The Xiaomi 12T features a triple-camera setup on the back, similar to the one we saw on the Xiaomi 11T. There is a 108MP primary, an 8MP ultrawide, and a 2MP macro - a rather familiar arrangement. The 5MP telemacro from the 11T was downgraded to a basic 2MP shooter, while the primary and the ultrawide cams have retained their resolutions.
The main camera employs a 108MP sensor, just like the 11T, but it is now the newer (and smaller) Samsung ISOCELL HM6, up from the HM2 on the 11T. It's a 1/1.67" sensor with 0.64µm pixels and a 24mm f/1.7 lens. The color filter is Nonapixel, meaning 9 sensor pixels are combined into a large 1.92µm one, and the default output resolution is 12MP. PDAF is available, and there is optical image stabilization. The sensor also has Dual Native ISO.
The ultrawide camera uses an 8MP Samsung S5K4H7 ISOCELL Slim 1/4" sensor with 1.12µm pixels behind an f/2.2 lens. The focus is fixed at infinity. Night Mode is supported on the ultrawide cam, too.
The macro camera relies on a 2MP GalaxyCore GC02 sensor behind an f/2.4 lens. The focus is fixed at about 4cm away.
The front camera uses a 20MP Sony IMX596 sensor of Quad Bayer design. It is coupled with a 26mm f/2.2 lens, and the focus is fixed.
The camera app is a rather straightforward implementation, though it does have its quirks. First, the basic operation for changing modes works with side swipes (on the black bezel!), and you can also tap on the modes you can see to switch to those directly. Up and down swipes don't work for switching between the front and rear cameras; only the toggle next to the shutter release does that.
You can add, remove, and rearrange modes in the main rolodex by going to the More tab and navigating to the edit button, and you can access that from the settings menu as well. The unused modes will still be in that More tab, but you can switch to a (less intuitive) pull-out pane that's summoned from a line next to the shutter release.
The hamburger menu at the far end is where you'll find additional options, including the Macro mode (why here and not a mode in the rolodex?), plus the icon to access the settings. Next to that hamburger menu, you have a flash mode switch, an HDR switch, an AI toggle, and a shortcut to Google Lens.
On the near end, you have a magic wand with beauty effects and filters, as well as the camera zoom switches that operate in one of two fashions. The first one is simply tapping on one of the three dots that represent the ultra-wide, primary, and 2x digital options. Or you can tap on the active magnification and slide sideways to reveal even more zoom levels - 2x and 10x, plus a slider for intermediate magnifications.
There's a nicely capable Pro mode, where you can tweak the shooting parameters yourself. You can use the primary, the ultrawide and even the macro cameras here. You get to pick one of 4 white balance presets or dial in the light temperature with a slider; there's a manual focusing slider and shutter speed (1/4000s to 30s/0.8s/ for main/ultrawide) and ISO control with the range depending on which camera you're using. A tiny live histogram is available, and a toggle for zebras can be found in the hamburger menu.
As expected, there's a host of extra modes, including Long Exposure with its own set of different presets - moving crowd, neon trails, oil painting, light painting, starry sky, and star trails.
Night mode is available for the main and ultrawide cameras. There is Auto Night mode in the advanced Settings, too.
The 12MP photos from the main camera are solid and peculiar, in a way. There is plenty of resolved detail across all samples, the white balance is accurate, and the colors are a bit punchy but still within the accurate enough ballpark.
The photos exhibit high contrast, while the dynamic range is adequate and not over the top. In fact, even the Auto HDR didn't fire once.
Then there is the rendition itself - it's excellent across the center of the images with good sharpness and balanced look, especially across the foliage. Further away from the image center, the rendition quality of small objects such as foliage and people becomes progressively worse. It is not a drastic difference, but it is peculiar and worth nothing.
The Xiaomi 12T has no telephoto camera, but it still offers a dedicated 2x zoom toggle. It delivers a digitally zoomed photo done by simply cropping and upscaling the center of the default 12MP output.
You can shoot in 108MP, too, and these are the real deal. Well, as real as a de-mosaiced Nona-Bayer photo can be. They are colorful, with excellent dynamic range and contrast, while the detail and the sharpness are mediocre. And you won't get more detailed photos than the default ones if you downsize this 108MP to 12MP, though you will get less processed ones.
But wait, there is more. These high-res photos revealed incredibly soft, almost blurry corners. This explains the softer corners on the regular images and also speaks well for Xiaomi's processing, which compensates for that rather proficiently, even if a bit artificially looking.
Here is one outstanding surprise! We have explored samples from countless 8MP ultrawide photos, and most, if not all of them, are mediocre, or good at best. Which is okay for mid-range ultrawide cameras, we guess.
But the Xiaomi 12T's 8MP ultrawide camera delivers superb photos (when compared to similar shooters, that is). The images are incredibly detailed, with excellent sharpness, accurate colors, high contrast and good dynamic range. Even better, the noise reduction is proficient, too, as well as the automatic distortion correction.
The photos we took offer natural and true-to-life rendition, especially considering the sensor and lenses used, so we do applaud the work done here.
The portrait photos we took with the main camera are easily likable, even if there is no dedicated depth sensor. The Xiaomi 12T hardware provides the means for an accurate depth map and satisfactory subject separation. The blur is convincing, while the subjects are well-exposed, and detailed, with punchy colors and clean of any noise.
We really liked the 5MP telemacro cameras Xiaomi has used on its older phones, so forgive us if we still cannot get over their demotion into the 2022 Xiaomi phones.
The 2MP macro camera on the 12T is alright, saving okay-ish closeups. The photos have good contrast and acceptable dynamic range, The colors are a bit muted, and the resolved detail is rather low.
Xiaomi once again used one of its 20MP Quad-Bayer cameras for selfie purposes and that's why the photos don't have as much detail as the resolution suggests. The noise reduction took a lot of fine detail, too. The subjects are well exposed and with good skin tones, even if the color rendition is somewhat muted. The photos do look alright on the phone's screen, but that's the best we can say.
The portrait selfies are good, with somewhat better exposure but duller colors. The separation is good, and the blur is likable.
The Xiaomi 12T has auto Night mode processing in Photo mode, so it will apply whatever secret sauce it has as it sees fit. Usually, it uses 1s exposure for the main camera and no particular enhancements for the ultrawide camera.
The Auto used 1s exposure for almost all photos we took with the main camera but four - you will find their Night Mode counterparts right after the current bunch.
So, the low-light photos taken with the Auto Night Mode are excellent - they are well exposed with the familiar brighter-than-reality look. Their dynamic range is great, and so is the color saturation.
The noise reduction left almost no noise, and even if it took some fine detail with it, it still left plenty around. Overall, Night Mode or not, these are some great night shots.
And here are the four scenes we had to force Night Mode as the camera app didn't deem it necessary to do so. They are a bit brighter than the regular output, with better dynamic range and not as many clipped highlights.
The photos taken without Night Mode are a bit more detailed and with more realistic exposure and dynamic. They do retail good color saturation, and noise, if visible, doesn't get in the way. If you don't like the overprocessed Night Mode look, you will like the natural rendition of the photos taken without the said mode.
The Auto Night Mode does not trigger for the ultrawide camera, and if shooting in its default Auto state, you will get regular ultrawide photos. Those are dark and mediocre in detail, with desaturated colors and low dynamic range. You can see what's on them, but they are not good.
The Night Mode usually chooses 2s-3s exposure time for the ultrawide photos, and the ones we shot are particularly good. They offer realistic exposure, acceptable resolved detail and noise levels, excellent colors and good dynamic range. Those, while not great, are perfectly usable for social or chat sharing.
And here are photos of our usual posters taken with the Xiaomi 12T. You can see how it stacks up against the competition. Feel free to browse around and pit it against other phones from our extensive database.
The Xiaomi 12T supports 4K video capturing with its primary camera, 1080p recording with the ultrawide and selfie cameras, and 720p with the macro one. 1080p@60fps is available only to the main and selfie cameras.
There is an always-on electronic stabilization working on the primary and ultrawide cameras, no matter the resolution and frame rate. It seems to be unavailable for the 30fps selfie mode, yet the 60fps is somewhat stable.
The camera app always lowers the video resolution of the main camera down to 1080p if you switch to ultrawide and then back to primary, an issue we've previously encountered on many phones and one that Xiaomi still hasn't resolved yet.
Audio in all of the videos is captured at 256Kbps, stereo.
The 4K videos shot on the main camera are good. There is enough resolved detail and balanced sharpening. There is no visible noise, colors and contrast are excellent, while the dynamic range is good but not unnaturally wide. The high video bitrate of 50Mbps surely helped, though.
The 1080p clips from the ultrawide camera are rich in detail, with natural rendition, and they excel in everything else - noise reduction, color presentation and contrast.
The 4K low-light footage from the main camera is very good - there is plenty of resolved detail, partially thanks to the gentler noise reduction. The colors are outstanding for such a low-light scene, the exposure and the contrast are good, too.
The main camera also supports Night Mode video, which is shot at 1080p@30fps. It is incredibly clean of noise, with a brighter look and outstanding color saturation.
The low-light video from the ultrawide camera is darker and noisier, of course, but not bad. It has enough detail, and the colors are still good.
Finally, here is the Xiaomi 12T in our video tool so you can make your own comparisons.