Samsung is announcing a new image sensor for phones that breaks records. Built-in partnership with Xiaomi, the new Samsung ISOCELL Bright HMX is the world’s first mobile image sensor that goes beyond 100 million pixels.
At 108MP, the new sensor allows for higher quality pictures in different light conditions. The resolution, which Samsung says is equivalent to DSLR cameras, allows for “extremely sharp photographs rich in detail”, according to the firm. It’s the first mobile image sensor to adopt a large lens size of 1/1.33-inch that allows the lens to absorb more light, leading to better quality pictures in low-light conditions. There’s also an intelligent Tetracell technology that uses a pixel-merging method to “imitate” big-pixel sensors, allowing phones to produce brighter 27MP images.
“In bright environments, the Smart-ISO, a mechanism that intelligently selects the level of amplifier gains according to the illumination of the environment for optimal light-to-electric signal conversion, switches to a low ISO to improve pixel saturation and produce vivid photographs,” Samsung says. The mechanism also allows the phone to reduce noise in pictures in darker settings.
The image sensor is built to tackle video recording as well, with Samsung claiming no loesses in field-of-view when recording videos at resolutions up to 6K at 30fps.
“For ISOCELL Bright HMX, Xiaomi and Samsung have worked closely together from the early conceptual stage to production that has resulted in a groundbreaking 108Mp image sensor. We are very pleased that picture resolutions previously available only in a few top-tier DSLR cameras can now be designed into smartphones,” said Lin Bin, co-founder and president of Xiaomi. It’s not clear how Xiaomi will benefit from this apart from the usual manufacturing profits, though Samsung is advertising the sensor as a Samsung image sensor.
Samsung’s new image sensor could allow for some really good pictures on the company’s future phones, and on other phones. But at the end of the day, a good phone camera comes down to the software and how good the image processing mechanisms are. We have seen companies boast large numbers like this in the past, and they were still not very good at producing pictures better than phones with lower megapixel cameras.
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