Samsung Unveils 200-Megapixel Image Sensor For Future Flagship Smartphones
Samsung is packing two hundred million pixels inside its latest image sensor – ISOCELL HP2 – to capture “beyond pro-level photos with every shot in ultra-high resolution.” Using an already widely used 108MP smartphone camera sensor, Samsung is doubling its capabilities with improved pixel technology that has already “entered mass production.” Rumoured to make its real-world entry inside the eagerly anticipated Galaxy S23 Ultra, the updated image sensor from Samsung is set to become the first 200MP sensor to be used inside one of its flagship smartphones.
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“Stunning mobile images in tomorrow’s premium smartphones” is the promise being made by Samsung Electronics in a press release, unveiling its latest 200-megapixel (MP) image sensor, the ISOCELL HP2. Harnessing “high-resolution image sensor technologies and know-how at the cutting edge for epic details,” executive vice president of the Sensor Business Team at Samsung Electronics Joon Seo Yim says the company’s “innovative pixel technologies allow our sensors to go beyond the number and size of pixels.”
Inside the 1/1.3″ optical format (a sensor size that is frequently found in 108MP main smartphone cameras) of the ISOCELL HP2 is 200 million 0.6-micrometre pixels. The sensor features a brand-new innovation from Samsung called Dual Vertical Transfer Gate (D-VTG), which effectively doubles the number of electrons accessible from each photodiode, increasing the pixel’s full-well capacity by more than 33 per cent. The company claims D-VTG “can reduce overexposure and enhance colour reproduction, especially in bright light conditions.”
As for low-lit environments, Samsung has improved auto-focusing with Super QPD, which utilises all 200 million pixels as “focusing agents.” The sheer number of pixels or “focusing agents” link together in groups of four to recognise “horizontal and vertical pattern changes” for faster and more accurate autofocusing, even in low light. Samsung says even in a 1 lux environment, such as a room lit by a single candle, Super QPD “enables fast, accurate imaging, capturing movement”.
Last year’s Galaxy S22 Ultra arrived on the scene with a 108MP sensor for its primary camera, which is just over half of what the ISOCELL HP2 can capture. Despite nearly doubling the sensor’s capabilities, it’s not all about the numbers. The real improvement comes from Samsung’s advanced pixel-binning technology, Tetrapixel.
Pixel binning is a process that increases the effective size of each pixel by combining them in four-by-four or two-by-two configurations to improve exposure in low-lit environments. The new sensor, which features 1/1.3″ and 0.6-micrometre (μm) pixels, can combine four pixels to create larger 1.2μm pixels for capturing 50MP images. Binning 16 pixels form even larger 2.4μm pixels, resulting in 12.5MP photos.
Samsung plans to use the 1.2μm mode to record 8K video at 30fps, with pixel-binning for a wider viewing angle. “Superb HDR performance” is also on the cards, with Samsung introducing, for the first time, the DSG feature in 50MP mode, alongside Smart-ISO Pro, for capturing multiple ISO readouts in a single exposure for 12.5MP images and 4K at 60fps video in HDR.
With the Galaxy S23 set to be revealed on February 1st, 2023, we look forward to testing out the enhanced photographic capabilities of this 200MP behemoth when it lands in Australia.