Samsung has debuted its smallest ever 200-megapixel smartphone sensor
Samsung Electronics has unveiled the ISOCELL HP3, its latest 200-megapixel camera sensor that will help manufacturers keep their premium smartphones slim. Despite still featuring a few small pixels, the sensor includes technologies like autofocus capability in each pixel, binning for better low light capacity, and multi-gain ISO for maximum dynamic range.
The HP3 sensor is 1 / 1.4-inch in size, quite large for a smartphone but extremely small for a 200-megapixel sensor. Samsung claims that it has the industry’s smallest pixel of 0.56 microns, which is 20 percent smaller than the 0.64 micron pixel of ISOCELL HP1 launched last year. However, that’s not quite accurate, as Chinese manufacturer Omnivision unveiled a 200-megapixel sensor back in February with the same 0.56 micron pixel size.
Still, Samsung’s sensors have some great technical tricks. Each pixel has the ability to detect autofocus, and “Super QPD” technology uses a single lens rather than four pixels that allows for faster and more accurate autofocus. For better low light capacity it can bin in four 0.56 micron pixel large 1.12 micron 50-megapixel sensors or combine 16 pixels into a 2.24 micron size. It’s still much smaller than most camera sensor pixels (Sony’s 61-megapixel full-frame A7R IV sensor has 3.76 micron pixels), but should allow for decent low-light shooting capabilities.
In addition to high-resolution photos, it allows for 8K video at 30fps and 4K video at 120fps, using almost full sensor width. Finally, it offers 14-bit color depth (4 trillion colors), which quadruples the 12-bit depth of most smartphone sensors. Mass production is set to begin this year, and you’ll probably see 200-megapixel phones using sensors in 2023.