Samsung's 108-megapixel mobile sensor closes in on mirrorless cameras

Yolanda Curtis
August 12, 2019

The best is yet to be seen when it comes to mobile photography. The new 108MP ISOCELL Bright HMX sensor promises to enable extremely sharp photographs and exceptional photos in extreme lighting conditions.

Given the high-resolution 108MP camera system is widely-tipped to be one of the headline features in the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy S11, it's really odd to see the Samsung-designed system make its debut in a rival handset. 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. The world's first 108-megapixel camera sensor for smartphones has been built by Samsung, in collaboration with Chinese smartphone company Xiaomi. This allows the sensor to optimise its full well capacity (FWC), utilising the collected light more efficiently especially in bright environments. "As a comparison, the 64MP Samsung ISOCELL unit has a sensor size of 1/1.7" and Sony's 48MP IMX586 sensor has a size of 1/2.0".

Samsung's Smart-ISO mechanism will automatically select lower ISOs in brighter light, and high ISOs in dim shooting situations. On top of that it can record in lossless 6K, at 30 frames per second.

"Over the past few years, mobile phone cameras have become the main instrument for recording and sharing our everyday moments", said Yongin Park, executive vice president of sensor business at Samsung Electronics. This should result in bringing highly-detailed pictures with natural and vivid colours.

According to reliable tipster Ice Universe the newly-announced Galaxy Note 10 will be the last flagship smartphone from Samsung with the previous generation of camera technology, with the Galaxy S11 marking "a new beginning". Based on this technology, Samsung introduced the industry's first 1.0um-pixel image sensor in 2015 and 0.9-pixel sensor in 2017.

In Samsung's announcement of the sensor, it talks about "close collaboration between Xiaomi Corp. and Samsung", and while that doesn't confirm a Xiaomi phone will have the tech first, it seems pretty likely anyway.

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