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The Xiaomi 12S Ultra has a $15m 1-inch camera sensor

Xiaomi says the new sensor cost $15 million to develop.

Published onJune 29, 2022

  • Xiaomi has announced that the Xiaomi 12S Ultra will have a new one-inch camera sensor.
  • Sony and Xiaomi spent a combined $15 million on developing the IMX989 sensor.
  • The Xiaomi 12S and 12S Pro will be equipped with the IMX707 instead.

Xiaomi announced a partnership with Leica last month, later confirming this week that the Xiaomi 12S series would be the first phones as part of the tie-up. Now, the Chinese company has revealed more details about the new phones.

The company announced on Weibo that the Xiaomi 12S Ultra in particular would use the Sony IMX989 camera sensor. The new sensor offers a one-inch sensor size, in line with Sony’s previous sensor used on the Xperia Pro I and Sharp Aquos R6. However, Xiaomi’s Lei Jun stressed that the sensor wouldn’t be cropped, as we saw with the Sony handset.

He also noted that this wasn’t a case of Sony customizing a sensor for Xiaomi. Instead, Jun says the two companies co-developed the sensor, with a total development cost of $15 million. He added that Sony and Xiaomi each bore half the cost of development and that the sensor would be available to other domestic manufacturers after the Xiaomi 12S Ultra’s release.

What else should you expect?

There’s no word on the sensor’s resolution though, but we hope it’s not a 200MP shooter or something similarly high-resolution. Otherwise, Xiaomi says the new sensor offers better light capture, faster focusing, and improved dynamic range capabilities. More specifically, the company claims a 76% increase in light-capturing capability compared to the iPhone 13 Pro Max sensor.

The company says the Xiaomi 12S Ultra will also be equipped with a so-called Summicron lens coating for the cameras. These coatings are said to offer reflectivity of 0.2% and offer light transmittance of 93% while also reducing purple fringing and glare.

Xiaomi added that the standard phones would be equipped with the 50MP IMX707 sensor (1/1.28-inch sensor size). It noted that the sensor has a 49% increase in light capture compared to the IMX766 sensor used by the likes of OnePlus and OPPO. So while these devices aren’t getting the biggest camera possible, the sensor should still deliver great results if the software is up to par.

Either way, the new phones will be unveiled on July 4, so we have less than a week to go until the launch.

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