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The Xiaomi 13 Ultra could solve a big issue with one-inch cameras

The Xiaomi 13 Ultra will bring a one-inch main camera with variable aperture technology.

Published onApril 13, 2023

A photo of the back of the Mi 11X with Xiaomi's logo visible
Calvin Wankhede / Android Authority
  • The Xiaomi 13 Ultra will have a one-inch main camera with variable aperture tech.
  • This feature should address a long-standing issue with large camera sensors and wide apertures.

The Xiaomi 13 Ultra is scheduled to launch on April 18, and it’s expected to be a photography powerhouse. The Chinese brand has now revealed a few more details, including some interesting camera tech.

Xiaomi revealed on Weibo that the Xiaomi 13 Ultra will pack a 50MP IMX989 main camera and three other 50MP rear cameras (IMX858). The former is indeed a one-inch camera sensor, previously seen on devices like the Xiaomi 13 Pro and vivo X90 Pro.

However, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra main camera will also offer variable aperture technology. This will allow users to adjust the main camera’s aperture, varying from a wide f/1.9 to a very narrow f/4.0 aperture. It’s unclear if this is a truly variable aperture or if it’s only able to stop at these two apertures.

Why is this camera tech important?

We’re glad to see Xiaomi bringing a variable aperture to the 13 Ultra as this tech could address a significant problem with one-inch sensors on phones. Huge sensors paired with a wide aperture tend to struggle with objects that are relatively close to the camera (but not in macro range), as parts of the scene are simply not in focus. Check out the examples below, taken with the vivo X90 Pro.

So being able to switch to a very narrow aperture should help in a big way, delivering a deep depth of field to keep everything in focus in a scene. You can then switch back to the wide aperture if you want a shallow depth of field for more natural bokeh effects, or if you want brighter low-light snaps.

Xiaomi isn’t the first brand to adopt this feature though, as Samsung brought a dual aperture design to the Galaxy S9 series (letting you switch between f/1.5 and f/2.4). HUAWEI has also since adopted a truly variable aperture for its recent flagship phones. Nevertheless, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra could be the first time we see this tech paired with a one-inch camera sensor.

We’ll need to wait until April 18 to officially learn more about the phone. Fortunately, Xiaomi has already confirmed that the device will see a global release. So you might be able to grab this phone in your neck of the woods — if you don’t live in the US.

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