark, the Chinese manufacturer's current flagship can clearly capture more image information, even if the subjects show visible artifacts. Overall, the 108 MP sensor in the Mi 10 Pro is much more light-sensitive, which results in better lighting in the photos.
If the wide-angle lens is used for taking photos, you'll have to accept a visible reduction in details and sharpness with both Mi smartphones. However, the Mi 9 has the slightly lower dynamic range again, and we also like the color management and detail reproduction better in the Mi 10 Pro's wide-angle photos.
Photos taken with the Mi 9's ultra wide-angle lens look a bit blurred in increasing darkness compared to its successor, and they darken very quickly so that many details get lost in the darkness. Although the Mi 10 Pro has the same f/2.2 aperture, the 2020 Xiaomi flagship brings more light to the image sensor even if the low-light qualities of the ultra wide-angle photos are anything but distinctive.
Verdict - Xiaomi did a good job this year
Unlike last year, the leap between this year's Mi generation and the 2019 Mi generation is comparatively big in terms of photo quality. Especially with regard to the camera, we found the step from the Mi 8 to the Mi 9 to be more of a standstill than a real improvement. This is different this year.
Those who place a lot of value on camera quality should go for the Mi 10 model.
The Mi 10 Pro has gained a lot of ground over its predecessor in terms of low-light photography in particular. The Mi 9's ultra wide-angle lens must also admit a clear defeat to the 2020 Xiaomi flagship, even if the differences aren't serious here.