It's quite safe to say the Redmi K30 has lifted its main camera from the Redmi Note 8 Pro. And that's fine, but it doesn't feel as an upgrade over the Redmi K20's setup as the telephoto camera has been replaced with a macro snapper.
Indeed, the Redmi K30 features the same quad-camera we saw on the Note 8 Pro. This means the K30 packs a 64MP primary with f/1.9 aperture, 0.8µm pixels, and PDAF. Then there is an 8MP snapper with 13mm f/2.2 lens and 1.12µm pixels. The macro camera is 2MP with f/2.4 aperture, 1.75µm pixels, and autofocus. Finally, there is a 2MP depth sensor.
Well, we said it's the same, but there is one difference though. While Xiaomi used Samsung's ISOCELL GW1 64MP sensor for the Note 8 Pro, it has switched to Sony's IMX686 64MP for the Redmi K30.
There is a dual-LED flash outside the camera hump, though since the Night Mode push these are used mostly as torches.Redmi K30 and Redmi Note 8 Pro
The default camera app is a typical MIUI affair - switching between modes is done by swiping left and right, and all available modes but Macro are on this rolodex. The zoom shortcut on the viewfinder switches between ultrawide, regular 1x, and 2x zoom (digital). Oddly, the Macro switch has been placed on top of the viewfinder around the Flash trigger.
The Pro mode works with the normal camera, the ultra-wide, and the macro. Manual 64MP pictures are also an option. For the main camera, you can use up to 32s shutter speed and ISO up to 3200. For the ultrawide, the shutter speed goes up to 16s, while for the macro - it's 1/4s.
The 64MP main camera saves 16MP photos,, and the daylight bunch came out excellent for the class. The resolved detail is plenty, the contrast is great, and the dynamic range rather high. The colors, while pleasant, are a bit off and warmer than they should have been, though.
The images are sharp, but some might consider them as over-sharpened. The algorithm does not go to extremes, though, so we'd consider the sharpness just fine. There are traces of noise in areas of uniform colors, but we'd prefer this instead of ineptly smeared fine detail.
You can opt for 2x zoom from the viewfinder, but it's just a crop from the 16MP photo and then upscaled back to 16MP.
You can shoot in the full 64MP resolution and the photos look quite good. The level of detail is downright impressive, and the sharpning is far less intense here. It takes a second or two to shoot such a large photo,, and the file size is humongous -we are talking north of 40-50MB for a single photo!
There is a case to be made for shooting in 64MP, though. Since the zoom camera has been retired, there is still a way to get a 2x photo of nicer quality. You can snap a photo in 64MP, then crop 16MP from the center and voila - you'd have a 2x zoomed 16MP image of much better quality than what you get by using the 2x switch.
Of course, you can do the same with the regular 16MP photo in the default mode - crop 8MP from the center and present it as an 8MP telephoto image. After all the Redmi K20's tele camera used to be only 8MP anyway, so you are not missing much, right?
But at the end of the day, it's a hassle that will be just too much for the majority of people, and a gimmick that won't go unnoticed from pixel peepers. Still, if you want to experiment, the 64MP mode is the way to go.
The 8MP ultrawide cam snaps good photos with enough level of detail and commendable contrast. The dynamic range is rather limited, though, and HDR mode won't help much with that. Sure, the per-pixel quality is no match to the main snapper, and the images are noticeably noisier, but those are still some very good ultrawide shots for the class.
You can opt-out of the automatic lens correction, and you will get more distorted edges of the frame but with sharper output.
The Redmi K30's 2MP macro cam has autofocus, unlike the majority of the macro shooters out there, be it flagship or not. This way,, it is much easier to use as you don't need to be exactly at 2cm or 4cm away from your subject. And the closeups we took with the Redmi K30 are pretty impressive.
The fourth camera on the back is a 2MP depth sensor used only when shooting portraits. And the K30 indeed seems to be a potent shooter even if its processing might cut an ear or a cheek in the process. The portrait photos are very detailed, with convincing blur and with some fine-tuning they can easily rival some of the best we've seen from recent smartphones.
Now let's look at some nighttime pictures. The Redmi K30 saves very pleasant images when night falls, excellent if you will - the noise reduction is not that aggressive, and while it leaves some noise visible on the photos, it also keeps the fine detail intact, and the sharpness is perfect. The shots are contrasty, and even without HDR or Night Mode, they present some great colors.
The Night Mode on the K30 is just as conservative as on previous Xiaomi cameras. It acts more like HDR rather than full-on Night mode, and shooting takes about 2 seconds. It cancels some of the noise and restores most clipped highlights, but you will rarely get a brighter image, but softer - you will.
The low-light photos from the ultrawide-angle camera are not terrible - they came out detailed than expected, probably due to the gentle noise reduction. The exposure turned out not as dark as on other ultrawide snappers, and while still uninspiring, there are some usable pictures among them.
Here's how the main camera on the Redmi K30 stacks against the rest of the competition in a more controlled environment.
Both the Redmi K30 and Note 8 Pro have the same camera setups, at least on paper. The only real difference is in the maker of the primary sensor - the K30 uses a Sony ExmorRS one, while the Note 8 Pro relies on a Samsung-made ISOCELL. And it is only natural we pit those phones against each other and see what happens.
First, let's look at some daylight photos. The new Redmi K30 offers a sharper images with more resolved detail in the corners. It also produces much better photos even if they are still warmer than they should be.
We were disappointed by the Redmi Note 8 Pro's ultrawide camera, and we were thrilled to find the Redmi K30 has an excellent one. Its 8MP ultrawide shots are superior in everything - sharper and with a lot more detail, better colors, higher contrast.
So, when it comes to daylight photography, the Redmi K30 is the better shooter, and it's quite obvious.
Shooting in low-light is a bit different story. The Redmi Note 8 Pro photos were shot with a much higher ISO and probably because of that they have more details in darker areas and backgrounds but are also far noisier.
On the other hand, the Redmi K30 images were shot at lower ISO setting, which led to less noise and preserved highlights. The loss in detail is minor and we prefer the K30 stills overs the Note 8's in this occasion.
The Night Mode is conservative on both phones, but due to the higher ISO - the Redmi Note 8 Pro has a minor advantage in detail, but that's quickly ruined by the abundant noise.
Both phones shoot mediocre low-light ultrawide photos, but those from the Redmi K30 have better exposure and white balance, plus they are less noisy. The ones from the Note 8 Pro show more detail here and there, but the dynamic range is much lower, and the ISO is often through the roof and so is the noise.
The Redmi K30 has the same selfie camera as seen on the K20, it's just not on a pop-up module. The 20MP f/2.2 shooter this time around is accompanied by a 2MP depth sensor for better selfie portraits, so it's an upgrade of sorts.
The 20MP selfies are very good - there is enough detail, the colors are nice, and the contrast is excellent. Sure, you have a limited range for the focus sweet spot, but with enough leeway to cover the different arm lengths and those who prefer closeup shots.
Thanks to the newly added depth sensor, the portrait selfies are more sophisticated than what we observed from previous Xiaomi phones, including the K20. Sure, the subject separation is not incredibly proficient but it has been improved enough to (arguably) justify the existence of the second screen hole.
The Xiaomi Redmi K30 captures videos up to 4K@30fps, 1080@60fps and 1080@30fps is available as well.
It seems at first that you can capture in these resolutions with all cameras, but you can't really. The ultrawide-angle snapper records only 1080p clips at 30fps, while the macro cam is limited to 720p@30fps no matter what resolution you've picked up from the selector.
Slow-mo video is available in 1080p @120fps.
Let's talk about the main camera. The video bitrate is 40-42Mbps in 4K and about 20Mbps in 1080p at both 30fps and 60fps. Audio on in stereo with a 96Kbps bitrate.
Testing all common video modes - 4K at 30fps, and 1080p videos at 30fps and 60fps, revealed similar results across the board. The resolved detail is excellent in all occasions, contrast and dynamic range are pretty good, too.
You can shoot 2x zoomed videos with the main snapper and while the 4K ones are digitally zoomed (you can tell from a mile), those shot in 1080p resolution are as good as the regular ones.
The 1080p clips from the ultrawide shooter are a bit nosier, but other than that - as good as the rest of the group.
Finally, electronic stabilization can be enabled on all 30fps modes, including in 4K resolution. And it works pretty well.
Once you are done with the real-life scenarios, take a look at our video compare tool to see how it competes against other phones.