For the June release of the 12S Ultra smartphone with a 1-inch-type image sensor and Summicron lenses, Xiaomi cozied up to Leica. In a concept version featuring a lens adapter for installing Leica glass, the businesses have teamed up once more.
The main camera on the 12S Ultra is equipped with a 50.3-megapixel 1-inch-type IMX989 sensor and a 23-mm F1.9 lens, while the ultra-wide and telephoto cameras are equipped with 48-MP Sony IMX586 sensors. Leica combines its expertise in optics coupled with picture and color processing technology, and optical image stabilization and 10-bit RAW capabilities are baked in.
The concept phone’s rear camera array resembles the production setup, but a 1-inch-type sensor is exposed in the center, albeit hidden by protective sapphire. With the addition of a Leica M Mount camera lens and an adapter, this module will transform into a phone/camera hybrid similar to Sony’s QX series or Photogram’s Alice.
When a lens is fitted, the construction around the lens mount area has been strengthened, and as a result, Xiaomi’s example image tweet claims that the device “can capture ultra-high resolution with unique light and gorgeous optical depths.”
The main 50.3-MP camera and a 48-MP ultra-wide have both been relocated to the outer edges of the array’s disc to make room for the sensor in the center. The user would twist and lock on an adapter-packing Leica M lens, such as the Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH full-frame lens used in Xiaomi’s demo shots, to transform it into a flagship phone with next-level imaging capabilities, including features like 10-bit RAW shooting, focus peaking, exposure control, and histogram also on tap. These two camera modules would handle the majority of mobile imagery needs in day-to-day use.
The flagship 12S Ultra smartphone and this concept were both designed simultaneously, although Xiaomi has not said if it would be put into production. Therefore, it is still a fascinating design study for the time being.