Discover all the innovations behind Xiaomi photography

Xiaomi has been at the forefront of innovation in smartphone photography since its inception and has always delivered an exceptional user experience. Over a decade of dedication has led to profound achievements in advanced imaging spanning both hardware and software.

In 2017, Xiaomi introduced one of the world’s first 12MP camera smartphones, the Mi 6 with 2X optical zoom, 1.25μm pixels and four-axis OIS. In 2018, a dedicated R&D team was formed to accelerate advancements in smartphone photography. In March 2022, Xiaomi shook up the industry again with the Xiaomi 12 series, which brought several advancements in computational photography, including advanced AI-powered features such as Xiaomi ProFocus, Ultra Night Photo, and Night Mode. Most recently, in July 2022, Xiaomi introduced the Xiaomi 12S series “co-designed with Leica”, beginning the strategic partnership in imaging technology between Xiaomi and Leica. These advancements only scratch the surface of Xiaomi’s dedication to smartphone photography.

One of Xiaomi’s most notable achievements in smartphone photography is its high-capacity night mode algorithm, which enables smooth shooting even in low-light environments. Director of the Department of Algorithms, Lei Lei and his team have received wide recognition for their achievements in this field from the public and professional photographic community, receiving awards in programs such as NTIRE 2022 (New Trends in Restoration and image enhancement). ,

Shot on Xiaomi 12 Pro with night mode

To learn more about the vision behind Xiaomi’s computational photography push and the inner workings of the AI ​​Imaging Algorithms team, we asked Lei Lei to share some insights.

Simple questions with complex answers

Lei Lei’s team began their research with a simple question: “How can we enable users to consistently take good photos regardless of lighting conditions?”

“What we were trying to do was provide a smart, easy-to-use photography experience based on a deep understanding of users’ photography habits”Lei Lei said that“All the AI ​​imaging technologies of Xiaomi smartphones are designed to enable users to take photos and videos with a closer look to reality.”

Shot on Xiaomi 12 Pro with night mode

Lei Lei describes his approach as an “aesthetic exploration”. At Xiaomi, all imaging engineers believe that user experience is driven by subjective “aesthetic preferences”. Therefore, the interpretation of these aesthetic preferences has been one of the main topics on the agenda. Solving this puzzle requires a complex mix of image engineering, detail processing, adjusting contrast ratio and white balance, and even learning AI – to ensure that users are able to capture their images and videos. Get them exactly as they imagined them.

R&D Success vs Improved User Experience

“While it’s really gratifying to see how our innovations are integrated into new products, each time we start a new project, what motivates us the most is not success in R&D”Lei Lei explains, Saying that “It’s more about seeing how our technologies can help people solve everyday problems and improve their lives. I think this is a value that all Xiaomi imaging engineers subscribe to. it’ll be fine.”,

In 2018, as photography became one of the most sought-after features on smartphones, major smartphone manufacturers began to allocate substantial chunks of their resources to photo and video research. As an industry-leading brand, Xiaomi has contributed to this technology trend by introducing products equipped with state-of-the-art photography and videography functions to the mass market. These include some of the biggest smartphone camera lenses in the industry as well as innovative AI features.

Xiaomi’s AI algorithms have been carefully designed and optimized per product with consumer needs in mind. “The idea to develop computational photography features, including night mode, was born out of our simple observation that images taken in low light conditions rarely meet users’ quality expectations, which is compounded by the fact than is quite common. Photographing landscapes, such as when you go out with friends at night”said Lei Lei.

Night Mode was developed with a clear goal: to enable users to capture crisp, clear images while reducing noise levels when shooting in light as low as 0.1 lux, which is as low as 0.1 lux. close to the amount of light source. As it is similar to shooting only with the full moon.

“Aiming high and entering an area that almost no brand has explored before was a big challenge for us. At that time, no one knew how long it would take us to reach the intended destination. What we have done is keep moving towards the goal, not as individuals but as a team, respecting science, open to new knowledge and constantly encouraging each other. Personally, I think this is part of what allows us to achieve technological breakthroughs.Lei Lei expressed.

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