La prova fotografica di Xiaomi 13 Ultra: il cameraphone da battere? thumbnail

The photographic test of Xiaomi 13 Ultra: the cameraphone to beat?

A few weeks ago we were sitting on a comfortable sofa, at Casa Xiaomi, with Xiaomi 13 Ultra in hands.
The Italian team announced the arrival of the device in our country.
And “device” is not a randomly chosen word.
In reality, smartphone has always seemed to us a term that is not very suitable for Xiaomi 13 Ultra and its vocation: to the photo.

It’s not the first cameraphone on the market, nor is it the first cameraphone from the Chinese giant. However, it is the first to focus almost entirely on the photographic sector, strengthened by a partnership – the one with Leica – which is not just a facade. The two companies have worked together to create a product that recalls Leica cameras in appearance – with a unique mix of leather and metal – but not only.
We get to have a group of 8 lenses made with a specific polymer and enriched with special anti-reflection treatments to reduce lens flare and chromatic aberration.
And we have filters from Leica, designed to help you take incredible photos without having to edit them afterwards.

Xiaomi 13 Ultra camera

In short, the collaboration concerns the design, the hardware and the software.
Here because David LunardelliHead of Marketing of Xiaomi Italia, defined it “an affordable Leica camera, not an expensive smartphone”.

But how does it perform on the field?
We left it for a week in the hands of our photographer, Andrea Sarracino.

The photographic review of Xiaomi 13 Ultra

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Xiaomi 13 Ultra comes equipped with four different cameras.

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Il main sensor is 1”, a 50 megapixel Sony IMX989 that flaunts a mechanical opening which allows it to switch from F/1.9 to F/4.0.
This allows you to adjust the amount of light entering but, be careful, choosing only one of these two openings: in fact, it is not possible to gradually pass from one extreme to the other in small steps. In short, you cannot have an F/2.2 or an F/2.5. Such a pity.

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However, we console ourselves with everything else.
The photos he gives us are excellent: Xiaomi 13 Ultra manages the highlights very well, files are full of details plus you can opt for two different profiles born from the collaboration with Leica, Vibrant e Authentic.
Of course, personal taste comes into play here. We preferred Authentic because, as the name suggests, it stays more faithful to natural colors while Vibrant tends to saturate images a lot.

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The color profiles can also be applied to the other cameras of this smartphone, which yes, they are all 50 megapixels so as to ensure detailed images regardless of the selected sensor. But not only: color rendering is also constant, so you won’t find yourself with completely out-of-tune hues going from 12mm ultra-wide angle (with macro function) to telephoto. Indeed, AI – plural – telephoto lenses.

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We particularly enjoyed lo zoom 5x da 120mm, albeit with an F/3.0 aperture: it gives you really beautiful images and, to our great surprise, well stabilized videos too. And yes, you can count on a 75mm telephoto lens associated with a Sony IMX858 sensor, the same sensor you find on the other tele and on the ultrawide.

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Shooting with this smartphone is therefore extremely pleasanteven wanting to take home some portrait. The dedicated mode indeed it doesn’t blur the background excessivelyreturning images that do not appear artificial.
In addition, you can decide in the post-production phase whether to change the focal aperture to accentuate the bokeh effect or not.

Portrait mode with the 32 megapixel selfie camera is a little less satisfying. Here the bokeh seemed perhaps a little excessive and very muddy.

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E i video?

Xiaomi 13 Ultra also performs great with videos.

We arrive at 8K at 24 fps but honestly we preferred to go down to 4K to have 60 fps and therefore be able to slow down the images in post-production.

The stabilization is really excellent: it almost seems to have a gimbal in your hands.

The focus change is lightning fast but always gradual, never jerky or too aggressive, and the audio in the room is clean and balanced.

Here too we particularly appreciated the 5x zoom, stabilized and therefore able to give us a different point of view.

Comparison with iPhone 14 Pro Max

Xiaomi 13 Ultra is undoubtedly one of the 2023 cameraphones, perhaps the best.
But is all this enough to beat what has been the industry benchmark in recent years?

We took some photos and captured videos with both an iPhone 14 Pro Max and a Xiaomi 13 Ultra and we want to leave the final decision to you.

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Know that Xiaomi gives us Leica effectssuch as sepia and black and white, which you can apply during shooting.

iPhone, for its part, perhaps manages the backlight a little better and better balances light and shadow.

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The photographic review of Xiaomi 13 Ultra: conclusions

Xiaomi 13 Ultra really amazed us, both for photos and for videos.
Perhaps calling it an “accessible Leica” is a bit premature but the Chinese company has certainly unsheathed a cameraphone that can really give satisfaction to photography enthusiasts who don’t want to give up anything. After all, you really have all the lenses you need to take pictures in all conditions.