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Xiaomi 11T Camera review: Decent detail, low noise

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108
camera

The Xiaomi 11T is the 11T Pro’s more affordable version, using the same camera hardware but a Mediatek MT6893 Dimensity 1200 5G chipset instead of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 in the Pro model. The main camera features a 108MP primary module and an 8MP ultra-wide camera. In addition, there is a 5MP macro for close-ups. Xiaomi calls this camera a “telemacro” but it is not used for tele zooming, instead the device uses digital zooming algorithms on the primary camera.

We’ve put the Xiaomi 11T through our test protocol to check how it stacks up against the competition in its segment and the 11T Pro. Read on to find out.

Key camera specifications:

  • Primary: 108 MP 1/1.52″ sensor (12MP output), f/1.75-aperture lens, AF
  • Ultra-wide: 8 MP 1/2.8″ sensor, f/2.2-aperture lens
  • Macro: 5 MP 1/5″ sensor, f/2.4-aperture lens
  • LED flash
  • Video: 4k at 30fps 1080p at 60/30fps 720p at 30fps.

Tested video mode: 4k/30fps (Best compromise in terms of image quality)

About DXOMARK Camera tests: For scoring and analysis in our smartphone camera reviews, DXOMARK engineers capture and evaluate over 3000 test images and more than 2.5 hours of video both in controlled lab environments and in natural indoor and outdoor scenes, using the camera’s default settings. This article is designed to highlight the most important results of our testing. For more information about the DXOMARK Camera test protocol, click here. More details on how we score smartphone cameras are available here.

Test summary


Xiaomi 11T
108
camera
111
photo
42
zoom
105
video

Pros

  • Accurate autofocus outdoors and in indoor conditions
  • Low noise in photos as well as in indoor and outdoor video
  • Captured image similar to preview in most conditions
  • Nice color rendering in video
  • Good level of detail in outdoor video

Cons

  • Loss of fine detail in photo mode
  • White balance casts and unnatural skin tones in photos
  • Autofocus failures and instabilities in low light photos and video
  • Low level of detail when zooming
  • Underexposure in night shots
  • Ineffective video stabilization system

Given that the Xiaomi 11T uses the same camera hardware as the 11T Pro, one could have expected similar results. However, with a DXOMARK Camera score of 108, the 11T lags quite some way behind the Pro model at 117, which goes to show that chipset and tuning have a big impact on image quality. The 11T is still one of the better devices in the High-End segment ($400-$599) though.

In photo mode, the 11T scores points with its excellent texture/noise tradeoff. The level of captured detail is O.K., but nothing special. Noise levels on the other hand are very low, especially in difficult low light, with the Xiaomi producing very clean images in such conditions.

On the downside, dynamic range is limited, and during our tests, we captured quite a few underexposed images in all conditions. White balance casts can be visible, too, and in high-contrast scenes, the autofocus can slow down considerably and can be inaccurate. Our testers also observed several image artifacts, including ghosting in high-contrast scenes and a loss of sharpness towards the edges of the frame.

Xiaomi 11T offers a good texture-noise trade-off with a well-controlled level of noise in all conditions.

When shooting video, the 11T produces nice colors. Detail is generally good and noise levels are well controlled unless you record in low light. The autofocus system does a good job in bright light. It is more unstable under indoor lighting, though, and sometimes downright fails in low light. Like for still, dynamic range is limited, and backlit scenes can be underexposed. We also saw stepping when the exposure system adapts to changing light conditions.

Despite a having a stabilization system, motion was still visible, especially when walking while recording, and there were noticeable differences in sharpness between frames.

Photo

The Xiaomi 11T achieves a Photo score of 111. In this section, we take a closer look at each sub-attribute and compare image quality against competitors.

Exposure and Contrast

Xiaomi 11T

79

111

Huawei P50 Pro
Best: Huawei P50 Pro (111)

In these tests, we analyze target exposure, contrast, and dynamic range, along with repeatability across a series of images. Tests are undertaken in a wide range of light conditions, including backlit scenes and low light down to 1 lux. The score is derived from a number of objective measurements in the lab and perceptual analysis of real-life images.

In low-contrast scenes, the Xiaomi 11T usually delivers accurately exposed pictures. However, subjects tend to be underexposed in scenes with a high dynamic range, such as the one below.

Xiaomi 11T, underexposed subjects, highlight and shadow clipping
Xiaomi 11T Pro, better subject exposure, lack of contrast in the shadows

This behavior is also illustrated by our exposure measurements on the HDR test setup: the higher the dynamic range (EV value) the lower the measured brightness level on the target.

HDR measurements: exposure on the target decreased with an increase of dynamic range of the scene

Color

Xiaomi 11T

84

107

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
Best: Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max (107)

In these tests, we analyze color rendering, skin tones, white balance, and color shading, along with repeatability across a series of images. The score is derived from a number of objective measurements in the lab and perceptual analysis of real-life images.

In indoor conditions and low light, white balance failures can be visible. In addition skin tones sometimes look unnatural.

Xiaomi 11T, white balance cast and unnatural skin tone rendering
Xiaomi 11T Pro, slight white balance cast
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, slight white balance cast

Autofocus

Xiaomi 11T

85

109

Asus Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders
Best: Asus Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (109)

In these tests, we analyze autofocus accuracy and shooting time as well as repeatability, in the lab. We test focus failures, depth of field, and tracking of moving subjects using perceptual analysis of real-life images.

The 11T’s autofocus is generally fast and accurate in bright light. However, in high-contrast scenes and in low light, our testers often observed a noticeable delay when testing in the lab.

Autofocus performance at 100 Lux: the autofocus is generally accurate, with only a short delay before capture.

 

Autofocus performance at 100 Lux and 7EV brightness difference: in high-contrast conditions autofocus performance is noticeable worse, showing failures and an increased shutter lag.

Texture

Xiaomi 11T

88

111

Xiaomi Mi 11
Best: Xiaomi Mi 11 (111)

In these tests we analyze texture on faces and objects, including objects in motion, in a range of light conditions, using several lab test setups and perceptual analysis of real-life images.

The Xiaomi 11T’s texture performance is far from the best, but it is slightly better than the 11T Pro, especially in low light. This should be seen in context, though. The device does very well for noise and overall the texture/noise balance is pretty good.

Xiaomi 11T. low light texture
Xiaomi 11T, crop: fairly good detail
Xiaomi 11T Pro, low light texture
Xiaomi 11T Pro, crop: low level of detail
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, low light texture
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, crop: fairly good level of detail

Noise

Xiaomi 11T

90

99

Huawei P50 Pro
Best: Huawei P50 Pro (99)

In these tests we analyze noise on faces and objects, including objects in motion, in a range of light conditions, using several lab test setups and perceptual analysis of real-life images.

Noise is well controlled on the Xiaomi 11T in all conditions, from bright outdoor light to dim low-light conditions.

Xiaomi 11T, outdoor noise
Xiaomi 11T, crop: low noise
Xiaomi Mi 11T Pro, outdoor noise
Xiaomi Mi 11T Pro, crop: slight noise
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, outdoor noise
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, crop: some noise

Bokeh

Xiaomi 11T

45

80

Huawei P50 Pro
Best: Huawei P50 Pro (80)

For these tests we switch to the camera’s bokeh or portrait mode and analyze depth estimation, bokeh shape, blur gradient, and repeatability, as well as all other general image quality attributes mentioned above. The score is derived from perceptual analysis of real-life images.

When shooting in the Xiaomi 11T’s bokeh mode, depth artifacts are often visible.

Xiaomi 11T, bokeh mode
Xiaomi 11T, crop: depth artifacts
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, bokeh mode
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, crop: very good depth estimation

Night

Xiaomi 11T

29

82

Huawei Mate 40 Pro+
Best: Huawei Mate 40 Pro+ (82)

In these tests we shoot a selection of images in pitch-black darkness as well as with city lights in the background providing some illumination. We shoot sample images with the camera at default settings in both flash-auto and flash-off modes. We analyze all image quality attributes but we pay particular attention to exposure, autofocus, and color. We do not test night modes that have to be activated manually.

In night shots, target exposure is often too low when shooting without a flash. Autofocus errors are frequent, too.

Xiaomi 11T, low target exposure and strong shadow clipping
Xiaomi 11T Pro, accurate target exposure and less clipping but visible motion blur
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, accurate target exposure, less clipping

Artifacts

Xiaomi 11T

59

75

Google Pixel 4
Best: Google Pixel 4 (75)

In these tests, we check images for optical artifacts such as vignetting, flare, lens softness in the corners, distortion, and chromatic aberrations, as well as for processing artifacts such as ghosting and fusion errors, hue shift, and ringing.

Ghosting artifacts can be quite intrusive in high-contrast scenes with motion.

Xiaomi 11T, ghosting
Xiaomi 11T Pro, ghosting well controlled
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, no ghosting but limited dynamic range

Preview

Xiaomi 11T

60

80

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
Best: Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max (80)

In these tests, we analyze the image quality of the preview image and the differences between preview images and captured images, particularly in terms of exposure, dynamic range, and bokeh effect. We also check the smoothness of the field-of-view changes in the preview image when zooming with both buttons or when using the pinch-zoom gesture.

The preview image on the display is generally similar to the final capture in terms of both target exposure and dynamic range.

Xiaomi 11T, capture
Xiaomi 11T, preview

Zoom

The Xiaomi 11T achieves a Zoom score of 42. The Zoom score includes the tele and wide sub-scores. In this section, we take a closer look at how these sub-scores were achieved and compare zoom image quality against the competitors.

Wide

Xiaomi 11T

32

57

Huawei P50 Pro
Best: Huawei P50 Pro (57)

In these tests, we analyze the performance of the ultra-wide camera at several focal lengths from 12 mm to 20 mm. We look at all image quality attributes, but we pay particular attention to such artifacts as chromatic aberrations, lens softness, and distortion.

The Xiaomi 11T’s ultra-wide camera often produces a high level of detail in the center of the frame, higher than on the 11T Pro. On the downside, there are also strong aliasing artifacts at the center, as well as strong differences in sharpness across the frame.

Xiaomi 11T, ultra-wide
Xiaomi 11T, crop: high level of detail but strong aliasing at the center
Xiaomi 11T Pro, ultra-wide
Xiaomi 11T Pro, crop: lower level of detail at the center

Tele

Xiaomi 11T

48

140

Huawei P50 Pro
Best: Huawei P50 Pro (140)

In these tests we analyze all image quality attributes at focal lengths from approximately 40 to 300 mm, paying particular attention to texture and detail. The score is derived from a number of objective measurements in the lab and perceptual analysis of real-life images.

When tele-zooming, the 11T’s results are close to the 11T Pro. The score is a little higher than the Pro model but still lower than many competitors. This is due to the lack of a dedicated tele camera or any other advanced zoom technology.

Xiaomi 11T, 110mm equivalent tele
Xiaomi 11T, crop: low level of detail
Xiaomi 11T Pro, 110mm equivalent tele
Xiaomi 11T Pro, crop: very low level of detail
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, 110mm equivalent tele
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, crop: low level of detail

Video

In our Video tests we analyze the same image quality attributes as for still images, such as exposure, color, texture, and noise, but we also include such temporal aspects as speed, smoothness and stability of exposure, white balance, and autofocus transitions.

NOTE: The sample video clips in this section are best viewed at the highest resolution available. 

The Xiaomi 11T achieves a Video score of 105. A device’s overall Video score is derived from its performance and results across a range of attributes in the same way as the Photo score. In this section, we take a closer look at these sub-scores and compare video image quality against competitors.

Exposure and Contrast

Xiaomi 11T

89

118

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
Best: Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max (118)

In video mode, backlit scenes are sometimes underexposed, as you can see in the video stills below.

Xiaomi 11T, underexposure
Xiaomi 11T Pro, accurate target exposure
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, accurate target exposure

Color

Xiaomi 11T

102

105

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
Best: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (105)

These video stills show the Xiaomi 11 T’s color performance in outdoor conditions.

Xiaomi 11T, nice color rendering, slight white balance cast
Xiaomi 11T Pro, nice color rendering, accurate white balance
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, nice color rendering, accurate white balance

Autofocus

Xiaomi 11T

87

109

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
Best: Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max (109)

This video sample shows autofocus instabilities in low light.

Video autofocus: some instabilities are visible in low light

Texture

Xiaomi 11T

80

97

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
Best: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (97)

These samples show the Xiaomi 11 T’s video texture performance in high-contrast indoor conditions.

Xiaomi 11T, indoor texture
Xiaomi 11T, crop: loss of fine detail
Xiaomi 11T Pro, indoor texture
Xiaomi 11T Pro, crop: high levels of detail
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, indoor texture
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, crop: low level of detail

Our testers also observed a moving texture artifact that is caused by the stabilization algorithms. In the video clip below this is visible on the small deadleaves chart (just above the colored pencils).

Xiaomi 11T, moving texture artifacts

Xiaomi 11T Pro, no texture artifacts

Noise

Xiaomi 11T

82

105

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
Best: Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max (105)

This graph shows the Xiaomi 11 T’s noise performance in the lab.

Video noise comparison: the Xiaomi 11T’s noise levels are low across all light levels.

Artifacts

Xiaomi 11T

79

94

Oppo Find X2 Pro
Best: Oppo Find X2 Pro (94)

For video artifacts, we check for the same kinds of artifacts mentioned in the Photo section, along with such video-specific artifacts as frame rate variation in different light conditions, judder effect, and moving artifacts (artifacts such as aliasing, color quantization, and flare can often be more intrusive when moving than in a still image).

These video stills show color quantization artifacts on areas of plain color. This artifact is especially noticeable in indoor and low-light video clips.

Xiaomi 11T, indoor video still
Xiaomi 11T, crop: color quantization
Xiaomi 11T Pro, indoor video still
Xiaomi 11T Pro, crop: well controlled color quantization

Stabilization

Xiaomi 11T

90

102

Huawei P50 Pro
Best: Huawei P50 Pro (102)

In these tests, we analyze residual motion when handholding the camera during recording, as well as when walking and running with the camera. We also look for stabilization artifacts such as jello effect, sharpness differences between frames, and frame shift (abrupt changes of framing).

Xiaomi 11T videos often show camera shake as well as stabilization artifacts and a strong sharpness difference between frames.

Xiaomi 11T: camera shake and strong sharpness difference between frames

Xiaomi 11T Pro: motion is well compensated for, visible sharpness difference between frames

 

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