How did Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra Achieved DxoMark Top Score?
The R&D path behind the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra revealed; The vision of Xiaomi Imaging is to create a world-class imaging experience.– Xiaomi
On August 11, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra (Xiaomi Mi 10 Supreme Memorial Edition) was officially launched, with a periscope super-telephoto lens with the farthest Xiaomi zoom, up to 120x; a custom main camera with an industry-rare 1/1.32-inch type extra-large bottom and extra-large pixel sensor, the first hardware dual-native ISO Fusion Super Dynamic technology, and chip-level single-frame progressive HDR technology; professional 8K Movie camera with support for two lenses, main and super-telephoto, and many professional features such as Log mode, director mode, multi-mirror co-op and more.
The Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra DXOMARK camera scored a total of 130, topping the charts and taking first place worldwide.
DxOMark evaluation has been a bit controversial in recent years, but it’s not easy to get the first place. Today, Xiaomi held a “Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra Image Tasting Conference” in Beijing. Xiaomi invited media and big figures in the imaging field to share with you the image development road behind the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra. Below are statements from Xiaomi’s camera technology experts.
Yi Yan, General Manager of Xiaomi’s Camera Division
The future of mobile photography is not only to record images and express emotions but also to analyze the world, create a virtual world, and share a better life. Based on this concept Xiaomi’s image development is divided into “three steps”.
Step One: Seeing a Mountain as a Mountain
Record the world and reproduce the real. The first step is to get the basic image quality right and reach a world-class level. To achieve this goal, we first establish a comprehensive image evaluation system and strictly control the quality. Secondly, we established a total of 10 R&D centers in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Nanjing, Tokyo, Santiago, Bangalore, Paris, Tampere, and other places, and invited many industry leaders to join us to enhance the strength of image research and development. Establish a perfect image product development process and mechanism to improve the image quality and experience of the basic.
The second step: see the mountain is not a mountain
Innovative image experience to enhance the expression and creativity of images. Even if you are not satisfied with the result after taking a photo, we can customize the hardware and develop our algorithms to enhance and restore the effect you want. Besides, we can also enrich the camera’s gameplay to stimulate creative fun, and efficient emotional expression without compromising image quality.
Step 3: See the Mountain or the Mountain
Understand the world, create the world, and share the good life. Breakthrough the limitations of existing hardware and algorithms and continue to invest in hardware and software innovation in imaging. It can be predicted that in the future, mobile phone images will realize the combination and sharing of the real world and the virtual world.
Miao Lei, Product Director, Camera Division, Xiaomi
The Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra is another milestone in Xiaomi’s professional imaging strategy. It has Xiaomi’s farthest zooming periscope super-telephoto lens, up to 120x; a custom main camera with an industry-rare 1/1.32-inch type extra-large base and megapixel sensor, the first hardware dual native ISO Fusion Super Dynamic technology and chip-level single-frame progressive HDR technology; a professional 8K movie camera that supports both main and super-telephoto lenses with Log mode, Director Mode, Multi-Camera Open and many other professional features.
Professionalism” is the strategic goal of Xiaomi Imaging, which integrates the best imaging technology into mobile photography to serve the hundreds of millions of mobile phone users around the world, and lowering the threshold of professional photography is the core driving force for continuous breakthroughs.
Hou Qiang, Optical Specialist, Xiaomi Camera Department
The ultra-high specification of the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra camera poses a huge challenge to the design of the optical structure, and we used an industry-rare 8P lens to converge the various optical aberrations from the 1/1.32-inch primary sensor to a more optimal level. The assembly yield of the lens is inversely proportional to the number of lenses, and as the number of lenses increases, the difficulty of lens assembly increases exponentially, which poses a huge challenge for mass production.
The 120x zoom uses a large-bottom IMX 586 module, which exceeds the thickness of the camera body even with a periscope structure. To reduce the thickness of the module, the areas where the lenses were not needed were cut up and down, and the entire module was D-CUT, but because the lenses were cut into runway shapes, optical alignment between multiple lenses became extremely difficult, and the traditional passive optical alignment using the outer wall of the camera module was no longer sufficient for optical needs. Through repeated research and experimentation, we successfully overcame the problem of upper and lower tangential lens assembly by using active optical alignment technology to ensure optimal performance.
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To provide users with a better wide-angle experience, we once again made a bold attempt in the ultra-wide angle design, where the edge of a conventional 6P lens has too little effective light entering the sensor, resulting in low brightness and dark corners. By improving the curvature of the lens, the amount of light entering the edge area is increased, but the resulting distortion problem is exacerbated.
The Xiaomi 10 Ultra uses a special 7P lens design that continuously optimizes the lens combination, lens curvature, and optical path design to not only improve the effective light intake at the edges, but also keep the edge distortion within an acceptable range, solving the problem of dark corners at the edges, reduced resolution, and severe distortion of the ultra-wide-angle lens, allowing the 128° ultra-wide-angle lens to have high resolution and low distortion as well.
Atsushi Kobayashi, Sensor Specialist, Xiaomi Camera Division
On the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra, we’ve got a custom-built large-bottom, large-pixel lens, almost the most flagship 48-megapixel phone Sensor available, a 1/1.32-inch larger than the 100-megapixel lens, a single-pixel size of up to 1.2μm, which greatly improves overall light sensitivity, and a massive 2.4μm synthesized via Pixel 4 in 1 technology! Pixels, which improves the dynamic range by up to 4x compared to 1.2μm dynamic range, and even up to 1x higher than the native 2.4μm dynamic range.
High-end cameras now use dual native ISO technology to give photos a higher SNR (signal-to-noise ratio) and alleviate noise issues. The Sensor has two sets of internal native ISO circuits, with a low-sensitive circuit for normal shooting and a high-sensitive circuit to ensure darker information in poor light. The Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra is set to further exploit the advantages of dual native ISOs, not only to get a higher SNR but also to be able to capture scenes with a higher dynamic range.
By shooting both high and low native ISO images at the same time, the two photos are fused within the Sensor to synthesize a single ultra-dynamic photo with greater dynamic range, better tolerance, and excellent noise control. This allows for better detail in the highlights while preserving information in the darker areas and drastically reducing the loss of detail in high-light ratio scenes.
What’s more, all of this is done directly inside the Sensor, which means that the dual native ISO Fusion is not only effective in photos but also a video for high dynamic range HDR video.
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Besides, this custom primary camera also supports single-frame progressive HDR technology (Stagger HDR), which allows for a higher dynamic range than dual native ISO Fusion. By sequentially exposing long, medium, and short frames in three sets of readout circuits, the waiting time of traditional 3-frame HDR compositions is eliminated, effectively reducing ghosting problems in HDR photography. Dual native ISO Fusion works for both photos and video, while single-frame progressive HDR works only for photos, but for more extreme dynamic range performance.
How did the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra achieve an overall DXOMARK score of top one? It has a very powerful technology.
Dual native ISO Fusion: Super Dynamic Technology for the same model as professional cameras
ISO sensitivity is the CMOS image sensor sensitivity to light, mobile phones commonly used electronic signal amplification gain technology, and the ISO value corresponds to the electronic signal amplification gain value. Digital gain can play a role in signal amplification, but it also brings more impurity signals, which is why when many high ISO values, although the screen brightens but also increases in noise, the screen appears not pure enough.
Dual native ISO is equivalent to having two sets of native ISO circuits, one for high and one for low. This way you can have a low-sensitivity native ISO to ensure image quality when the light is good, and a high-sensitivity native ISO to ensure image quality when the light is poor.
However, while dual native ISO can solve the problem of dark light noise, the core of it is still two ISO signals switching each other, that is, the “or” relationship, which can not be taken into account at the same time. To get a super dynamic photo, dual native ISO fusion is a must.
The Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra’s “Dual Native ISO Fusion Technology” can use dual native ISOs to create two separate images when taking a large light ratio photo, with low native ISOs to obtain photos with high light but low noise, and high native ISOs to obtain photos with rich detail and low noise in the dark areas, combining the two photos into one superb photo with greater dynamic range, better tolerance, and excellent noise control.
Single-frame progressive HDR technology: Three long, medium and short exposures in one frame
The Mi 10 Ultra also supports single-frame progressive HDR technology, which not only captures scenes with greater dynamic range but also effectively reduces the ghosting problem of HDR photos.
With traditional HDR photography, you need to take three frames of the same scene and combine them into one HDR photo. Line by line long exposure, then line by line mid-exposure and finally line by line short exposure. Only when all exposures are complete is the entire frame output by a set of readout circuits, which is the equivalent of taking three frames for an HDR image.
This practice makes HDR photos take much longer to capture. Therefore, when shooting high-speed moving objects, ghosting can occur during compositing as objects may appear in different locations during the three frame exposure time.
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The chip-level single-frame progressive HDR technology used in the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra, however, is no longer output in frames, but in rows. This means that each line is handled by three sets of readout circuits for each of the three exposures: short, medium, and long.
In other words, each line is read out by three groups of circuits to handle the three exposures of short, medium, and long. The original exposure time of three frames is now almost only a single frame to synthesize an HDR image, which is faster, effectively reducing the appearance of ghosting, and can also obtain a higher dynamic range.
128-degree anti-distortion ultra-wide-angle lens: Solve the problem of edge feed and distortion once and for all
To provide users with a better wide-angle experience, Xiaomi made another bold attempt at ultra-wide-angle design, where the edge of a conventional 6P lens has too little effective light entering the sensor, resulting in low brightness and dark corners. By improving the curvature of the lens, the amount of light entering the edge area has been increased, but this has exacerbated the problem of edge distortion.
The Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra uses a special 7P lens design, constantly optimizing the lens combination, lens curvature, and light path design, not only to improve the effective light intake at the edge but also to keep the edge distortion within an acceptable range, solving the problem of dark corners, reduced resolution, and severe distortion at the edge of the ultra-wide angle lens so that the 128° ultra-wide-angle lens can also have high resolution and low distortion.
This is the Mi 10 Ultra, one of Xiaomi’s proudest pieces!