Rumors were true! Dream camera phone Xiaomi 13 Ultra coming to life with Leica inspired body

Rumors were true! Dream camera phone Xiaomi 13 Ultra coming to life with Leica inspired body
This is the closest we've been to a true camera replacement in the smartphone market: the special Xiaomi 13 Ultra version with a Leica-inspired camera body and support for on-camera filters is now officially confirmed to be a real thing that is coming to market.

"This is a professional imaging device, not a camera phone,"Xiaomi posted on Weibo today (via Notebookcheck), teasing the exciting launch scheduled to happen next Tuesday.

And indeed the Xiaomi 13 Ultra pictured above looks like a professional imaging device. It's a look and functionality you simply do not get with an iPhone 14 Pro or a Galaxy S23 Ultra.

We have already seen plenty of leaks for the 13 Ultra, but this is the first time we get to see this special version that will apparently be sold with a camera handgrip accessory as well as support for threaded filters, so you could screw on a polarizing filter, or an ND filter just like you would do on a professional camera.

We have previously seen leaked photos showing some mysterious connectors right on the camera system, and it seems that these will be used for the threaded filters that you can add to this phone. Even the filter size has leaked out and the 13 Ultra is expected to support 67mm filters.

Except for hitting all the right design notes to get that hipster look, we have learned from Xiaomi camera chief that this special model will be fine tuned for street photography, where the speed of a camera is of crucial importance. Imagine trying to capture a glimpse from a person you get on the street, or on a crowded subway station. Those are mere moments that require an instant reaction. You cannot waste time to set up the camera, or even focus.

Optimized for street photography just like... a Leica camera!

"No need to focus is the fastest focus"

That is where the company's collaboration with Leica has helped them include Hyperfocal Distance technology on the Xiaomi 13 Ultra.

But what is Hyperfocal Distance? This is a term that refers to a point where everything on a camera is at an acceptable focus and this is what you need to capture those precious impromptu moments of street photography.

In the words of Xiaomi CEO, "no need to focus is the fastest focus". For this, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra is perfectly set up. A double click of the volume button starts the camera and it instantly captures a picture within 0.8 seconds. You even get a simplified interface specifically made for street shooting.

By default, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra starts at a 35mm focal length, but you have a toggle to go from 23mm to 50mm. The aperture is set at ƒ/4, which helps have everything in focus.

Xiaomi 13 Ultra sample photos

The Xiaomi team has also been hyping the camera of the 13 Ultra over at Chinese microblog Weibo, and Xiaomi definitely goes for a completely different look from the current smartphone processing where we have a lot of over-sharpening to images.

Colors on the 13 Ultra are definitely way more realistic, with an almost cinematic, film quality to them.

We also see a few photos taken with the zoom cameras and having fast aperture on both the 3.2X and 5X zoom cameras makes them way more useful in low-lit conditions.

Xiaomi 13 Ultra camera specs detailed

We have now also learned the final details of this exciting new camera phone, so let's take a look.

Xiaomi 13 Ultra Camera Specs:
  • 50MP Wide (Sony IMX 989, 1" sensor): 23mm Summicron lens with variable aperture (f/1.9 - f/4.0)
  • 50MP Ultra-wide (Sony IMX 858, 1/2.51" sensor) 
  • 50MP 3.2X Zoom (Sony IMX 858): 75mm with f/1.8 aperture
  • 50MP 5X Periscope zoom (Sony IMX 858): 120mm with f/3.0 aperture
  • 32MP Front cam

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The focus here is definitely on that gigantic 1-inch type sensor for the main camera, but for the first time, it is paired with a variable aperture lens that can go from f/1.9 to f/4.0 depending on your needs. Xiaomi is also using a Summicron lens with the highest optical quality so far on its phones, which is one more element that contributes to quality images.

The company also talks about the other sensors that it will use in the Xiaomi 13 Ultra, and we think it did the right thing by betting on the same Sony IMX 858 sensor for the ultra-wide and the two zoom cameras.

While the IMX 858 sensor is not the biggest around at 1/2.51" size, camera experts say that previous testing of that sensor has shown that it delivers a better image quality compared to the Xiaomi 12S Ultra from last year, and adds the benefit of having consistent looking colors at each focal length, which is also very important.

Will the Xiaomi 13 Ultra be released outside of China?

Yes! While the Xiaomi 13 Ultra is coming first to China, company executives have confirmed that this is the first Xiaomi camera phone that will be available globally.

What we still don't know is whether this particular version of the phone with support for the handgrip and threaded filters is coming globally, or if it will remain a China-only thing.

For this, and also the price of this dream camera system, we would have to wait until next Tuesday, April 18th for the official launch, so make sure you check back on PhoneArena where we will be bringing you all those important details.

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