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Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro vs. Mi 9 camera comparison: A result couldn't be clearer?

Is a camera upgrade from the Xiaomi Mi 9 to the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro worth it?
Is a camera upgrade from the Xiaomi Mi 9 to the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro worth it?
Old versus new. Our camera review of the Mi 10 Pro and Mi 9 is like David against Goliath: 108 MP against 48 MP. But is the camera upgrade from a Mi 9 smartphone to the current generation of the Mi series really worth it? We compare the Sony IMX586 to the Samsung S5KHMX megapixel monster.
Marcus Herbrich (translated by Stephanie Chamberlain),

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.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro vs. Mi 9 camera review

Cameras in the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro and Mi 9 compared

Camera setup in the Mi 9 (left) and Mi 10 Pro (right) compared
Camera setup in the Mi 9 (left) and Mi 10 Pro (right) 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.

Daylight photography

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.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro vs. Mi 9 camera review
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro vs. Mi 9 camera review
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro vs. Mi 9 camera review
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro vs. Mi 9 camera review
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro vs. Mi 9 camera review
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro vs. Mi 9 camera review
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro vs. Mi 9 camera review
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro vs. Mi 9 camera review

Night-time photography

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.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro vs. Mi 9 camera review
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro vs. Mi 9 camera review
Kameratest Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro vs. Mi 9
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro vs. Mi 9 camera review
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro vs. Mi 9 camera review
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro vs. Mi 9 camera review

Wide-angle photography

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.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro vs. Mi 9 camera review
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro vs. Mi 9 camera review
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro vs. Mi 9 camera review
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro vs. Mi 9 camera review

Verdict - Xiaomi did a good job this year

Camera comparison: Xiaomi Mi 9 vs. Mi 10 Pro. Review devices provided by Trading Shenzhen and Xiaomi Austria
Camera comparison: Xiaomi Mi 9 vs. Mi 10 Pro. Review devices provided by Trading Shenzhen and Xiaomi Austria

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.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro vs. Mi 9 camera comparison: A result couldn't be clearer?
Marcus Herbrich, 2020-04-22 (Update: 2020-05-19)
Marcus Herbrich
Editor of the original article: Marcus Herbrich - Editor
My great passion has always been mobile technologies, especially smartphones. As a technology enthusiast, the half-life of my devices is not exactly high and the latest hardware is just good enough - manufacturer or operating system plays a minor role, the main thing is state-of-the-art