TheXiaomi camera app isn’t the worst app around, but plenty of users find its iOS-style interface a little obtuse. If you ever wondered about the app’s more advanced options, or even its basic functions, we’ve got some advice for you.
When you launch the Xiaomi camera app on yourbudget phone, you’ll be greeted by the viewfinder, with several icons dotted around the window.
The large white button at the bottom is the shutter key. The icon to the left (holding the phone in portrait) takes you to your previously taken shots. The red icon to the right of the shutter key is the video recording mode.
Just above those main buttons sits three more buttons. From right to left, there’s a camera toggle button for quickly switching between the main and selfie camera, an “options” menu button, and a filter menu for applying various effects before taking a shot.
Finally, the flash icon sits in the top-left corner (tap it to enable the camera flash) and the HDR toggle in the top-right corner (tap it to enableHDR mode). You’ll want to enable HDR for scenes with both bright and dark elements. That way you can make out detail in the shadows without blowing out the clouds.
The camera app on many premium Xiaomi phones usually differs a little from the budget devices. The more expensive phones tend to use a hamburger button instead of the “options” menu, usually containing shooting modes and settings menus. These more premium phones also copy the iPhone by allowing you to scroll laterally through the camera modes from the viewfinder.
Tapping the “options” menu (or the hamburger menu) will bring up a list of all the Xiaomi camera modes. If you want to take a panorama or dabble withmanual mode on your cheaper phone, you need to visit this menu first.
A single-camera budget Xiaomi phone usually has roughly nine modes here:
More expensive dual-camera Xiaomi phones usually have a few more modes, too:
Tap the gear icon in the top-right of the options menu will open a menu with settings for saving location info for photos, disabling or enabling camera sounds, a pocket mode (disabling touch gestures if you put the phone in your pocket while the camera app is open), a time-stamp option (showing the time and date of the photo), and more.
There are several handy options here, starting with the “show gridlines” toggle. I usually enable this option, as it helps me keep things straight and level, and use the rule of thirds more easily. The “volume buttons function” option lets you tap the volume button to either take a photo or zoom, which is handy if you want a physical camera button on your phone.
We also see options for contrast, saturation and sharpness, in case you want to crank up the colors for Instagram. The last option really worth knowing is the “auto exposure settings” field, which determines how your Xiaomi phone sets exposure. We’d recommend leaving it on “spot metering,” which bases the exposure on where you tapped to focus. Tap on a bright area and the phone will set the exposure lower to compensate, and vice-versa.
Switch to the video recording mode and the “options” menu changes accordingly too. Instead of options like manual, panorama, and tilt-shift, there’s a brief list of video modes. If you’re using a Redmi 5 like me, you’ll only see a time-lapse or slow-motion option.
Tapping the gear icon will bring up different settings to tinker with too. You’ll want to pay attention to video quality (try adjusting your video quality to HD if you’re short on storage space), and the time-lapse interval (how many shots are being taken for a time-lapse).
It’s also worth noting that you might not see the slow-motion video mode if your camera quality is set to Full HD, as some budget phones only capture slow-mo at HD. You’d think the camera app would present the slow-mo option and switch the video resolution in the background when you actually tap it, but Xiaomi is definitely backwards in this regard.
When actually taking photos, the Xiaomi camera app has an alternative way to adjust exposure. Simply tap to focus, then hold on the resulting icon with arrows pointing up and down. From here, drag the icon up for a higher exposure and down for a lower exposure.
If you’ve got a Xiaomi phone with a fingerprint scanner, you’ve also got an extra way to take shots. The Xiaomi camera app lets you take photos by simply tapping the scanner. You might find this handy for taking selfies, when the main shutter key is in an awkward spot.
Many phones can take shots while recording a clip, and it’s pretty easy in the Xiaomi camera app. Simply start recording, then tap the circular icon next to the “stop” button. The photo won’t be high-resolution at all — it’s more like a screengrab — but it’s still a useful trick and shows you don’t necessarily have to choose between video or photo. If you’re not seeing the feature, you might have to enable it via settings > image capture while recording .
That’s pretty much all there is to the Xiaomi camera app. Let us know in the comments if you’ve got any more tips and tricks to share!
Need more MIUI and Xiaomi help? Check out our guide to MIUI themes overhere, or how to take a screenshot on Xiaomi devices overhere.