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Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra Vs Galaxy S21 Ultra Camera Review

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra Vs Galaxy S21 Ultra: The one you’ve all been waiting for is the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra versus the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.

which is the ultra, King?

Now I’m going to throw the specs up on the screen but we do have ultra Wide, Primary as well as Telephoto cameras on both devices.

We’ve got one telephoto camera on the Xiaomi.

It’s five times Periscope zoom.

The S21 Ultra actually has two zoom cameras.

One is at three times and the other is at 10 times.

The primary camera on the Xiaomi does have a larger size sensor, and we also have a secondary display on the Xiaomi, which will allow us to take selfies using the rear-facing cameras.

So this should be quite interesting.

I’ll leave some timestamps down below.

So starting off with the primary cameras,

I think both actually do really well in good light.

And because we do have large size sensors on both devices we do get a really nice shallow depth of field.

Now dynamic range can go back and forth.

In this shot, I do prefer the Xiaomi.

The shadows are brighter.

But in this shot, I do prefer the Samsung which has maintained shadow detail a little bit better compared to the Xiaomi.

Now there are differences in color.

Samsung devices still tend to go for something that’s a bit more vibrant and you can see that in the clouds they do look a little bit bluer.

But generally speaking, I think both are doing very very good.

Now the larger sensor size of the Xiaomi does give you a very shallow depth of field.

Check out this image of the leaf.

You’ve got everything bled out in the background.

However, it also means that you’ve got a very small plane of focus and things can start getting out of focus very quickly.

Now, this is an issue that you can also get with the S21 Ultra, but to solve this Samsung does have a Focus enhancer mode.

So if you do get quite close to a subject it is going to automatically switch and you can switch this off if you want.

And it’s going to use the ultra-wide camera to keep more in focus.

And here is another example.

I held this Android right close.

You can see that the S21 Ultra is keeping more of it in focus.

With Xiaomi I mean, things are starting to get out of focus very, very quickly.

So, you will have to keep that in mind.

Yes, you will get a very nice shallow depth of field, but the risk of that is you’ve got very minimal focus.

Now another advantage of a larger sensor is its low light performance.

It can let in more light.

So you can see that you do get a brighter image here.

Although the S21 Ultra does seem to be sharper.

Now, here is another example.

Again, the Xiaomi does seem to be a little bit brighter but I do prefer the colors on the S21 Ultra.

The Xiaomi is looking a little bit yellow.

Another example, again, even though Xiaomi does appear to be brighter it is a bit more on the yellow side.

And I do prefer the sharpness of the S21 Ultra.

Here is an extremely low light shot.

And here the Xiaomi is doing better overall.

It’s a brighter image and it’s actually not got as much processing compared to the S21 Ultra if we look towards the text, but again it does have a bit of a yellow tint to it.

So I think for the primary cameras, both of these are good.

You will get some advantages and disadvantages on both sides.

Now for the ultra-wide camera, the Xiaomi is slightly wider, and generally both do a decent job.

However, I did find that the S21 Ultra has a better overall dynamic range.

If you look towards the shadow areas in this picture they are better on the S21 Ultra.

Again, in this example, if you look towards the trees, the shadow details have been better maintained on the S21 Ultra.

Now the ultra-wide cameras on both devices can also be used as a Macro camera to refocus.

However, I did find that the S21 Ultra can focus closer compared to the Xiaomi.

Check out this example, the Xiaomi just could not focus in that close, whereas on the S21 Ultra, you could get in much closer which I do like.

Now, when it comes to low lights ultra-wide shots, it’s a very easy win for the S21 Ultra,

just giving you brighter images.

You can see this example here, as well as this example.

So for the ultra-wide camera, my pick would be the S21 Ultra.

Now let’s talk about zoom.

Pause, guys sorry to interrupt.

Serif Saf here. You know what I’m going to do.

I’m just going to remind you to smash that like button for me, it really helps out with the YouTube algorithm.

Sorry. I’ll let you go back to the video. play.

So Xiaomi has plastered 120 X on the back of the Mi 11 Ultra on the camera module which I’m definitely not a fan of, but anyway let’s see if it actually lives up.

So this is at one time.

The Xiaomi is a little bit underexposed here, but the S21 Ultra, you can do three times optical zoom.

So if we compare that to the three times digital zoom on the Xiaomi, you can see that we do have a sharper image on the S21 Ultra.

Now, when we go to five times this is where the optical zoom kicks in the Xiaomi.

The S21 Ultra is still using that three times zoom but is kind of punching in a little bit.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra Vs Galaxy S21 Ultra

And if you look towards the grass area you can see that the Xiaomi is sharper.

However, it is a little bit underexposed.

Now, when we go to 10 times this is where Samsung’s Periscope zoom camera kicks in.

And it’s a very clear win for Samsung.

You’re getting a sharper overall image.

Again, the Xiaomi is underexposing a little bit here.

If we go to 30 times, the Samsung once again, much much sharper and a much cleaner overall image.

And what about if we go to 100 times?

Well, neither of these are amazing but clearly, Samsung is doing much much better.

It’s a lot sharper and you can actually make out what this is, whereas Xiaomi is very much struggling.

And then you’ve also got 120 times for some reason.

I mean, I really don’t understand why you’ve got 120 times on here, because what it does is just makes a bad image a little bit bigger.

I mean, I really don’t see the point of it.

To show you another example here again at one time.

And then if we go at three times the Samsung does get the optical advantage.

At five times, Xiaomi gets the optical advantage.

And especially when we look towards the house it is a little bit cleaner on the Xiaomi, but then again 10 times Samsung is doing much better.

And Xiaomi again does seem to be underexposing a little bit.

And that 30 times easy win for Samsung.

You’ve just got a much sharper image.

You can actually make out all the tiles on the roof.

And then when we go to a hundred times again the Samsung is just much sharper.

And for some reason, you can go to 120 times on the Xiaomi, which just gives you, I mean it’s pointless.

Now, to be honest, I was expecting this because the Xiaomi has five times optical zoom and then the rest that it’s doing

is digital on top of that five times.

Whereas Samsung has 10 times and then it’s adding on top of that 10 times as zoom.

So I was expecting it to do better anyway but these results clearly show that.

What I’m not cool with is the fact that Xiaomi has plastered 120 times on the back.

I mean, it’s clearly a gimmick feature so why plaster in the back?

I gave Samsung a lot of stick for doing the same but with the S20 Ultra last year.

A 100X zoom, in my opinion, is something that you will very very rarely use.

But if you are looking for the zoom champ then it is definitely the S21 Ultra.

All right now let’s look at some portrait images.

Here both are actually doing a really good job in terms of edges.

I was actually quite surprised.

Xiaomi has maintained the blacks of my jacket and my jeans better compared to the S21 Ultra which is, which got a bit of a purple tint, but it has boosted the shadows a little bit.

Now we can use the two X on both devices which crop in.

And again I think both are doing a very good job in terms of edges overall.

We’ve got differences in color.

The Xiaomi again, I think is doing better in terms of the colors of my jacket.

Whereas Samsung is adding a bit of a purple hue to it.

So I do prefer the Xiaomi here.

Now, Samsung has recently introduced three times portraits.

This is something that we’ve been asking for a long time and it does give you a sharper result because at two times it is
cropping into the main sensor.

So when we were at three times, it’s using that native lens.

And again, edges are& really good and it does give you a sharper image, and I do like the fact that there is this option here.

I don’t think it’s doing great in terms of skin tones.

This is something that I think Samsung still needs to work on.

From their rear-facing cameras, skin tones can be off.

Here’s another example.

Now, both of these are not doing great in terms of edges but the reason why I wanted to try this shot was that we had very
tricky dynamic rain.

So you can see that we do have some clouds in the background and these have been completely blown out by Xiaomi.

Although the Xiaomi has boosted the shadows a little bit more in the foreground.

However, here I do prefer the S21 Ultra because you have much more of a balanced shot.

Now, if you do go in two times then I think both are actually doing pretty good in terms of edges overall.

Slight defects but generally they both also got the area in between my arms.

But the Xiaomi does seem to be a little bit more overexposed compared to the Samsung which has maintained the blacks of my jacket a bit better here.

And again, you can use that three times option which I do like.

It’s nice to have that option.

You don’t have to use it if you don’t want to but you do get a sharper result if you use that edges are pretty good.

Now let’s look at selfies.

So using the actual selfie cameras on both devices.

Samsung has actually improved the selfie game quite a bit and they have now made skin tones a lot more accurate in my experience.

I do think it’s doing a better job compared to the Xiaomi here.

It’s a sharper image.

And also again, look towards the back, the clouds and the trees have been maintained on the Samsung whereas in Xiaomi, they
have been completely blown out.

Now, if we do try portrait mode, in terms of edges both are actually doing really good, but dynamic range once again, the ultra is just doing much better.

The Xiaomi actually has an even worse dynamic range this time and things have been blown out even more compared to the regular camera.

Now here’s the thing, with a Xiaomi because it’s got the rear display, you can use this to take selfies with the rear-facing cameras.

Now, if we do this, then we do get a sharper result from the rear primary camera.

And this is a really really nice option to have.

Now I still think that the skin tones are a little bit off.

I’m looking a bit more on the red side, on the Xiaomi here.

So I do prefer the skin tones and the Samsung still here.

However, it is really nice to have that option.

And also you can use the ultra-wide camera for selfies as well using that rear display.

So, I mean, that is super wide.

You can see my legs and everything, but yeah, that’s a really nice option to have.

Here is another selfie.

Again, look at the background of the Xiaomi it’s just completely gone.

It’s just, yeah, it’s just white.

Whereas the S21 Ultra has maintained that a lot more which I really do prefer.

Skin tones, again better on the Samsung.

If we try portrait mode, yes both are doing good in terms of edges but Xiaomi has just completely blown things out which I really don’t li%ke.

Once again we can use the rear-facing camera for selfies and you do get a very very sharp result thanks to that camera.

And you actually get a pretty natural depth of field because of that larger size sensor.

So you can see that the background has started to blur naturally rather than having to do something artificial.

So that’s definitely nice to have.

Once again, you can use that crazy ultra-wide camera for selfies, which is really really nice to have.

Now it might distort things, but you know at least you have the option and I do like options.

Now for low light selfies using the front-facing cameras the Samsung just does better, the Xiaomi really does struggle with the front-facing camera in low light situations.

We can use the front-facing flash.

And I think Xiaomi has kind of overexposed things.

So I do prefer the Samsung here.

And with Samsung, you also have the option for night mode using the front-facing camera.

This actually gives you a very decent result.

Once again, on Xiaomi, you can just flip the camera use the viewfinder at the back, and actually gets a much much brighter result.

Now, it is on the yellow side and that’s what the Mi 11 Ultra tends to do in low light situations.

Hopefully, this can be improved but it’s giving you a much much brighter shot.

Thanks to that larger size sensor on the back and that rear display, which allows you to take selfies from the rear-facing cameras.

Okay, So that was the images.

Let’s now talk about videos.

So at 4K 30 frames, a second both are actually really good.

I did find that the Xiaomi was however sharper.

The S21 Ultra was more stable, but while it’s stabilizing, it does soften up the image a little bit.

It was a similar case for 4K 60 frames a second as well.

The S21 Ultra did seem more stable, but it wasn’t as sharp as the Xiaomi.

For ultra-wide video, at 4K I think both are good, but the S21 Ultra did seem to have better dynamic range and more details in the shadows.

And the Xiaomi did seem to flick er a little bit although both did have pretty good stabilization.

Now both devices can also film at 8K.

The S21 Ultra does crop in quite heavily at 8K.

The Xiaomi does not.

Also on Xiaomi, you do have the option of filming 8k from the ultra-wide as well as the zoom camera.

Now when you are at the ultra-wide camera things did drop in exposure quite a bit but I again do like having that ultra-wide option.

And when you are zoomed in then stabilization isn’t great.

But again, you have multiple options on the Xiaomi when it comes to 8K.

On the Samsung, you’re very limited to that very heavy crop from the primary camera.

So for the 8K video, I would give the edge to Xiaomi.

For slow motion, the Xiaomi has many more options and you can do 1080p at 480 frames a second, then which you can slow down later on.

Now with Xiaomi, you can also get some extreme slow motion 1920 frames a second.

Now I’m not sure if it’s actually capturing that many frames or if it’s using AI to kind of fill in the blanks or anything like that.

But it is nice to have that option.

The issue is it’s very difficult to capture because you have to kind of record and it captures the last quarter of the video in that frame rate.

With the Samsung, you do have 960 frames a second at 720p.

However, the good thing is that you can use a motion detection square.

So as soon as it detects motion, that’s when it’s going to take that burst of 960 frames a second.

So it’s definitely more usable but you do have more slow-motion options on the Xiaomi.

Now for front-facing camera video.

It’s such an easy win for the S21 Ultra and that’s because Xiaomi only films at 1080p from the front-facing camera.

There is no 4K and when you’re shooting video, you can’t use the rear display so you can’t use the hack that we did for selfies.

The video quality as well is not great.

The S21 Ultra just has a better dynamic range.

Stabilization is quite similar on both.

However the Xiaomi crops in quite significantly.

So it’s a big fail for selfie videos for Xiaomi.

For auto focus, I do think it was a bit of a draw.

Both of them do have fast auto-focus.

And for audio, take a listen.

Now, this is an audio test.

So currently on the Xiaomi MI 11 Ultra, and now for the S21 Ultra a lot of ultras.

And we are just testing out both cameras.

You can hear some more

I’m just chatting about absolute rubbish right now.

It’s got nothing to do with anything just so you can hear what the audio quality is like on both devices.

Now I’ll let you go back and put on some earphones to have a listen, but I did prefer the S21 Ultra.

It did have better noise cancellation for the background noise. between the Xiaomi Mi 11 ultra and the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Now I think it’s pretty clear from these tests that the overall winner is the S21 Ultra.

And although the Xiaomi does have some advantages such as that rear display, which gives you some more options with selfies, as well as 8K from the different lenses.

Generally speaking for most situations the ultra-wide camera for the selfie video and in particular for zoom, the S21 Ultra was just miles better.

Now I’m hoping that a few of these things can be improved via software updates.

The Xiaomi is still quite new compared to the S21 Ultra, but things like the zoom are just not going to get improved with software.

You’ve got five times optical extending all the way to 120 times.

And it’s absolutely useless I’m sorry.

That’s what I think anyway.

What do you guys think do drop me a comment below.


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