Xiaomi testing the next big jump in mobile photography

In a teaser video posted to Weiboo the Chinese company realized my most persistent fever dream

While mobile photography has advanced a lot over the years, most phones still can’t replicate the isolation and bokeh you get with authentic lenses. Xiaomi might change that.

The company posted a teaser video of a concept phone with a Leica M-series lens mount and a semi-exposed sensor as the primary camera optic. This means you can attach actual lenses to the phone and get images with real depth of field and cleaner sharpness.

However, this is likely still a concept device because the cost of reinforcing and engineering a phone to support real lenses would make it cost more than a typical flagship. Not to mention that the concept only supports very high-end and expensive M-series lenses. These lenses are the perfect fit for a phone because they’re high quality and small, but they’re too costly and niche to market as a device feature.

That said, the design decision to place an exposed sensor between two standard smartphone lenses allows this phone to be used as a traditional phone and a camera. This is a simple solution to a complex problem, and as a photographer, I would love to see other companies adapt to it. As a tech reviewer, I’m not sure it’s a good idea.

Adding bulky lenses will improve photos, but the magic of a smartphone is it fits in your pocket and still takes great pictures. I don’t mind carrying a camera bag with lenses and a big camera around, but most people likely don’t.

I think phones targeting photographers should tighten the focal length of the Primary lens to 35mm like the ZTE Axon 40 Ultra did.

My dream phone would be able to fit smaller Fujifilm X-mount lenses and maybe even access the company’s colour profiles, but I’m not going to hold my breath. It’s important to point out that China-based Xiaomi’s smartphones aren’t officially sold in Canada.

Image credit: Xiaomi

Source: Xiaomi