Many photographers would be in favor of ditching their main camera in favor of a sophisticated camera phone, if image quality and creative possibilities wouldn’t have to suffer. Well, Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has taken this dream a step closer to reality in teasing its 12S Ultra Concept which allows the use of interchangeable Leica M-series lenses.
Although it’s a concept phone, it has been shared via Chinese networking site, Weibo, and on sites including YouTube and Twitter by Xiaomi themselves, so we know it’s the real deal. Very exciting indeed!
Xiaomi 12S Ultra Concept: Camera system
On their Weibo channel, Xiaomi has shared a video which tells us a lot about the new conceot phone. Essentially, it seems to use the Xiaomi 12S Ultra with its 1-inch rear camera sensor as a base, but it features an updated circular rear camera ring that supports the connection of Leica M-series lenses (which are designed for use with Leica's classic rangefinder cameras).
The concept phone actually has two 1-inch camera sensors, with a layer of sapphire glass protecting the camera module, which is needed to protect the onboard lenses from scratches etc. owed to the screw motion when attaching compatible Leica M-series lenses. We assume the second sensor is another Sony IMX989, but this isn’t clear from the video.
From Xiaomi's video, we can see that in order to install an interchangeable lens onto this 5G concept phone, the protection ring around the rear camera island must first be unscrewed, then an adapter allows the mounting of any Leica M lens.
Will the 12S Ultra Concept Phone make it to market?
In truth, concept devises rarely make it to market and Xiaomi hasn’t said if the 12S Ultra Concept Phone will ever be mass produced. However, the fact that Xiaomi has divulged that they developed the concept phone alongside the actual 12S Ultra, tells us the idea is well and truly on their radar and it may well be something we see in the future.