Read Before Buying Mi3 Or Other Xiaomi Phones, ...

Read Before Buying Mi3 Or Other Xiaomi Phones, If Camera Is A Consideration

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Score: 3 Votes: 7

Vote down Reasons

  • Self Promotion : 1
  • Bad Reviews for Website/Seller : 1
Score: 3 Votes: 7

Vote down Reasons

  • Self Promotion : 1
  • Bad Reviews for Website/Seller : 1
Borg drone
Deal Subedar
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Ask an average specimen group to comment or review any product, and you get wildly divergent “opinions”. Due to this, reading a lot of reviews on any product often confuses you more. This is especially true of something like cameras. Ask anybody to comment on or make a comment on a mobile cam, and you will get wildly diverging opinions. Comment about the pathetic cameras on Moto G or the Moto X (for the price!), and you will get at least a few people defending even these cameras. And when one says, for eg. that the Moto X camera is bad, the statement has to always take into the account the price of the product, and its performance with other similar priced cams, in similar conditions, which many more often than not omit to take into consideration.

So I’m not going to give my opinion on the Mi3 camera. Rather I’m going to place some hard facts (comparative pictures) in front of you, so you can see and quantify the difference yourself.

I have put up some sample/comparative pictures of probably the most sought after phones currently and a 2011 Xperia Ray.

This is meant to be a comparison between the low light performance of these two cams. It obviously does not take other parameters into consideration. However, I feel low light performance is one of the most important parameter of any camera, if not the most important. A good flash is NOT a good substitute for good low light performance by any means. Pictures taken with flash usually look unnatural and glare is induced, esp. on reflective surfaces, which can degrade, if not ruin the picture. Also, if you need to take a picture on the sly, using a flash is out of the question. wink Lastly a flash cannot reach beyond a few feet from the source, so its utility is pretty much limited anyway.

Note that the sensors of both these phones are made by sony, and both are Exmor (BSI). However, the Xperia has a 8 MP sensor and the Mi3 boasts of 13 MP with other impressive specifications like 28mm lens with f/2.2 aperture. I am not aware of the aperture size, etc., of the Ray’s camera. But the most important consideration is that the Ray is a much older device that was announced in 2011. The Mi3 is was announced in 2013.

Despite the superior (on paper) specifications of the Mi3’s camera, and its much newer origin, the Xperia’s camera completely decimates the Mi3’s camera.

Xiaomi should be ashamed of putting such a pathetic sensor on its (ex) flagship device. And either Sony’s cam quality has declined horribly, or they are supplying low grade (and cheaper?) sensors to Xiaomi.

Enough said. Just check out the huge difference yourself. In each case, the dimmer, barely usable photo with much lesser details is from the Mi3. You can also see the superiority of the Ray’s camera in dealing with text in relatively lower light. The text is clearly readable, and you can even see that it has been automatically transcribed in the right column. The Mi3 camera’s text is unreadable.

The pictures have been clicked at the same time and by holding both phones right next to each other. So all factors can be considered to be almost constant. Tried to play with the exposure and other settings on the Mi3, but still what you see in the pictures is the best it could do. Default settings were used in the Ray. Also, I had the opportunity to check out more than one Mi3 camera, so don’t assume that the individual Mi3 cam module was defective in any way.

http://1drv.ms/1…L8

4 Comments  |  
3 Dimers
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firstly, thank you Borg smile for this (restricted) review and also explaining without being opinionated [to quote you]
I actually have just read through once and commenting even as I see your shots. so pardon if I err

borg drone wrote:
A good flash is NOT a good substitute for good low light performance by any means.


Much agree with this point of yours.
And though I am not aware of the exact specs. of the sensor on either device; i think
The mere megapixel rating is distinctively different than the sensor ratings/ specifications.

Obviously; putting a Full Frame sensor on most portable devices whose primary use is not photography; is impractical.
it will cease to be a ‘mobile’ if it has present generation Full Frame Sensors.

But even when we hear sensor size marking; say 1/3.2 4.54×3.42 etcetera.
each manufacturer means something different in these marking.
[a Sony will be different than a Canon, which might mean something else for the similar markings on a Nikon]

  • all i am saying is sensor sizes vary [now camera sensors do not have ‘vacuum tubes’ like older days; so the fractional measurements mean different things from different manufacturers. it is not a merely diagonal measure of the sensor. i also have not read up lately in-depth; but its complicated.]
  • ‘Angle of view’ brings in what is called the ‘crop factor’ in most sensors that are smaller than the Full Frame 35 mm type formats

Megapixels can be less or same and still sensor size may vary: which matters.
E.g.: HTC One has a 1/3-inch sensor (4.8 × 3.6 mm) and as I mentioned above Iphone 5’s 1/3.2 is comparatively smaller. so lesser efficient.

Thanks though for this MI3 Sony face Off smile
hope you do the follow on reviews too with larger data set of images. [ with details like ISO, exposure etcetera if available ]

Borg drone
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^^^Glad you found it useful. Would try to compare other parameters, but time is a big constraint.

In terms of camera the Mi3 has been a big disappointment for me. In fact a big downgrade from even the aging Xperia. It is unfortunate that by far the most users just comment in air about something being great or terrible, without any rational to back up such comments. I just hope more consumers will become more aware of these things and make companies realize that they can’t fool everyone by hiding poor performance with impressive on paper specifications. I would not mind paying a bit higher for a better cam that would be actually usable in low light. But Xiaomi decided to put such a crappy sensor instead; while it poses its products as premium, albeit with lower price tags.

Just to clarify – I’m not implying that their products or bad overall. Just that one of the most important feature their once flagship mobile is well below par and needs serious improvement.

If Xiaomi phone owners have access to other phones around the same range, I would request them to post similar pictures online, which will be useful for future buyers. Even Gsmarena does not bother to compare low light pictures in its test.

I was hoping there would be some kind of cloud service that would display these comparative pictures side by side. Thats the best way to see the differences. But a casual search did not yield any such service. Does anybody know any picture hosting service that would display 2 pictures side by side?

Borg drone
Deal Subedar
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Was able to check out the Redmi recently. Its camera is perhaps the best you can buy for the price. It seemed in fact on par with the Mi3 camera esp. in low light! Thats a big plus for a phone priced 6k, as the camera is perhaps what you can call class leading, but a minus for the Mi3 as the camera is simply below expectation.

0308 sherlock holmes 630x420
Deal Cadet
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Camera is an imp aspect for many for choosing a good smartphone. From the price point Asus zenfone 5 boasts best camera in segment when talking about low light performance.