Xiaomi wants you to use Leica lenses with their new phone

This is big. It doesn’t matter it’s a bit impractical. Xiaomi released a video and photos showing a phone that can use Leica M lenses. The Xiaomi 12S Ultra tries to be the best of both worlds: a smartphone with a 1″ point-and-shoot camera and a smart camera with a 1″ sensor that can mount Leica M lenses.

The reason I believe it’s not that practical has to do with ergonomics. First off, users will have to use an adapter in order to mount lenses. Secondly, the phone does not have a grip like a normal camera.

Big lens, no grip. Image via

As far as I know, the adapter doesn’t have any glass in it, so you’ll have to take the crop factor into account. The 35mm f/1.4 you see in the video will behave like a 95mm f/3.8 on a full frame, making it great for portraits.

Leica Summilux 35mm f/1.4 mounted on the Xiaomi 12S Ultra

The best part however is you won’t have to use only Leica lenses with this phone. I’m pretty sure if the Xiaomi 12S Ultra becomes a reality, we’ll see 3rd party adapters that will work with all the popular mounts.

I can already imagine mounting vintage glass on it. My Helios 44 f/2 will behave like a 157mm f/5.4 on full frame. My Samyang 135mm f/2 will give me a 365mm f/5.4 full frame equivalent.

Although using multiple lenses with a smartphone seems appealing, I don’t see Xiaomi shipping many units. What they could and should do is make a smartphone with a single 1″ sensor and an integrated 10mm f/2.8 Leica Elmarit lens.

You can see more photos on Ben Geskin’s Twitter account.

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