nubia Z9 mini camera review: an all-round performer

“On a photo journey with the nubia Z9 mini”

nubia z9 mini_15
ZTE’s sub-brand nubia recently made its debut in India with the Z9 mini (unboxing and first impressions). The compact device features top notch specs including a 5-inch full HD display, Snapdragon 615 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of expandable storage, a 3,000mAh battery and support for Indian 4G bands. In the camera department, the smartphone packs in a 16MP primary camera with a Sony IMX234 Exmor RS stacked sensor, an f/2.0 aperture, 6P lens and LED flash. The front camera is an 8MP unit. The camera app features the NeoVision 5.0 UI which packs in a range of creative modes, a professional interface and a full-auto mode. For the purpose of our camera review, we’ve taken a range of photos across various lighting conditions. The images have been captured in auto mode, with the resolution set to maximum. 

Long shot 

nubia-z9-mini_camera-test_long-shot.jpgIn this long shot, the sky appears over-exposed, while the trees look washed out. The image is detailed though, and retains its sharpness when zoomed in.

Close Up

nubia-z9-mini_image-sample_close-up.jpgThis close-up shot of wasps building their nest has been captured beautifully. The subject is in sharp focus in the foreground, while the background has been blurred to create a nice depth-of-field effect.

Close Up (Zoomed In)

nubia-z9-mini_image-sample_close-up-zoomed-in.jpgZoom into the shot above and you can see every little detail, from the papery texture of the nest, to the wasp’s head, to the veins on the leaves. The camera clearly excels in the macro department, and you can see the full effect of the wide aperture here.


nubia-z9-mini_camera-review_HDR-off.jpgWithout HDR, this image looks similar to the long shot sample. Parts of the photo are over-exposed, with the leaves and trees appearing washed out.


nubia-z9-mini_camera-review_HDR-on.jpgThe HDR mode has turned the over-exposed sky into a more natural shade of blue, while the shadowed areas have been brought to life. Unfortunately, it has also increased overall brightness, which makes the image appear artificial.

Front Camera

nubia-z9-mini_camera-sample_front-camera.jpgThe front camera captures natural skin tones, but the subject appears slightly out-of-focus. There’s also quite a bit of noise despite the bright lighting.

Night Shot

nubia-z9-mini_camera-performance_night-shot.jpgThis image taken at night has been captured without any light leaks or excessive grain. The photo is quite detailed despite the low lighting, and you can even make out the drops of water under the canopy.

Low Light

zte-nubia-z9_camera-test_low-light.jpgThe camera has had some difficulty focussing in low light. The subjects appear quite hazy, and while colours can be distinguished, noise levels are on the higher side.

Low Light (With Flash)

zte-nubia-z9_camera-performance_low-light-with-flash.jpgThe flash has a slightly yellowish tint, but apart from that has worked well to improve the image. The light has been evenly diffused, and the grain seen in the previous image seems to have disappeared. 

The nubia Z9 mini has one of the better cameras we’ve seen on smartphones in its price range. It functions well across most lighting conditions and scenes, and the various modes and effects will appeal to creative photographers. For more details on the Z9 mini’s cameras and performance, stay tuned for our full review.

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