Xiaomi 14 Ultra : Camera Guide Part 1

Key Specs

CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
512GB UFS 4.0 storage
Display6.73’’ 2K 120Hz LTPO AMOLED
Camera50 MP, f/1.6-f/4.0 23mm (wide), PDAF, OIS

50 MP, f/1.7, 75mm (telephoto), PDAF, OIS, 3.2x optical zoom

50 MP, f/2.5, 120mm (periscope telephoto), 5x optical zoom

50 MP, f/1.8, 12mm, 122˚ (ultrawide)

32 MP, f/2.0 22mm (selfie)
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.4, USB Type-C 3.2, Up to WiFi 7
OSAndroid 14, HyperOS
Battery5000 mAh, 90W Fast Charging
80W wireless charging
Available ColorsBlack, White
Retail Price16GB+512GB – RM 5199

Xiaomi 14 Ultra Camera Review

The Xiaomi 14 Ultra is Xiaomi’s highest end model for 2024, touting all-aspect improvements over the Xiaomi 13 Ultra, even though some sensors are still retained from last year’s model. Of course, in this piece I’m covering the fundamentals and identity of its camera system, and why I know it’s the best camera system I have ever used on a smartphone to date.

Filters and System

The Xiaomi 14 Ultra as the same approach to color science and filters as the Xiaomi 13 and 14, which comes in a pair, namely Leica Vibrant and Authentic. They both have their strong points and personality which gives the user a choice between taking images with a vivid and wide color space, followed by a flat and natural one, covered with the slightest of vignetting.

In short, punchy and vibrant, versus accurate and natural

Leica Vibrant vs Leica Authentic

This mode produces punchier and brighter colors, but it’s not over-processed. The Leica Authentic mode targets more accurate colors and uses darker exposure.

Leica Vibrant

Vibrant simply adds a good helping of vibrancy to your shots, offering boosted colors, high contrast (made some shadows darker) and minimal level of processing. You won’t even see a lick of oversharpening here, so it’s almost unlike any smartphone camera we’ve ever used. It really is just is a slightly boosed color mode that aims to be as close to a Leica production as possible and delivers lively photos. A lot of people would love this, especially for food shots.

Leica Authentic

This is the more color-accurate of the duo, retaining plenty of detail and even less processing. Shots here are very natural, with a beautiful level of depth and colors. Again, trying to shoot like a Leica, but this time, adding a subtle vignetting effect to give it some darkness. This mode thrives in low-exposure shots, but it doesn’t overdo it and instead compensates well by upping the dynamic range.

Main Sensor

Sensor Name: 50MP Sony LYT-900 
Sensor Size : (1″, 23mm)
Aperture : f/1.63-f/4.0
Focus : multi-directional PDAF, Laser AF, OIS

Being the main sensor, the Xiaomi 14 Ultra uses Sony’s latest LYT-900 sensor, coming in at 1-inch, which is currently the biggest available sensor for a smartphone. The immediate benefit? wider dynamic range, sharper unprocessed image quality and better information capabilities.

Pairing that would be the continued ability to physically adjust the aperture, from as wide as f/1.6 till f/4. If you’re a photographer, you’ll know just how important it is to have physical aperture blades that move in accordance to setting. These blades move to allow more (or less) light into the sensor, which could make or break your shot.

Stepless Aperture

Stepless aperture refers to the ability to adjust the opening of a camera lens in infinitely small increments, rather than fixed click-stops at full or third/half stops.

  • Typical Aperture Adjustment: Most lenses have an aperture ring that clicks into place at specific f-stops (f/1.8, f/2.8, f/4, etc.). These clicks are there for user feedback and ease of setting.
  • Stepless Aperture: In contrast, stepless aperture allows for smooth, continuous adjustment between any two f-stops. This is particularly useful for videography where you might want a gradual change in depth of field during recording.

In essence, the stepless adjusment nature of the Xiaomi 14 Ultra allows you to make extremely precise adjustments between f-stops, which will, in turn, result in being able to change the depth of field of your images (or video), which gives a level of precision that’s only seen on high end lenses for actual cameras. You can only take advantage of this in Pro Mode.

I simply have love how much the Xiaomi 14 Ultra captures the essence of being a Leica system. Leica’s are known for their color science, depth and softness. Here you won’t find any over-sharpening, but a tinge of softness that really kills noise away. White balance is also very neutral, giving the best possible lighting scenario for a color saturation that’s natural and deep. It’s a sporty shot, but with a mood. The Xiaomi 14 Ultra is also able to capture fast moving subjects with Motion Capture, which you can toggle in the camera. It simply instructs the camera to capture at a higher shutter speed to get all the details with minimal blur, so do make sure you have lots of lighting to compensate.

This main sensor will definitely be your most used camera, and even though auto mode by default does a decent job, nothing really beats Pro Mode (going manual), being able to choose and manage your exposure, blur level and focus with full flexibility.

Telephoto 3.2x

Sensor Name: 50MP Sony IMX858
Zoom Level : 3.2x optical zoom
Sensor Size : (1/2.51″, 75mm)
Aperture : f/1.8
Focus : PDAF, OIS

The 3.2x telephoto gets the fundamentals right, being bright enough, even in darker situations, keeping exposure up to a mid point that isn’t to bright to spoil anything. This is the beginning focal length you should be using to capture some distant portraits, regardless of lighting condition. The fine details are there to capture human emotion well, while other typical situations such as capturing your environment still has a reasonable level of detail and depth to make it good enough to share without any editing.

Generally the bias is towards the cold side, if not close to flat (or natural as Xiaomi and Leica prefers to call it).

 Periscope Telephoto 5x

Sensor Name: 50MP Sony IMX858
Zoom Level : 5x optical zoom
Sensor Size : (1/2.51″, 120mm)
Aperture : f/2.5
Focus : PDAF, OIS

Using the same sensor as the 3.2x, I found the 5x to be quite the generalist as well, capable to delivering bright shots with enough closeup focus and clarity to make it a people-centric (as a subject) censor. Reproduction-wise, it’s obviously going to stay faithful to the 3.2x optic since it’s the same.

Portrait Mode

I would say that portrait mode has a very unique depth for it, with general colors of objects blending well with human subjects whose skin will pop but not to an excessive degree. Bokeh blends well too, as you can see in my portrait where my background is a white and grey building with a complex pattern consisting of holes. Not one piece is out of defocus and the level of detail on my face, hair and skin are truly unparalled. Under the right lighting, which these shots are, are natural and defined enough for even model photographers to admire. You can definitely tell when a shot is from a smartphone, and the Xiaomi 14 Ultra portrait mode really blurs those lines.

I’d say the portrait mode is very fascinating, simply because it’s versatile enough to give a unique character depending on your lighting. Normally, when it comes to lighting, a smartphone tends to get extra sensitive towards darker levels, dramatically changing the overall quality of your shot. You can see just how different the baby’s hair gets from even a slight change in lighting. The darker situation makes textures like hair soft, but not too soft, whereas when it’s brighter, the sharpness is there to give the hair some shine that’s muted by just the right amount, which is a very unique approach if you ask me.


Sensor Name: 50MP Sony IMX858
Wideness Level : 12mm
Sensor Size : 1/2.51″
Aperture : f/1.8
Focus : Dual Pixel PDAF

At 12mm, the Xiaomi 14 Ultra’s ultrawide capabilities is good for the most part. It’s pretty wide and encouraging for you to take creative shots. Level of detail is not bad, followed by excellent colors and yet again stays faithful with the rest of the pack. However, do take note that taking ultrawide shots on landscape and vertical will have very different outcomes. If you’re chasing after those trippy shots, then go vertical and lower down your angling so that it faces upwards with a tilt (refer to Damascus picture). Otherwise, going horizontal is pretty much your regular ultrawide shot with a leveled distortion correction that makes it look wide and picturesque.

Need More Tips?

Look, just like the Xiaomi 13 Ultra, the 14 Ultra also has a robust and versatile set of cameras made operational by a user friendly interface. It’s not a typical smartphone camera approach, as both companies really want to recreate the Leica character and style that’s really a class of its own. There’s truly a lot of ground to cover, and I believe a part 2 is in order, which will be coming soon.

Part 2

Part 2 of the Xiaomi 14 Ultra Camera Guide and Review will cover :

  • Stepless Variable Aperture and how to use it
  • Leica filters and Xiaomi Gallery Photo Editor
  • Mini-Review On The Xiaomi Photography Kit for Xiaomi 14 Ultra
  • Making Use of the 67mm Adapter
  • Accessories?


If anything I’d say that skill plays an important role in maximizing the types of benefits the Xiaomi 14 Ultra brings to the table. On top of that, prior knowledge to any camera system would also be a strong plus, as when you get to using Pro Mode, you’ll constantly be experimenting with exposure, shutter and aperture values, which can be quite intimidating to beginners.

Of course, what I mentioned above would concern both beginner and enthusiast individuals, but what about the general consumer that doesn’t care about precision and optimization, which means :

Can I Trust Auto Mode?

Well, it IS called Auto Mode, which simply just tells you to Point n’ Shoot away. To be frank, the above photo samples you see above are about 70% on Auto, so you can make your judgement on whether those are the types and moments you wanna shoot.

If you ask me, the sharp learning curve of the Xiaomi 14 Ultra makes it fun, while Auto Mode makes it less intimidating and approachable as a hobbyist looking to take photos full of character free of post-editing.

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