Xiaomi shows a concept phone with interchangeable lenses

Xiaomi shows a concept phone with interchangeable lenses
Smartphone photography has been moving with lighting speed in the past couple of years, and some industry insiders have even expressed the option that smartphones will catch full-blown professional cameras in a couple of years.

That might be a tad closer, as Xiaomi has shown a secret concept phone with interchangeable lenses. The project was shared on Chinese social media Weibo (picked up by XDA Developers), and there’s a video showing the phone in action.

One of the cool things about this concept is that it uses the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, a phone that comes equipped with a 1-inch sensor from Sony, namely the IMX989. You can check our preview and camera comparison for more information.

Now, using a quality 1-inch sensor as a base makes a lot of sense, and with this concept Xiaomi has used Leica lenses from the M-series - it doesn’t get any more professional than this! The Xiaomi 12S Ultra concept uses a special adapter ring and the phone’s original optics above the 1-inch sensor have been removed.

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There’s no information about whether this concept phone would make it to the general public ever, we’ve seen Xiaomi teasing us with other similar concepts in the past (the Xiaomi Smart AR Glasses are one such example).

The idea is pretty cool, though - using the phone as a camera body, and swapping the lenses. There are however a few shortcomings to this design. For one, you won’t be able to use the phone without a big lens - there’s just the naked sensor underneath. And of course, M-series Leica lenses are very expensive - as a proof-of-concept this idea works but if Xiaomi wants to go commercial with it, the company has to include support for more affordable lenses.

What do you think about it? Would you buy a phone that has no main camera but a naked sensor, and use it with interchangeable lenses? Is this the future of mobile photography or just another gimmick? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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