Cameras

This also marks the one of the few rare phones in the market with a total of 3 different usable cameras. The Mi 9 has this triple rear-facing camera setup:

  • Triple rear-facing cameras
    • Telephoto: 12MP f/2.2; 2x zoom with laser AF and PDAF
    • Main: 48MP f/1.9 with laser AF and PDAF
    • Ultrawide: 16MP f/2.2; 0.48x zoom with laser AF and PDAF
  • Selfie camera
    • 20MP f/2.0 fixed focus

Xiaomi Mi 9

Lately, it’s great to see the disappearance of depth sensor cameras in favor of a real camera – like an ultrawide angle for instance. That is certainly much more useful than getting accurate post-processed bokeh.

Xiaomi is utilizing laser autofocus for all 3 cameras. I applaud Xiaomi for doing this as even the ultrawide angle camera has laser autofocus – which is something that the Galaxy S10 series lacks. Unfortunately, none of the cameras on the Mi 9 has OIS.

Once again you can click here to head on over to our Shutterfly album to check out all of the images below in its full resolution alongside with the metadata.

Rear-facing cameras

Once again, Xiaomi did a pretty good job with the Mi 9’s cameras here. There are room for improvement, as the colors appear slightly differently between the 3 cameras. Overall, I really like the images that it produces – though the telephoto seems to overexposed some of the time.

It comes with an option to correct the ultrawide angle lens distortion too. It is found in the camera settings menu.

Review - Xiaomi Mi 9: What a fantastic surprise 1
Ultrawide angle camera without lens distortion fix.
Review - Xiaomi Mi 9: What a fantastic surprise 2
Ultrawide angle camera with lens distortion fix.

Here are a few day shots with the 3 cameras for comparison. We have a few sets of images from different scenes.

Set 1

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Ultrawide angle camera.
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Main camera.
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Telephoto camera.

Set 2

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Ultrawide angle camera.
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Main camera.
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Telephoto camera.

Set 4

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Ultrawide angle camera.
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Main camera.
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Telephoto camera.

Then comes the night shots. The Xiaomi Mi 9 does come with a dedicated night mode that takes a long exposure shot. For some reason, the night mode is available only for the main camera and the telephoto camera. The ultrawide angle camera is unavailable for night mode. We hope that Xiaomi will add this feature in the next firmware update.

Obviously, the night shots look brighter than the normal photo mode. It does, however, have a noticeable lost in picture detail – especially for the telephoto camera. Still, it’s very good for social media use.

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Main camera without night mode.
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Main camera with night mode.
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Telephoto camera without night mode.
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Telephoto camera with night mode.

There are lots of room to improve and I really think that in time, Xiaomi will further improve the cameras – especially the night mode.

Selfie camera

I’m not much of a selfie fan, but the Xiaomi Mi 9 can obviously take good-looking selfies at arm’s length. The colors are great – but I do wish that the selfie camera has autofocus.

Review - Xiaomi Mi 9: What a fantastic surprise 16

Camera UI

Looking at the camera UI itself, I have only one complaint. Why the button to switch to the ultrawide angle camera is placed at the bottom? Pressing the zoom button only changes from 1x to 2x. The ultrawide angle camera button is completely independent and a little difficult to reach, if you ask me.

Xiaomi Mi 9 camera UI

All the images taken by the Mi 9 is in 12MP and Xiaomi is utilizing the 4-in-1 pixel technology all the time. If you want to take a picture in 48MP, you need to change to another mode. The 48MP mode does not have AI, though.

Xiaomi Mi 9 camera UI

Then comes the night mode. Yes, the night mode is also another separate mode. It does not say how many seconds you need to hold to take the shot. The Mi 9 just does its thing and you can see how great the images turned out to be.

Also, there is no option to use the ultrawide angle camera together with night mode.

Video?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Mi 9 can actually capture at a full 4K resolution at 60FPS. Or you can record at 1080p resolution at 240FPS too. This is exactly what we have on the Galaxy S9 which I adore so much and it’s great to see other phones are able to do the same as well.

It does come with a time lapse video option as well. It has a lot of different speeds to select from. We recorded a 30x speed time lapse and created this masterpiece.


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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design & Materials
9
Software
7
Connectivity and ports
7
Screen
9
Performance and gaming
10
Camera
8
Battery and charger
8
Value
10
The enthusiastic nanoelectronic engineer who found his way into simplifying the world of tech for everyone. Introverted, but noisy. Nice to meet you!