Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro – Camera
The phone’s dual 12-megapixel rear cameras offer great promise, with 4-axis OIS (optical image stabilisation), lossless 2x optical zoom and AI smarts equipped to identify 206 discreet scenes set into 25 different categories. The front-facing 20-megapixel snapper, meanwhile, uses pixel binning (grouping individual pixels to form larger ‘super pixels’) to take in as much light as possible to ensure better low-light performance.
A technology called Semantic Segmentation can also discern a foreground subject and essentially lift it from the background to ensure greater edge detection and more accurate background blur or bokeh. Enough tech-chat though, how good are the pictures this phone takes? Based on the shots I was able to capture, very good.
The Mi 8 Pro camera impressed across the board and although it isn’t without fault, any improvements that can be made look to be more software reliant, rather than hardware based.
Colour and detail is rich, post-processing considerate enough that it doesn’t destroy image fidelity when you crop and low light retains a pleasing amount of detail while holding noise and grain mostly at bay.
In natural light the 2x lossless zoom also retains plenty of detail, although it’s unquestionably weaker than the main snapper in low light, to the point where its use is best avoided if you’re not a fan of grain.
The camera captures in HDR by default and demonstrates impressive dynamic range, retaining detail in both the light and dark elements of frame simultaneously.
Like so many other phones nowadays, the Mi 8 Pro also boasts some level of AI-based scene recognition and most of the time, the indicator set within the viewfinder was surprisingly good at confirming what was in-frame, adjusting settings accordingly.
Most of the time shots with AI switched on sported punchier colours and contrast, which has its place, but most of the time I was happy with the AI-free shots, which adopted a more natural finish.
The Mi 8 Pro also supports pleasingly competent video recording, letting you shoot in standard Full HD at up to an impressive 120fps, 4K at 30fps and slow motion at up to 240fps (in Full HD), with quality retaining impressive detail, smooth motion and a pleasing level of stability thanks to that 4-axis OIS system.
As for selfies, not only do pictures adopt a decent finish, but you can also experiment with a wealth of powerful beauty and ‘remodelling’ tools that let you touch up your face to an alarming degree.