At the global announcement of the Mi 5 smartphone, Xiaomi spent a sizeable amount of time concentrating on the new 16MP Sony sensor on the Mi 5, which alongside the new four-axis OIS module promises exceptionally great images.
Besides Xiaomi VP Hugo Barra’s sample image released ahead of the launch, actual sample images taken with the Mi 5 are virtually non-existent.
Thankfully, we’ve got some to share and more importantly, give a glimpse of what the Mi 5 is capable of in the camera department.
These photos were taken with the Mi 5 shortly after the launch event in Spain, and were presented to us without alteration. Xiaomi has requested that we do not reveal the source of the photos, but confirmed that the photos were indeed taken with the Mi 5.
After going through the sample images below, you can see that the Mi 5’s camera is definitely impressive – but there are some post-processing issues that presented itself in some shots.
All images can be viewed in full resolution by clicking on them, or opening them in a new tab (caution: 4-7MB per file)
One major, repeated example is the colour reproduction of the clouds: they’re simply too saturated. Having been in the same city during the time the photos are taken, I can safely say that at no time were the clouds as brilliantly blue as they appear in the images above.
This is important with some context. I use a Samsung Galaxy Note 5 as my daily driver, and while its camera is fantastic, it is also guilty of slightly saturating colours to make them look more appealing. Hence, for me to say that the Mi 5 oversaturates the skies, it can be overbearingly saturated for many others.
That said, the Mi 5’s ISP preserves details very well in daylight outdoor shots, while indoors, noise is kept impressively low.
All images posted here were taken in Auto HDR mode, resulting in impressive balance in foreground and background exposure.
Because the images appear to be processed to saturate colours by default, food photos look amazingly tasty. The punchy colours enhance the look of both the seafood paella, the shrimps, and regional squid dish.
There is one key factor that cannot be shown here but should still be pointed out. MIUI, the Android ROM that runs on all Xiaomi smartphones, lack a “quick launch” gesture for the camera. Sure, there is the stock Android shortcut from the lock screen, but it isn’t as efficient and as fast as Samsung’s astonishingly useful quick launch feature for the camera, where it can be activated at any time by pressing the Home button twice.
As they say, the best camera is the one you always have with you – but it’ll be an even better one if you can launch it easily and quickly with one hand!
Overall, these sample images give a strong indication of how capable the Mi 5’s camera can be. Given that it’s only available in China at the moment, there is still time for Xiaomi engineers to iron out the camera software and deliver an even better camera experience.