181Image Quality RatingUBER-G SCORESscoring- / Ranking-SystemnameIQImage-Quality-based rating systemCAMERAMobile PremiumCategory based on the price2019-11Date of introductionXiaomi Mi Note 10 (CC9) device brand and name
When it started, it was Xiaomi Mi Note 10 / Note 10 Pro (called Xiaomi CC9 in other regions) was the first commercially available 108 megapixel mobile camera. The megapixel war has been in full swing since the end of 2019 and will only increase in 2020, as phone chips like the Snapdragon 865 can support up to 200 megapixel cameras.
Important: In standard photo mode, the maximum photo resolution is 27 megapixels (108/4 via pixel binning). So we test that. 108 MP is actually another mode that the user has to select manually (compared to a different resolution), reducing the likelihood that it will be used at all.
Important camera specifications
- Rear view camera system (5 cameras)
- Primary: 25 mm 108 MP 1: 1.69 wide (primary) + OIS
- Zoom # 1 *: 50 mm 12.19 MP 1: 2 zoom
- Zoom # 2: 94 mm 8 MP 1: 2 zoom + OIS
- Extra wide: 16 mm 20.11 MP f / 2.2 Ultrawide
- Macro*: 46 mm 2-MP 1: 2.4 macro
* Zoom: There are two telephoto camera modules, which is great, but only the more powerful zoom performance (94 mm) is relevant in this review.
* Macro is not yet included in our Uber-G Camera IQ score because it is a bit new and the resolution is relatively low. If you think a macro should be included and therefore phones without a macro should be penalized, leave a comment.
For full specifications, visit the Mi Note 10 full technical information page.
Image quality analysis
Important: Let us clarify some terms that we will use:
- "Image processing": Software work that improves the image data quality
- "Image filtering": Software work that changes the style (aesthetics) of the photo.
- "Context photo”: a large Approximation from what we see
- Including how dark the scene actually is
- Just for that context of the shot.
A note on Uber-G camera IQ Benchmark: Our camera rating system is based on four “pillars” or partial values that offer the much needed nuance: Day, night, Zoom and extra wide Photography.
Depending on the scene, HDR, details or colors can make the greatest contributions. In a scene without a backlight like this, details and colors are the most important quality drivers. Let us consider the following scene:
The photo above was taken in the afternoon and things were quite bright in direct sunlight. The "white" houses on the right are usually not "white" but under the sun. That's what they looked like back then, and the reference photo shows this very well to show you.
The Mi Note 10 uses HDR somewhat aggressively and noticeably changes the brightness of the scene. It is now a little underexposed and makes the photo dull and less natural.
The excess HDR also makes it appear as if it were later in the day than it actually was.
The iPhone 11 Pro behaves a bit similar, and we've said in the past that the iPhone camera tends to use HDR too much, just not as much as the Mi Note 10 camera.
The Mate 30 immediately takes a more lifelike photo and exposes the scene very well. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 also captures good color tones, but often overexposes easily and uses more image filters such as sharpness.
But when it comes to details, the 27-megapixel photos of the Mi Note 10 impress. Check this comparison with the 10MP photo of a Mate 30 Pro:
Why are details (and photo resolution) important?
- Better detail and texture absorption
- More creative freedom with crops and framing
If you open these photos again in years, you will be glad that they were taken with the best possible details at that time. You can find a similar color behavior and a similar level of detail in other daylight photos, as in the following scene:
Above, the Huawei Mate 30 Pro takes a very lifelike photo of the scene, which perfectly reflects the general colors and mood of this place.
In the following, the photo of the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 shows very striking color and contrast changes: grass, trees and bushes lose contrast because their brightness was artificially increased by the HDR processing of the Mi Note 10 camera.
Of course, this also applies to the houses, so that the overall photo looks a bit unnatural compared to what the photographer is looking at.
In the following, the Galaxy Note 10 may have a slightly “warm” (yellow) color shift. Dealing with contrasts is better than with the Mi Note 10.
Below, there's no denying that the Mi Note 10 captures finer details as seen in the vegetation, sidings (blue house on the left), and cars, but not to the point where street signs would become legible .
Completion of daylight photography
The Xiaomi Mi Note Pro camera is daylight output mixed. The added detail of the 108MP sensor (27MP photos) is impressive and noticeable, but color and HDR matching requires more work if the original mood of the scene is to be reliably captured.
The color and HDR issues put a strain on the camera points of the Mi Note 10, as the Uber-G Camera IQ focuses on capturing lifelike colors and general scene mood for maximum creative control.
|Samsung Galaxy S9 +||184|
|Galaxy Note 10||187|
|iPhone 11 Pro||189|
|Xiaomi Mi Note 10||190|
|Huawei Mate 30 Pro||196|
Low-light or “night” photography is the category that is of most interest, and we were excited to see how the Mi Note 10's new 108MP sensor would behave. Let's take a look at some typical night photos with a high dynamic range:
The photo above shows a scene we looked at: a house lit by Christmas lights. All smartphones tend to brighten up the scene. Brighter isn't always better, and when the phone takes a good picture, the brightness can usually be switched back to give it a more natural look.
The Mi Note 10 takes a nice picture above, but has difficulties in brightly lit areas and loses data in these regions. The individual fairy lights can no longer be distinguished and the house number is no longer legible. Other high-end mobile cameras generally manage HDR better.
This HDR weakness often occurs, as in this colorful scene, under which strong highlights and subtle secondary lighting can be seen.
In the scene above, the Mi Note 10 also has a stronger lens effect in the top left, but we haven't seen that often. The Galaxy Note 10 is the camera that captures the best color tones and is the easiest to look like the reference scene with simple changes in brightness / contrast.
The Huawei Mate 30 offers additional contrast that cannot be removed. This makes the lighting look a bit harder than in the real world. However, it can claim the best overall image quality for this round.
The Mi Note 10's low-light HDR quality could be improved to avoid these oversaturation problems in areas of photos with more lighting.
This is really a shame, because a close examination of the photos shows that the 108 MP sensor can detect very fine details. Here's a slightly different view of the first night scene and the area in green we're going to examine.
Below you can see the excellent level of detail that the Mi Note 10 sensor can achieve. Compared to the iPhone 11 Pro, it's easy to see that the iPhone is much louder with blurred vegetation details. However, the colors of the Redmi Note 10 are somewhat different and produce a warm tone in the area of the upper house, which is predominantly blue.
Even compared to the Huawei Mate 30 Pro, the current camera champion, the Mi Note 10 image, is cleaner and seems to be less processed – because it is. In order to compensate for the resolution of 10 MP, the Huawei Mate 30 Pro camera seems to use some levels of focus filter (sharpen contours and sharpen contrast). This can be seen most clearly on the palm leaves in front of the window.
The Mi Note 10 uses the "brute force" sensor resolution and has fewer signs of image filtering.
When we look at the street mail, there is also a tiny sign for the camera. In the photo of Mi Note 10 you can clearly read "Note". The aspect of the tree leaves in the back is also much more natural.
Night photos with uniform lighting (0.4 LUX)
If there are no strong highlights or backlights, we can focus our analysis on the raw light detection capabilities of the camera and see how many colors and details it can select and with what type of noise. Below you can see our scene with “colored bottles” with an ambient brightness of 0.4 LUX on the bottle.
The photos are cropped below to better illustrate the results. This is even suitable for tablets or smartphones. As usual, phones will “brighten up” the scene, but what is important here is noise and details. Under such conditions, it is also difficult to grasp the colors.
A comparison with the iPhone 11 Pro shows that the Mi Note 10 is far from the best Apple camera. For details, see the small cords and knots and the smaller Chinese characters on the labels.
Although the Galaxy Note 10 is better than the iPhone 11 Pro, it also surpasses the Mi Note 10 photo, which, despite seemingly less image filtering, has more details and cleaner noise.
The Mate 30 Pro uses more image filtering to counteract the noise and make the image “sharper”. However, the sharpener makes the text less readable and the overall picture does not look as clean due to the noise and the slightly lower resolution.
When we return to the context photo, it's obvious that the Mi Note 10 camera retains details in a way none of the classic low-light champions can match. It shows how powerful this new sensor is in its raw form.
Night vision (0.05 LUX)
If we reduce the brightness in the same scene to 0.05 LUX, our light meter can hardly measure the light. It gets very difficult on phones that are not optimized for night vision.
For example, the image quality of the iPhone 11 Pro deteriorates and the noise level increases dramatically. The Galaxy Note 10 performs better, but is also not designed for night vision. The Mi Note 10 holds its own, you can see how blurred it became compared to the previous 0.4 lux round.
And here the Huawei Mate 30 Pro takes the lead with a surprisingly clean picture that looks very different from the previous picture with a little more light. This is probably because Huawei doesn't use the same image filters here.
Night vision is impressive and fun. Note, however, that only a relatively small number of photos are taken in the dark, so the contribution to the overall user experience is not that high.
Completion of night photography
The performance of the Mi Note 10 in poor lighting conditions is also mixed. The maximum functions of the hardware are impressive. If you look at the details, it can outperform the competition with older sensors.
"IT CAN EXCEED COMPETITORS WITH OLDER SENSORS"
However, this camera is too have to deal with the basics better like color accuracy and dynamic range. Overexposed areas are very noticeable and cannot be corrected with the editing. This is a problem in very common situations.
The good news is that if Xiaomi continues to improve the camera software, there is a chance of a significant increase in quality, since practically none of the weaknesses of the Mi Note 10 camera are due to hardware limitations.
|Honor 20 Pro||191|
|Xiaomi Mi Note 10||193|
|Galaxy Note 10||194|
|iPhone 11 Pro||194|
|Huawei Mate 30 Pro||211|
Ultra wide photography
In Ultrawide mode, we noticed some of the same behaviors that were found in the daylight photo tests, namely some excessive HDR filtering and hue changes compared to the real scene. Excessive HDR leads to a loss of contrast that cannot be undone.
From the image comparison below, you can see a significant difference between the Mate 30 Pro that comes closest to the “real world” and the Mi Note 10, which has less contrast across the board.
It is most clearly seen in the grass mass, and strangely, the color of the foreground grass on the left also changes.
In the following, the Galaxy Note 10 exaggerates the saturation as part of its image filtering process, but is easy to weaken and preserves the colors well.
From the point of view of details and texture, the Mi Note 10 ultrawide camera is quite good thanks to its sharp 20 megapixel camera module. All high-end cameras work quite well in the middle, but the Mi Note 10 is visibly sharper on the outer edge of the picture.
Below is a section from the center of the picture, in which everyone has good levels of detail. Interestingly, the excess HDR helps the Mi Note 10 look up close because nothing is over or under exposed. The Mate 30 Pro has a bit too much contrast, which was not too noticeable at first. The Galaxy Note 10+ shows a good balance, but its 12MP photos are certainly a little blurry than the Mi Note 10.
If we look closely at the photo on the left, we can see that the camera of our Mate 30 Pro is less sharp, which is often the case with Ultrawide lenses. However, the Mi Note 10 is very suitable for small details in the picture. It is impossible to say how consistent the optics quality is because we don't have enough patterns.
The comparison with the Mate 30 pro is particularly effective because the focal lengths are 16 mm (Mi) and 18 mm (Mate). The Note 10+ has a 13mm lens and takes even “wider” photos with potentially bigger challenges on the outside edges of the image.
Ultra wide low light
In low light conditions, the Mi Note 10's ultrawide camera is better than the iPhone 11 Pro, but not quite as powerful as the Galaxy Note 10. It has difficulty collecting light when you move away from the center of the frame, which is very common Situation with most ultrawide cameras. Here's the scene we're looking at first:
The ultrawide photo of the iPhone 11 Pro is very noisy at the top and has a significantly lower image quality than that of the Mi Note 10, although the iPhone manages the Christmas lights a little better.
Below, the Mate 30 Pro's Ultrawide camera captures much more light and detail and remains by far the best Ultrawide camera in low light conditions. Image filtering is relatively strong, but with very simple brightness and (de) saturation filters, we can make it look much more natural, as can be seen under the slider.
Ultrawide photography graduation
In daylight, the overall performance of the Mi Note 10 is limited by its ability to make the colors and HDR as good as the competition. It's true that details are great, and that can be important for printing or viewing photos on a TV. However, this is a secondary function because the Ultrawide function is to capture more "breath" instead of more "depth".
Performance at night is very honorable, but it depends on how powerful the camera hardware is. Here, the Mi Note 10 is better than the iPhone 11 Pro, but cannot surpass the Galaxy Note 10+, let alone the Mate 30 Pro.
|Huawei Mate 20 Pro||114|
|iPhone 11 Pro||117|
|Xiaomi Mi Note 10||130|
|Galaxy Note 10||140|
|Huawei Mate 30 Pro||172|
When it comes to zooming, the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 is equipped with a 94 mm zoom lens, which is supported by an 8 megapixel sensor and optical image stabilization (OIS). Traditionally, the performance of the optics has more influence than the sensor resolution.
This is underlined by the fact that a lot of light is available in daylight, so the sensor size is less important. At night, most phones use the primary (non-telephoto) camera, which is optimized for low light, and simply scale the image up to simulate a zoom.
|iPhone 11 Pro||51 mm 12 MP 1: 2 zoom + OIS|
|Huawei Mate 30 Pro||80 mm 10 MP 1: 2.4 zoom + OIS|
|Xiaomi Mi Note 10||94 mm 8 MP 1: 2 zoom + OIS|
|Huawei P30 Pro||135 mm 8 MP 1: 3.4 zoom + OIS|
As a result, the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 outperforms the iPhone 11 Pro and all other high-end phones with a 52mm look like the Galaxy Note 10 and many more.
Let us first show you the area in which you want to zoom. In the overall scene, we turn to the area highlighted by the little green square and take a 10x zoom photo.
Below is what a 10x zoom photo looks like from this location. Here is a photo taken with the Huawei P30 Pro, the most powerful zoom we've tested so far:
The following image comparison is cut out from this view to better emphasize the differences. It gets interesting here.
A comparison with the iPhone 11 Pro shows the big difference in detail that we would expect if we only looked at the technical specifications.
In the following, the Mate 20 Pro uses a shape-based sharpening filter. It works well on straight edges such as windows, wires, and pipes, but it mutilates much of the texture seen in the solar panels, roof, and roof wooden barriers.
A zoom camera like the Huawei P30 Pro does not need to be sharpened as much and only uses the power of the brute force sensor to achieve excellent image quality. As you can see, the quality is noticeably better both in terms of details and in terms of noise level.
Xiaomi made a good decision by equipping the Mi Note 10 with a powerful telephoto lens. This means that Xiaomi customers have one of the most powerful mobile telephoto cameras on the market and one that goes far beyond what iPhone users can get their hands on. We rate the zoom performance with a Zoom score of 135.
"ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL TELEPHONE MOBILE CAMERAS"
|Google Pixel 3||62|
|iPhone 11 Pro||92|
|Xiaomi Mi Note 10||135|
|Huawei Mate 30 Pro||118|
|Huawei P30 Pro||148|
Conclusion and camera IQ score
The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 camera is one of the best cameras we've tested and one of the most exciting in terms of hardware development as it had the first commercial 108MP sensor. We have shown that such an increase in the number of megapixels can lead to visible improvements in the details and texture for the user.
With a street price of $ 460, the Mi Note 10 camera is by far the one that offers The best value of a camera over 164 that we have tested so far. and the best mobile camera under $ 600 (premium segment).
BESTOVERALL Specific category is taken into account2019-11Award dateUBER-G SCORETThe ranking system NameIQImage-Quality based RankingCAMERAMobile PremiumCategory based on the start price2019-11Device start dateXiaomi Mi Note 10 (CC9) device brand and name
181Image quality ratingUBER-G SCORESscoring / ranking system nameIQImage quality-based rating systemCAMERAMobile PremiumCategory based on price2019-11Date of introductionXiaomi Mi Note 10 (CC9) Brand and name of the device
|Uber-G camera IQ||Partial results|
However, in order to fully utilize the camera's hardware potential, the Mi Note 10 needs better color and HDR matching so that the camera captures the image expected by the photographer. With many colors and light filters, the colors of daylight photos can appear a little unnatural.
At night, the dynamic range needs to be better managed to capture lifelike scenes with complex lighting such as city nightlife, carnivals, amusement parks and other common low-light situations where the contrast can be extreme.
Overall product rating: 9.2 / 10
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