Will Sony's new camera sensor make Xiaomi ditch Samsung?

(Image credit: LetsGoDigital )

A new rumor suggests that smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi might replace Samsung as its camera sensor provider, opting instead for Sony's newest 1-inch sensor in its latest flagship phone.

Xiaomi may have made a switch from using a Samsung-made sensor in favor of the Sony Exmor IMX800 in its latest flagship smartphone, the unofficially but expected Xiaomi 12 Ultra (opens in new tab). Although Sony is yet to announce the IMX800, leaked specifications (opens in new tab) reveal that the sensor should offer 50-megapixel resolution at a size of 1/1.1 inches.

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This all stems from a report shared via Digital Chat Station, via Weibo (opens in new tab), detailing an upcoming Sony sensor that has been handed over to manufacturers for testing. Lining up with the current rumors so far, it follows the 1-inch sensor featured in the Sony Xperia Pro-I (opens in new tab), out-muscling Samsung's 50MP 1/1.12" GN2.

Shared to Weibo (opens in new tab) by user i冰宇宙 (Image credit: Weibo )
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Previous speculation was that the Xiaomi 12 Ultra would feature a Samsung Isocell GN5 sensor, with 50MP resolution. Though it has not been determined if Sony will be the only supplier of sensors for this phone devices, as previous models have used different sensors for each camera component, provided by both Samsung and Sony. 

For example, the camera sensors used on its predecessor, the Xiaomi 12 Pro (opens in new tab), include Sony's 50MP IMX707 1/1.28-inch sensor on the primary shooter and Samsung Isocell JN1 sensors (measuring 1/2.76 inches) were used for the device's additional telephoto and ultra-wide cameras. 

The slightly older Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (opens in new tab)uses the Samsung ISOCELL GN2 50MP sensor, and was in fact the first smartphone in the world to use Samsung's GN2 sensor solution.

(Image credit: LetsGoDigital )
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GSM arena has confirmed additional rumors that the Xiaomi 12 Ultra's cameras will retain the 50MP and 48MP resolutions, but it's likely that the company might still bring in a future hardware upgrade. 

We reported (opens in new tab) last month that Xiaomi had stated the 2206 from the Xiaomi 12 Ultra model number corresponds to the date of June 2022, and phones launch a month later, meaning we can very likely expect to see the launch of this anticipated flagship in July. 

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Beth Nicholls
Staff Writer

A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.