Xiaomi 12S Ultra concept smartphone features a proper camera lens mount

Xiaomi has unveiled a new concept smartphone that supports mounting any interchangeable Leica M lens directly to the device.

The smartphone’s design is nearly identical to the recently-launched 12S Ultra, but sees the replacement of the primary camera lens with a 1-inch sensor capable of directly capturing light from an attachable lens.

The edges of the round rear camera bump were modified to mechanically attach the lens with the same “twist and click” action as one would use with a DSLR or mirrorless camera.

The rear structure of the smartphone was also reinforced to support the additional weight.

Xiaomi said the smartphone could shoot in 10-bit RAW and supports focus peaking, zebra lines, histogram and other common camera tools.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra concept rear camera bump with a light-capturing 1-inch sensor.
Xiaomi 12S Ultra concept with a Leica lens attached

While smartphone cameras have seen stunning improvements in photo and video quality in recent years, there are two areas where they have fallen short of true professional cameras — zoom and depth of field.

Physically-adjustable lenses are difficult to fit into the compact form factor of typical smartphone camera housings.

As a result, most flagship smartphones feature advanced AI and machine learning software that can enhance digitally zoomed pictures or add depth of field in post-processing to replicate these capabilities.

While the implementation of such technologies has improved substantially in recent times, they are still nowhere near replacing proper mechanical lenses.

The Sony Xperia 1 IV smartphone is one notable exception to this approach, offering a telephoto lens with a true optical zoom equivalent to that of an 85-125mm attachable lens.

However, that is still a relatively low number compared with the 800mm or 1200mm lenses used by professionals for applications like wildlife photography.

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Xiaomi 12S Ultra concept smartphone features a proper camera lens mount