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Samsung’s New 200MP Smartphone Camera Sensor Sounds Absolutely Wild

Samsung’s New 200MP Smartphone Camera Sensor Sounds Absolutely Wild

Samsung just took the wraps off one of its biggest imaging innovations to date — announcing the industry’s first 200MP camera sensor for smartphones. Compared to where the market was just a few short years ago, it’s rather jaw-dropping how much the smartphone industry has evolved in such a small amount of time. Screens have become larger and sharper, processors are infinitely more powerful, charging speeds are faster, etc., etc.

One area that’s been particularly exciting to watch is the camera space. Smartphone cameras have gone from mediocre, to good, to amazing in a rapid amount of time. When the iPhone 4 launched in 2010, it wowed the world with its 5MP rear camera, HD video recording, and 0.3MP front-facing camera. Fast forward 11 years later to a phone like the Galaxy S21 Ultra — offering a 108MP primary camera, 8K video, and a 40MP selfie shooter.

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Now, the smartphone camera world is taking another massive leap forward. On September 2, Samsung unveiled its ISOCELL HP1 sensor. It’s the industry’s first 200MP smartphone camera and strives to be the next big thing in mobile photography. Samsung also announced the ISOCELL GN5. While it has a much more modest 50MP resolution, it stands out as the first 1.0μm sensor with Dual Pixel Pro technology.

Commenting on the new camera tech, executive vice president of sensor business Duckhyun Chang said, “Samsung has been pioneering ultrafine pixel technologies that are taking high-resolution image sensors to the next level. With the ISOCELL HP1 that is breaking barriers and ISOCELL GN5 bringing ultrafast auto focus, Samsung will continue to lead the trend for next-generation mobile imaging technologies.”

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Why The ISOCELL HP1 And GN5 Are So Important

Why The ISOCELL HP1 And GN5 Are So Important
Samsung's New 200MP Smartphone Camera Sensor Sounds Absolutely Wild 3

While resolution isn’t the one determining factor of a good camera, there are tangible benefits that come from the increase from 108MP to 200MP. For still photos, this should allow for even greater flexibility with zooming and cropping. The increased resolution also enables the HP1 to capture 8K video at 30fps with “minimum loss in the field of view.” Samsung’s also touting a huge improvement for low-light photography. If the HP1 is used in a dark environment, the sensor switches from 200MP to 12.5MP with much larger 2.56μm pixels. With this, Samsung says, “The newly formed 2.56μm pixel is capable of more light absorption and sensitivity, producing brighter and clearer photos in in-doors or in the evening.”

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Then there’s the ISOCELL GN5. The 50MP resolution isn’t nearly as exciting of a talking point, but that’s also not the main focus for this particular sensor. Here, Samsung focused on delivering the fastest autofocus experience possible. The Dual Pixel Pro system takes two photodiodes and places them within each 1.0μm of the GN5 — giving the camera one million phase-detecting photodiodes. As Samsung explains, this system will “substantially boost autofocusing capabilities.”

The biggest downside to all of this? It may be a while before the tech actually ships in a U.S.-bound smartphone. Rumors have it that the Galaxy S22 Ultra will use another 108MP camera next year instead of the 200MP HP1. Samsung has also yet to comment on commercial availability for the sensors, further reinforcing it’ll be some time before they ship in a consumer-ready smartphone. However, taking Samsung at its word for what these sensors can do, that wait should be worth it.

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