- Samsung has introduced two new smartphone camera sensors.
- Its 200MP Isocell HP1 sensor is the company’s first sensor and uses a new pixel binning technology.
- At the same time, 50MP Isocell GN5 brings improved autofocus technology with smaller pixels.
Samsung is pushing the smartphone camera industry into the 200MP era. The company announced its new Isocell HP1 sensor, which brings new pixel binning technology and improved low-light shooting technology to the market.
Isocell HP1 is the industry’s first 200MP resolution sensor. Under strong light, Isocell HP1 can choose to use all 200MP as individual 0.64 micron pixels. This is by no means the largest single pixel size we see on smartphone cameras, but Samsung compensates for this in a clever way. In darker scenes, Samsung has adopted its new ChameleonCell pixel binning technology, which allows the sensor to combine 4 or 16 pixels into one larger pixel. These two configurations effectively transform the Isocell HP1 into a 50MP sensor with 1.28 micron pixels or a 12.5MP sensor with 2.56 micron pixels. Samsung pointed out that the latter configuration improves light absorption and sensitivity to improve low-light shooting.
You can also take a look: Want a mobile phone with a great camera?This is what you are looking for
Pixel binning is a common method for sensors to extract more light in darker scenes, but it also has its drawbacks. On the one hand, the more pixels you cluster together, the more color accuracy may be affected. Of course, software can be used to solve these limitations, but when shooting in a very dark environment, color accuracy is arguably not the most important.
For videographers, the 200MP sensor can also use 4-in-1 pixel binning to shoot 8K/30fps video.
Samsung has also introduced a new sensor in its GN series, but its focus is not to increase megapixels. In contrast, Isocell GN5 improves autofocus performance by using more photodiodes. Samsung claims this results in almost “instantaneous” autofocus speeds. It is worth noting that compared with the 1.4-micron pixels of the Isocell GN2 launched earlier this year, the GN5 also contains smaller 1.0-micron pixels.
When will we see a mobile phone equipped with a 200MP sensor?
I don’t know when we will see Isocell HP1 or GN5 sensors in mainstream smartphones. We have heard rumors that the Xiaomi flagship equipped with a 200MP sensor will land in 2022, but the device has not yet been confirmed. It is unclear whether Samsung will use a 200MP sensor in its upcoming flagship series. Tips so far indicate that the Galaxy S22 Ultra does not have a significant camera upgrade, but the S22 and S22 Plus can be equipped with a 50MP sensor.
In other words, now that the 200MP sensor is finally available, we can expect the device to pack it sometime in the future.