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Xiaomi Mi 9 SE vs realme 3 Pro - Photography fight!

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Xiaomi Mi 9 SE and realme 3 Pro are two phones packed with great specs and features for the price.
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE vs realme 3 Pro - Photography fight!
Mi 9 SE versus realme 3 Pro

Moreover, the two are also loaded with some of the best camera hardware found in the mid-range category.

Because of that, two are always in the conversation if you are looking for an excellent affordable phone for photography.

Let's check their camera specs first.

Realme 3 Pro vs Xiaomi Mi 9 SE Camera Specs

Device Realme 3 ProXiaomi Mi 9 SE
Back Camera 16MP f/1.7 Sony IMX519 + 5MP f/2.4 w/ Dual Pixel and LED flash 48MP f/1.75 Sony IMX586 sensor + 13MP f/2.4 w/ 123-degree ultra wide-angle sensor + 8MP f/2.4 2x telephoto sensor w/ Dual Pixel PDAF and LED flash
Selfie Camera 25MP f/2.0 w/ AI face beauty 20MP f/2.0

See also: Realme 3 Pro vs Xiaomi Mi 9 SE Specs Comparison

Mi 9 SE is the most affordable with a massive 48MP f/1.75 Sony IMX586 sensor yet. It's a 1/2-type unit with 0.8μm pixel that uses Sony's "Quad Bayer" color filter to combine four pixels together to a 12MP output with large 1.6μm pixels for better details, colors, and exposure in different lighting conditions.

Xiaomi also paired it with 13MP f/2.4 w/ 123-degree ultra wide-angle sensor and 8MP f/2.4 2x telephoto sensor to complete its triple-camera setup.

It also has a 20MP f/2.0 sensor for selfies with AI scene detection and face beauty.
   
For selfies, this phone loads with 20MP f/2.0 sensor with AI scene detection, HDR, face beauty.Priced at PHP 12,990 (4GB RAM/64GB storage), Realme 3 Pro is equipped with the 16MP f/1.7 Sony IMX519 main camera and a 5MP f/2.4 secondary camera. The main shooter is the same sensor found with the OnePlus 6T, a 2018 flagship phone. 

Realme also added Dual Pixel focus, LED flash, and a lot of camera optimizations with the help of AI to improve its camera quality.

It include the likes of Chroma Boost to enhance details, dynamic range, and colors of your daylight shots and AI Super Nightscape mode which stacks 11 layers of images and will add RAW on top to take stabilized handheld long exposure low light shots.

Realme 3 Pro also has a 25MP f/2.0 front camera sensor for selfies with AI face beauty HDR.

Let's begin!

Settings: Auto with AI scene detection

Realme 3 Pro vs Xiaomi Mi 9 SE - Photography fight!

Scene 1 - Daylight
The first scene showed that the Mi 9 SE delivered the more saturated looking image with slightly blueish tint and stronger contrast. The colors on the realme 3 Pro's shot is duller, but it has better exposure control and wider dynamic range. Details in the sky are clearer as well.
Daylight 100 percent crop
Daylight 100 percent crop

But when cropped, it is visible that the details on the realme 3 Pro shot is a bit softer.
Ultra-wide
Ultra-wide

Allow us to also note that the Mi 9 SE has an ultra-wide mode unlike the realme 3 Pro, thank's to its triple-camera setup.

Scene 2 - Against the light 2x zoom
The next scene is a bit more challenging to take. Mi 9 SE delivered the slightly blueish image again. Dynamic range and the colors on the realme 3 Pro's shot looks better for me as well.
2x zoom 100 percent crop
2x zoom 100 percent crop

When cropped, artifacts are lesser on the realme 3 Pro shot. However, it looks soft compared with the Mi 9 SE shot. It could go either way depending on your preference.

Scene 3 - Portrait mode
Realme 3 Pro's delivered the image with crispier details and more accurate colors on the subject. Its default background blur is creamier as well.
100 percent crop
100 percent crop
Realme 3 Pro's edge detection
Realme 3 Pro's edge detection

However, Mi 9 SE's edge detection and background to subject separation is better and cleaner. I won't blame you if you will pick Mi 9 SE's shot in this scene.

Scene 4 - Indoor artificial light

Mi 9 SE's shot has the wider dynamic range. Its details are arguably sharper as well.

However, it is a bit overexposed. Realme 3 Pro also rendered the exposure and colors correctly. It comes with the sharper details in the "Eat Yourself Bankrupt" and "Attackoyaki" logos. Our focus point here is the "Eat Yourself Bankrupt" logo. 

It is a win for realme 3 Pro here.

Scene 5 - Auto low light
Both are decent phones for photography even in low light. Realme's shot comes with a bit more noise, but it is brighter with better dynamic rang and exposure. Just don't expect too much. Fortunately, both have their own handheld long exposure night modes.
Ultra-wide no night mode
Ultra-wide no night mode

The night mode doesn't work on Xiaomi's ultra-wide lens though. But at least, it has an ultra-wide lens unlike the realme 3 Pro.


Scene 6 - Night mode 1
The night mode of both phones enhanced the their respective shots. The images they took are now sharper with wider dynamic range and less noise. We noticed that Mi 9 SE's shot is wider by default. On the other hand, realme 3 Pro's Nightscape cropped the image.

But it made the night shot on the realme 3 Pro look a bit better. It has the nicer contrast and truer colors as well.

Scene 7 - Night mode 2 

In terms of color reproduction, it is the other way around this time. Mi 9 SE's output is looks more natural with warmer yet truer colors. It is brighter as well. On the other hand, realme 3 Pro's shot is blueish to my eyes.
Night mode 100 percent crop
Night mode 100 percent crop

Details are about the same, but exposure control goes to realme 3 Pro again.

Scene 8 - Selfie daylight
Both phones have the ability to produce selfies with plenty of details in daylight. Both comes with auto HDR for rich dynamic range and to avoid washed looking backgrounds. But it is clear in this scene that the advantage is with the selfie from realme 3 Pro.
Selfie 100 percent crop
Selfie 100 percent crop

Realme 3 Pro's reproduction and contrast are better. Details are noticeably sharper as well. Mi 9 SE's shot is just a bit brighter and whiter.

Scene 9 - Selfie indoor face beauty bokeh
The colors on my selfie is more natural with the realme 3 Pro. Details on my face is clearer as well. The face beauty is there, but it isn't too much. Its depth estimation is nicer for me too.

Mi 9 SE's selfie is softer. My skin looks paler too. But, its bokeh looks more natural to my eyes Its edge detection is cleaner.

Scene 10 - Selfie low light
Mi 9 SE's low light selfie is noticeably whiter than my realme 3 Pro's low light selfie. Fortunately, details are about the same. Just adjust the colors of Mi 9 SE's selfie to make it look more natural.

Verdict

There is a reason why these two phones are some of the most talked-about camera phones in the mid-range department today. Both the Mi 9 SE and realme 3 Pro delivered images that are comparable to 2018 flagship phones for much less.

You cannot go wrong with both, but they have their edges over each other.

Mi 9 SE is the camera phone to get if you can spend PHP 15,990. It comes with the slightly wider field of view for the main shooter and it can deliver highly detailed shots. It even has an ultra-wide angle mode, 2x optical zoom, and better edge detection for your portrait shots.

But for the PHP 12,990 starting price, realme 3 Pro is no slouch. In fact, it could be the better camera phone if you do not need the ultra-wide angle lens of the Mi 9 SE.

In some daylight scenarios, it can take images with sharper details and better color reproduction than the Mi 9 SE. I also like its Nightscape mode a bit better than Xiaomi's implementation of the night mode. Arguably, it takes better selfies as well.

Again, you cannot go wrong with both for photography. Pick your poison depending on your preference and budget.

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