Just like last year, we are back again with another camera comparison. This time, we’re comparing the iPhone 12‘s cameras versus Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 9T 5G. The other one is a top-tier phone, while the other is a budget mid-range device, and the only reason we’re doing this is to see how mobile cameras stack up between two different price tiers.
Before we start, we have to mention we’re using the iPhone 12 Mini in this comparison despite the title not indicating it. Though they are different phones in size, both the standard 12 and 12 Mini are actually using the same cameras. Additionally, there’s no ultrawide comparison here as the Redmi Note 9T 5G lacks that option.
To start things off, let’s lay down the specs. The Redmi Note 9T 5G is using a 48MP f1.8 main sensor, alongside two 2MP lenses for macro and depth purposes. On the flip end, the selfie camera is housing a 13MP f2.3 sensor with a standard 29mm focal length.
The iPhone 12 Mini is using a 12MP f1.6 sensor for the main camera and another 12MP f2.4 for ultrawide purposes. As for selfies, there’s another 12MP f2.2 for that. With the specs out of the way, let’s start with a bright, high dynamic range shot.
Outdoor – HDR
Right off the bat, there’s already a major difference in look between the two photos. However, the iPhone 12 captured the most accurate rendition of the photo in real-life. From these photos, we noticed three things — sharpness, chromatic aberration, and dynamic range.
The iPhone 12 definitely has a better dynamic range as the shadow surface of the tree was exposed decently. However, the photo also looks a little bit oversharpened compared to the Redmi Note 9T’s photo as seen from the foliage and leaves. On the flip end, there’s a bit of chromatic aberration along the edges of the leaves, as seen from the way the leaves contrast against the clouds.
Taking another outdoor shot, the differences between the two are slightly less noticeable. The iPhone 12 has more contrast, as seen from the rails of the gate and the color of the two houses. But in exchange for less contrast, the Redmi Note 9T was able to keep the shadow surfaces exposed for the shot. And again, the iPhone 12 retained that oversharpened look.
Outdoor – Close-Up
When it comes to close-up subjects, there’s only a slight difference in white balance. Though the Redmi Note 9T was able to keep a sharp photo from both ends of the photo, the bigger lens of the iPhone 12 allowed its photo to create a shallow depth of field that imitated a professional camera with high aperture lenses. If you take notice of the fence on the far-left side, it gradually melts away in the background. This kind of feature may not be vital on a sunny day, but it may come in handy during nighttime.
In another scenario, the difference between the two cameras is almost non-existent. You can see the fur of the dog almost identical, though the iPhone 12 has the more refined detail despite the oversharpened look.
There’s no macro sensor on the iPhone 12, so the best thing we could do is to capture the subject at the minimum focus distance of the main sensor. However, we noticed that you could get good quality macro when zooming in. As for the Redmi Note 9T, its 2MP macro lens may not be the best but with slight tweaking, you can make the photo a little sharper.
Moving the comparison indoors, we’re surprised to see the Redmi Note 9T trading blows with the iPhone 12. In this flower vase shot, the colors are near-identical to one another, with the iPhone 12 only leading in dynamic range. Interestingly, the Redmi Note 9T has slightly more depth of field.
Switching to food photography, the Redmi Note 9T is only behind by a hair in terms of contrast and sharpness. The warmer tone on the iPhone 12, however, helped it to make the food shot more appetizing.
Outdoor – Night Mode
If there’s one portion where we were surprised to see the results, it’s night mode shooting. While the iPhone 12 is definitely the brighter and sharper photo, the Redmi Note 9T has the better colors and rendition of the long-exposure shot. However, the iPhone 12 immediately takes advantage when the light source is almost non-existent. Albeit cloudy in appearance, the image appears sharper, though we still have to applaud Redmi Note 9T for the better white balance and colors.
Selfie – Outdoor
It’s now time to switch to selfie cameras.
Right off the bat, the Redmi Note 9T is beaten by iPhone 12 in dynamic range, color accuracy, and sharpness. Due to the brighter shot, Redmi struggled to keep the color of my shirt blue, though it’s interesting to note its shallow depth of field. Aside from that, the iPhone device also has a wider field of view.
With Portrait Mode turned on, the iPhone 12 pushed in a little bit for a claustrophobic shot; it almost has the same field of view as the Redmi Note 9T 5G. Though the cutout is better on the iPhone, Redmi isn’t too far behind. But then again, the overall quality of the two photos are just in different worlds.
Selfie – Indoor
Indoors, the story is pretty much the same but the Redmi Note 9T tones down the exposure a little bit. Although it’s still not close to the quality of the iPhone 12, we don’t mind posting the photo on social media.
With Portrait Mode, the iPhone 12 pushes in a little bit once again but the cutout on the Redmi Note 9T is so much better now.
This has been definitely an interesting comparison. When it comes to cameras, it seems software plays a bigger role than hardware to achieve post-worthy photos. Though the Redmi Note 9T isn’t sporting the best hardware, its software brings its level a tier closer to the iPhone 12 that already packs both hardware and software.