Smartphone camera technology is improving every year and while it has now become one of the important elements while buying a handset, it is now all the more difficult to pick the best one from the crowd. OEMs have begun infusing better camera lens in the mid-range handsets and courtesy of their efforts, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good smartphone camera like it used to be earlier. Having said that, the popular Chinese smartphone brand, Xiaomi has launched a few dual camera smartphones in the mid-range segment this year. While Xiaomi smartphones usually miss the right note in the imaging department, this time around, the company made a few improvements to its devices.
The two popular smartphones in the mid-range category are Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 5 Pro and Mi A2 that incorporate vertically stacked dual cameras at the back. Xiaomi Mi A2 carries a 12MP+20MP camera setup each having a f/1.75 aperture. Meanwhile, Redmi Note 5 Pro comes with a 12MP primary lens with f/2.2 aperture and a 5MP secondary lens with f/2.0 aperture.
But while the Redmi Note 5 Pro is touted as “India’s camera beast,” it lacks a few necessary aspects, for instance, a fully-featured Manual mode (a mode that allows tweaking ISO, shutter speed, focus etc) and the option to save original photos as well. In contrast, the Mi A2 bundles both these features and gives the user an option to experiment with the subject. In this article, we have put together a few camera samples that were captured in varied lighting condition to test the camera prowess of the both the Xiaomi handsets. We have arranged the camera samples of both Redmi Note 5 and Mi A2 side by side so that you can see and compare them. Here take a look.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro vs Mi A2: Outdoor shots
We captured a few samples outdoor in bright lighting condition and here is what we have observed. The colours in the wall hanging lama appeared more natural on the Xiaomi Mi A2 as compared to the Redmi Note 5 Pro. Although the strand of threads was distinctly visible on both the smartphones (when zoomed in), Xiaomi Mi A2 delivered better output with refined details and better colour reproduction.
We took a shot of the mini Android bot as well. Again, the Mi A2 managed to render the image with better exposure and detail. On the other hand, the shot on the Redmi Note 5 Pro appeared a bit dull and the camera could not retain as much detail as seen on the Mi A2.
Xiaomi Mi A2 camera renders clearer details with natural colours as compared to Redmi Note 5 Pro [Left: Mi A2, Right: Redmi Note 5 Pro](Image resized for web)
Xiaomi Mi A2 manages to render images with better exposure as compared to Redmi Note 5 Pro [Left: Mi A2, Right: Redmi Note 5 Pro](Image resized for web)
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro vs Mi A2: Indoor shots
While the Xiaomi Mi A2 managed to grab a point over Redmi Note 5 Pro in bright lighting condition, the camera on the former impressed us during the indoor shot as well. The image processing algorithm on the Mi A2 performs well while capturing shots indoor. The image turned out clean and colours are vibrant. Meanwhile, the Redmi Note 5 Pro although retained decent colour, the image turns out a little blurred when we opened it on a large IPS monitor.
Xiaomi Mi A2 retains true-tone colour even in indoor shooting [Left: Mi A2, Right: Redmi Note 5 Pro] (Image resized for web)
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro vs Mi A2: Studio shots
Besides capturing a few shots in the bright light situation and indoor we took a few samples in the studio as well to test the colour accuracy, detail and sharpness of both Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro and Mi A2 camera lenses in low and bright light conditions. Talking about the Mi A2 first, the camera sensors on the smartphone captured the image with good centre sharpness and balanced colour saturation.
As for the Redmi Note 5 Pro, although the camera sensors on the smartphone managed to retain sharpness at the centre, the edges tend to suffer a loss in detail. Further, the colours appeared more artificial on the Redmi Note 5 Pro with the reds transitioning to fuchsia pink. In the low lighting situation, both the smartphones failed to render details and there was significant loss of sharpness across the frame with smudgy colours.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro and Mi A2 studio samples in good light [Left: Mi A2, Right: Redmi Note 5 Pro] (Image resized for web)
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro and Mi A2 studio samples in low light [Left: Mi A2, Right: Redmi Note 5 Pro] (Image resized for web)
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro vs Mi A2: Low light shots
While the Mi A2 takes an edge over Redmi Note 5 Pro in bright light and indoor shooting, the latter managed to grab a point with the images captured outdoor in low lighting conditions. Redmi Note 5 Pro tends to make the image appear brighter with slightly better details as compared to the Mi A2. While the secondary lens on the Mi A2 is meant for low light shooting besides adding bokeh effect to the images, the image that we shot in low light turned out to be grainy when we zoomed on the large IPS display.
The output on the Redmi Note 5 Pro is not perfect, but compared to the Mi A2, it does a decent job of producing images with brighter colours. However, the camera lenses on the Mi A2 managed to capture a wider frame. Besides, the camera software on the Mi A2 on a few occasions struggles to lock focus accurately as compared to the Redmi Note 5 Pro.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro tends to make the image look bright with slightly better details [Left: Mi A2, Right: Redmi Note 5 Pro] (Image resized for web)
Xiaomi Mi A2 manages to capture a wider frame but produces dull colours in low light [Left: Mi A2, Right: Redmi Note 5 Pro] (Image resized for web)
To summarise, the Xiaomi Mi A2 captures pleasing images in bright lighting conditions with good colour rendition and accurate details. Even in indoor shooting, the camera did impress us with the clear detail and colour vibrancy. The Redmi Note 5 Pro, on the other hand, does render satisfactory output in well-lit conditions, but not as well as the A2. However, it does a slightly better job in low-light conditions.
The Mi A2 camera lenses fail to lock focus accurately at times in low lighting situation and in a few low-light images we observed a glaring effect. Having said all that, I would like to add that the performance of both the cameras isn’t poles apart. However, if you like playing around in varied lighting condition, then Mi A2 will be a better pick given that it offers a fully-featured Manual mode that can be used when the Auto mode fails to deliver the desired output.