Xiaomi Mi 11: For the mobile photographer and videographer
Smartphone technology has significantly improved over the years, so much so that it has become our go-to device when it comes to connecting with people and accessing different types of entertainment. It has also become a reliable tool for content creation, thanks to its powerful cameras and varied video capabilities, as we can see in Xiaomi’s latest flagship phone, the Mi 11. In this article, we’re going to further explore the capabilities of the Mi 11’s cameras to see why it’s a great device for mobile photographers and videographers.
Before we get started, let’s do a quick recap on the Xiaomi Mi 11’s camera specs. For the rear cameras, we have three shooters — a whopping 108MP main camera with F1.9 aperture, a 13MP ultra-wide with F2.4 aperture, and a 5MP macro with F2.4 aperture. For selfies, we have a 20MP camera with an F2.2 aperture.
If you’ve read our review of the Mi 11, then you know that there’s a lot to talk about when it comes to its cameras. The features alone are already proof that you won’t get bored with this phone. This time, though, we’ll be focusing on its cameras in different scenarios.
This is the mode you’ll mostly use, especially if you want to point and shoot. We use the default setting but with AI camera (scene recognition) on and HDR Auto. This way, we’re leaving everything to the camera to tweak the images based on the scenario. For example, if we’re shooting foliages, a leaf icon will appear, and it will sharpen the image and enhance the colors. You’ll see the same effect when you’re shooting other subjects like food and pets. We like the Mi 11’s post-processing because the photos still look natural and not oversaturated and artificial even with the enhancements. Check out the samples below:
One thing to note about the Mi 11 is that it captures images in 6016 x 4512px or equal to 27MP, which is more than enough for uploading to popular social media platforms. But if you want to take advantage of the full camera resolution, activate the 108MP mode to capture images in 12032 x 9024px. See the sample below.
The 108MP mode comes in handy if we just want to take a photo of something and not worry about losing details when cropping. It’s also a good alternative to zooming or shooting macro as images still appear sharp.
We think an ultra-wide camera should be a staple in smartphones nowadays, considering there’s always something to shoot with a wide-angle lens. Even indoors, as you can use it to capture a photo of your newly decorated room for that inspo post on social media. But what we really enjoy shooting are outdoor sceneries. We get everything in the frame for more immersive shots. We can even fit tall buildings without the need to move back.
Even though the ultra-wide camera is not as sharp as the main camera, we’re still getting pretty good images from it. The colors are still punchy and accurate.
The Mi 11 doesn’t have a telephoto lens, but thanks to the high-resolution main camera, it lets you zoom from 1x to 30x. We rarely use the maximum zoom, but what we found handy for daily shooting is the 2x zoom. When we encounter a subject that is too close to shoot in 1x, we use 2x instead. We often find it as a better alternative to macro. Also, since we’re shooting at a higher resolution, we can easily crop in.
Another feature that we can highlight on the Mi 11 is the Supermoon mode. Yes, the Mi 11 has enough power to capture an image of the moon. So far, we got pretty decent shots. Not exactly high-resolution, but hey, the subject is hundreds of thousands of kilometers away from Earth.
I treat the macro lens as a special lens. We don’t use it that much, but it’s great to have it when you need it. Unlike the trick with the 2x zoom, the macro lens can really get you up close, providing you with a view of the subject you won’t see from a normal perspective. Using it is a bit tricky, though, as you have to find the right distance from the subject to get the focus right. So, take your time with the subject as the results can be rewarding.
Some smartphones have dedicated sensors for depth-sensing. However, the Mi 11 doesn’t have one and relies on software to provide a bokeh effect on portrait shots. Like most smartphones, the blur is artificial, so it’s not perfect. The trick, though, is to shoot the subject at a significant distance from the background. If you can, you might want to tie up your hair to avoid strands from sticking out. You can also apply this effect to ordinary objects to make them look more interesting.
One thing we like about this feature is you can adjust the blur effect from F1.0 to F16 after you’ve taken the shot. Just select the aperture that would make the bokeh effect look natural.
Selfies, on the other hand, look great under the right lighting conditions. It falls more on cooler tones, with the natural skin tone being retained. Plus, we like that it doesn’t go overboard with the beauty mode on. The portrait mode also has an excellent background to subject separation, and you could even play with the aperture and blur style afterward.
Most smartphones shy away in low-light situations. However, that’s not the case on the Mi 11, thanks to its Night Mode feature. While you can try shooting in pitch black, we found it more effective when there’s ambient light available, whether from a lamp post or a building. Even shooting skylines at night is fun to do. Check out more samples below.
As you can see, Night Mode on the Mi 11 works across all cameras, from the Primary camera to Ultra-wide to Selfie. The Mi 11 is capable of brightening the scene while preserving the details and colors.
For videos, it’s capable of shooting up to 8K at 30fps; and 4k, 1080p, and 720p at 30 or 60fps. The steady video mode and the steady video pro mode work across all settings, which is great for vlogging. Moreover, it comes with tons of cinematic features that help you create those cool intros with slick transitions. Under Movie Effects, you can play around with fun video quirks such as Magic Zoom, Slow Shutter, Time Freeze, Night Time Lapse, and Parallel World.
Watch the samples below:
Based on the samples and observations mentioned above, the Xiaomi Mi 11 is a great device, not just for professionals but also for beginners who want to practice mobile photography and videography. The excellent camera performance paired with a slew of nifty features and flagship hardware such as the 6.81-inch 2K AMOLED screen with 120Hz refresh rate, Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, 5G connectivity, 4,600mAh battery with 55W wired and 50W wireless charging, and PHP 36,990 price tag, also makes it a powerful tool for a creative mind that wants to produce content on-the-go without breaking the bank.