Samsung's 108-megapixel sensor pushes phone cameras to next level

Ruben Fields
August 12, 2019

This partnership isn't entirely surprising given that these two companies recently came together for Xiaomi's 64MP smartphone that incorporates Samsung's 64MP ISOCELL GW1 sensor inside. Images shot with these 48 MP and 64 MP sensors at their native resolution aren't likely to be sharper or less noisy than those shot on 12 MP or 16 MP smartphone camera sensors. In a joint press release, Samsung and Xiaomi said that the 0.8μm image sensor comes with a large 1/1.33-inch size, which lets it absorb more light than standard sensors in low-lit settings, resulting in better images in the dark. It switches to low ISO in a bright environment to improve pixel saturation and produce vivid photographs and in a low light environment, it switches to high ISO to capture a less noisy and clearer picture.

Last week Xiaomi said it will be the first smartphone company to bring a phone with a 108MP camera and today Samsung detailed the actual sensor.

Xiaomi has been forthcoming with its camera ambition- hinting that it will be the first to churn out smartphones with the 108 million pixels ISOCELL Bright HMX sensor.

The sensor announcement included carefully synchronized statements from Xiaomu co-founder Lin Bin and Samsung executive Yongin Park using the phrase "close collaboration", suggesting that the companies share some degree of ownership of the new sensor technology.

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The HMX also supports lossless video recording at 6K (6016 x 3384 pixels per frame) at 30 fps, so it's good news to videographers too. We are very pleased that picture resolutions previously available only in a few top-tier DSLR cameras can now be designed into smartphones. "Through close collaboration with Xiaomi, ISOCELL Bright HMX is the first mobile image sensor to pack over 100 million pixels and delivers unparalleled color reproduction and stunning detail with advanced Tetracell and ISOCELL Plus technology".

As with other Isocell sensors, the new HMX will benefit from Samsung's Tetracell technology, which enables four sensors to act as a single photosite (for greater sensitivity to illumination) in order to produce 27MP images in low light conditions.

Mass production for Samsung ISOCELL Bright HMX will begin later this month.

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