I would like to show you my test of the newest, recently announced phone Xiaomi Mi 8 6GB RAM 128GB (Global version). My wife ordered this smartphone in August, when the Xiaomi Mi 8 has been relased. Traditionally my test will cover the photo & video facilities, which are really wide in this model. Interestingly the user is able to take a macro pictures and a night photography. Moreover this smartphone gives you ability to capture the night sky and zoomed remote objects. All this stuff I would like to present you in this following articles. The 20MP front camera is awesome. It is super saturated like cameras from Samsung and has a good sharpness and dynamic range. Thanks to this the camera performes well in nearly every situation. The rear camera has 12MP, although the portrait mode still leaves a lot to be desired. A front-facing portrait mode is very well. Both cameras don’t have an extreme amount of contrast, but instead focuses on tonality.

The Xiaomi Mi 8 has also a perfect video facilities. You can make a slow motion and timelapse movies. More details about this I will bring you in the next article.

First part of my test includes an overal insight into photo facilities of the Xiaomi Mi 8 128GB (Global version).
Once you open the Camera app, you have a basic options, as you can find in each modern smartphone (Pic. 1).

01. Overal
Pic. 1 A top interface of the photo app on Xiaomi Mi 8 6GB 128GB (Global version).

Option 1st – Flash and 2nd – HDR (Pic. 2) are commonly known.

Pic. 2 The HDR options in Xiaomi Mi 8.

Interesting can be option 3rd – the AI camera (Pic. 3). The AI – powered camera is a new kind of camera, which makes up for smartphones lack of zoom lenses. Because smartphones don’t have thesame optics as an digital cameras do, so the computational photography sollution is needed. In practise using the AI camera helps to smooth the skin, remove some blemishes, etc.

06. Ai camera
Pic. 3 The AI camera in Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone: 1 – switched off, 2 – switched on. Hemingford Road, Cambridge, UK.

With the AI camera, also 4th feature is associated, where user can select a professional image on the app and apply the same white balance, shutter speed, aperture and ISO (Pic. 2).

Pic. 4 Filter selection in Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone.

Basically the Xiaomi Mi 8 photo app offers 12 colour filters and 2 grey ones. The 5th option represents photo settings (Pic. 4).

Pic. 5 Basic photo settings in Xiaomi mi 8 smartphone.

At this stage focus on the Settings option in the top left corner (Pic. 5), where you can find all prefererences, ready to adjust for your needs (Pic. 6).

03. Settings
Pic. 6 Xiaomi Mi 8 6GB 128GB (Global version) camera settings.

Let’s take a look on the options at the bottom of the screen, where you have a few main options to choose. Firstly, leave the video options, because they will be described in the next article. Secondly have a look for a main photo options, as I said before. User has a few ways to take a good picture in Xiaomi Mi 8 spartphone. There are: Photo, Portrait, Square, Panorama, Manual (Pic. 7).

02. Photo options
Pic. 7 Main photo options in Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone.

Now I would like to come through each option, showing you all details of the Xiaomi Mi 8 6GB 128GB (Global version) photo features.
A simple photo (Photo mode) taken by Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone looks like this below (Pic. 8).

Pic. 8 Coleridge Recreation Ground, Cambridge, UK.

To help set the picture sharpness you can use the autofocus, which are to be seen as an white circle with white smallish circle inside. When set your camera onto some object you can adjust the focus by touching your finger on the screen. Then this white autofocus circle should appear. By hanging your finger certainly on this circle you can lock the autofocus (Pic. 9). This option can be useful when you are taking photo in low light conditions. I will describe it more in further article. To unlock thre autofocus you need just press the yellow circle.

04. Autofocus
Pic. 9 The autofocus in Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone.  A white circle means, that it can change depends both the distance to some object and manual setting by user, when press the screen in some place. Yellow circle with padlock inside means, that autofocus has been locked. Always a the moment of lock the comment as per at the bottom of the screen appears. Hemingford Road, Cambridge, UK.

Next to the autofocus you may have seen two opposite (up and down) arrows. You can use them by clicking and dragging up & down. Then the picture brightness is to be adjusted (Pic. 10). You can use it also when your autofocus is locked. This option os available for all imaging modes, except the Panorama mode.

05. Brightness
Pic. 10 A photo brightness adjust in Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone. Corrie road, Cambridge, UK.

Returning to filter selection, as shown in the pic. 4  and also pic. 11 the option is available for normal photo mode, Square and Manual modes in each single setting. As I wrote above here is 12 coloured filters and 2 greys for these 3 modes.

Pic. 11 Filter selections in Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone.

See some example photos with filters below:

Pic. 12 A vivid filter, Coleridge Recreation Ground, Cambridge, UK.
07. Amour
Pic. 13 An Amour filter, Mill road, Cambridge, UK.
08. Cookie
Pic. 14 A Cookie filter, Mill road, Cambridge, UK.
08. Cookie
Pic. 15 A Calm filter, Mill road, Cambridge, UK.
10. Gourmet
Pic. 16 A Gourmet filter, Mill road, Cambridge, UK.

Another options, as you can use for Photo and Square mode are Tilt & shift and Straighten. The Tilt & Shift option contains two settings, which are circle and parallel (Pic. 17, 18).

Pic. 17 The parallel tilt & shift mode in Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone.
Pic. 18 The circular tilt & shift mode in Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone.

The Straighten mode allows you to take a properly rotated picture when you keep your device at some weird angle (Pic. 19). Remember, that only a framed section of your screen produce the image. In the effect the image size is lower as well as the photographed area, which has been cropped automatically by device.

11. Straighten
Pic. 19 The straighten option in Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone.

The Photo, Portrait and Square modes can also enhance the picture with Beauty and Beauty Pro setting, which adds up some tints and better focus (Pic. 20).

12. Beautify
Pic. 20 The beauty feature in Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone: 1 – Beauty Pro, 2 – Beauty, 3 – Beauty switched off. Heminngford Road, Cambridge, UK.

A good feature provided by photo app in Xiaomi Mi 8 6GB 128GB (Global version) is the Timer mode, available for all modes except the Panorama. You can use the timer in purpose of 3 sec or 5 sec picture delay (Pic. 21).

13. Timer
Pic. 21 The timer feature provided by Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone.

Next jump to the general picture settings, as shown in pic. 6. Amidst a lot of options to be adjusted by user, like camera frame, picture quality or auto exposure settings we can find a very useful option, like Gridlines (Pic. 21, 22), assuring you, that you are taking photo under a right angle.

Pic. 22 The gridlines in Xiaomi Mi 8 helps to rotate yuor field of view correctly. Coleridge Recreation Ground, Cambridge, UK.

It’s good to look at another options: Saturation and Contrast. Using them you can adjust your picture on entry step already. Both saturation and contrast can work between each other, giving you about 50 combinations (Pic. 23 – 26).

14. Contrast
Pic. 23 The contrast changes setting examples: 1 – highest, 2 – normal, 3 – lowest. Argyle Street, Cambridge, UK.
15. Saturation
Pic. 24 The saturation settings examples: 1 – lowest, 2 – lower, 3 – normal, 4 – highest. Mill Road, Cambridge, UK.
16. Saturation_full
Pic. 25 All saturation settings available in Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone: 1 – highest, 2 – higher, 3 – high, 4 – normal, 5 – low, 6 – lower, 7 – lowest. Ginko biloba tree.
17. Contrast_full
Pic. 26 All contrast settings available in Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone: 1 – lowest, 2 – lower, 3 – low, 4 – normal, 5 – high, 6 – higher, 7 – highest. These options has been checked with the “lower” saturation settings. You can do it also for another 6 saturation settings and other way round, totalling 49 all combinations. Ginko biloba tree.

See the another example photos below:

18. Contrast_example
Pic. 27 The lowest contrast example in Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone. Rustal road, Cambridge, UK.
19. Contrast_example
Pic. 28 The highest contrast example in Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone. Cumulus clouds above Greville Road in Cambridge, UK.

It’s time to jump to the next mode, which is a Portrait. This is another the most often selected mode in order to take a picture of the people. The portrait mode contains a bit different options to take the photos. First of all, your object must be placed at least 2,5 m from the device. Otherwise the shutter won’t work at all. Some facilities will work with using a front camera, although for another options you will have to switch into rear camera. These options will represents all amenities with face correction (Pic. 27).

20. Beauty face option
Pic. 27 Beauty and remodelling options for rear camera in Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone.

Filter selections are different for the Portrait mode. They correspond to portrait session (Pic. 28).

21. Filter options
Pic. 29 Filter options for Portrait mode in Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone.

In general the Portrait mode allows you to select 12 coloured filters and 1 grey one (Pic. 29). In the result you can get a portrait photo like below (Pic. 30).

Pic. 30 An example of portrait photo made by Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone.

The Portrait mode in Xiaomi Mi 8 can perfectly distinguish the closer, portrait object from further elements in the background. It results a nice bokeh provided (Pic. 30, 31). Bear in mind, that your autofocus can behave uncorrectly when photographed person is a bit further. In the result the person outline may be not sharp enough (Pic. 31).

21. Portrait
Pic. 31 Perfect bokeh created by Portrait mode in Xiaomi Mi 8 spartphone. Photo was taken from a few meters, so autofucus was not perfect enough, leaving a blur outlines in places.

Well, we came through the Portrait mode then. Next one is the Square one. This mode is exactly the same, with the same options and settings provided as for Photo mode. The only difference is, that the Square mode takes a square pictures. Typical size of the picture taken by smartphone is usually in frame 3:4 or 16:9. This mode can change the picture frame to square shape (Pic. 2, 32-33).

Pic. 32 The Square mode shows a square-looking picture on your screen.
22. Square
Pic. 33 An example of square picture taken by Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone. Romsey Mill memorial stone, Cambridge, UK.

Another, very useful mode is the Panorama mode. In this case there is no option to set a various options and settings, as we could do in another modes. When deciding to take a panorama pictures you have only choice from the main camera settings and not all, unlike to another modes (Pic. 34).

25. Panorama settings
Pic. 34 The camera settings available for the Panorama mode in Xiaomi Mi 8.

The panorama pictures are quite good. Big advantage is, that you can stop your panorama in any place. Moreover the device better copes with the parallax, so even when we move a bit, the vista will remain smooth (Pic. 35). However, once you are close enough to some object and you move a bit, then some discrepancies at the stitches can be discernable (Pic. 36).

23. Panorama
Pic. 35 An example of panoramic picture taken by Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone. Device is handling good with a parallax, giving a smooth vista. Mill road, Cambridge, UK.
24. Panorama2
Pic. 36 When your movements are too big, then device cannot handle properly with a parallax. The result is pointed by red arrows; an electric lines, which are thin, looks like a cutted, separate objects. In case of bigger objects, like a car on the middle bottom, may be totally misshapen. Hemingford Road, Cambridge, UK.

The aforementioned picture (Pic. 36) is a good example of issue, what we shouldn’t do making a panoramic photos. We must avoid an objects, being in motion. Otherwise we get some deformed elements. It refers for every device with Panorama mode.

Last mode, which can bother the user is the Manual mode. It seems to be very good developed in the Xiaomi Mi 8 6GB 128GB (Global version) due to multitude of options to be set manually. Firstly – a white balance. There is a lot of options for this, beginning on the automatic setting, finishing at the very wide temperature range scale from 2000 to 8000 K (Pic. 37).

26. Manual settings
Pic. 37 A white balance manual settings in Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone.

The aperture manual settings are also amazing, with range up to 100 (Pic. 38).

26. Manual settings_ aperture
Pic. 38 The aperture manual settings in Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone.

The shutter speed provided in Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone is simply amazing! It can compete with some digital cameras without hesitation. The maximum shutter speed starts from 1/1000 s, but minimum reaches 32 s, which allows user to take awesome pictures during the night. This phone can be also used for astrophotography, about which I will say more in the future article. Remember, that this range is achievable for wide lens. When you have a tele lens selected (marked with a red circle), then a minimum shutter speed reaches 1/2 sec only.

26. Manual settings_ shutter speed
Pic. 39 A shutter speed manual settings in Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone.

ISO range is from 100 to 3200, that is also amazing! (Pic. 40).

27. Manual settings_ ISO
Pic. 40 ISO manual settings in Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone.

I have presented all photo features offered by Xiaomi Mi 8 6GB 128GB (Global version) smartphone. This is only a general information for all users and people planning to buy this device. In the next articles I would like to focus about the Zoom and Macro facilities as well as the night photography and videos. The section of image retouching is also to be developed at the summary stage. See some example photos taken by Xiaomi Mi 8 6GB 128GB (Global version) below.

28. Example 1
Pic. 41 Coffee time, 1/25s, f1.8, 4mm, ISO 900.
29. Example 2
Pic. 42 Inside the Holy Trinity Collegiate Church in Tattershall, UK. 1/250s, f.1/8, 4mm, ISO 900.
30. Example 3
Pic. 43 A beautiful Tattershall Castle during the autunm. 1/400s, 4mm, f1.8, ISO 100.
31. Example 4
Pic. 44 The Blue Bell Inn in Belchford, Lincolnshire. 1/500s, 4mm, f1.8, ISO 100.
32. Example 5
Pic. 45 Would you like a biscuit? 1/25s, 4mm, f1.8, ISO 900.

Mariusz Krukar



1. What is AI camera?
2. Xiaomi Mi 8 review
3. Xiaomi Mi 8 128gb – specification
4. Gsmarena.com: Xiaomi Mi 8 – specification, details
5. Xda-developers.com: Xiaomi Mi 8 nowe comes with 8GB and 128GB storage model
6. Xiaomi Mi 8 review detailed
7. Xiaomi Mi 8 – Preview




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