Samsung HP1: the promises of the first 200 megapixel smartphone sensor

It is not the largest of the smartphone sensors, but it is the most defined in history: the ISOCELL HP1 is a little monster integrating no less than 200 Mpix! As usual in the world of small sensors for mobile devices, it is not really a question of using images of 200 Mpix (even if this is still possible), but rather of improving the quality of the photos. in lower definition. Indeed, this sensor can operate in native definition of 200 Mpix, 50 Mpix (groups of four photodiodes) or 12.5 Mpix (groups of 16 photodiodes).

In this 12.5 Mpix mode, the groups behave like “giant” photosites of 2.56 microns (4 x 0.64 microns). An interesting useful surface especially for collecting light. Without being small, since it is 1 / 1.22 ” format, the Samsung HP1 is not the largest on the market. It’s even smaller than Samsung’s flagship, the GN2. A 1 / 1.12 ” sensor four times less defined (50 Mpix), but yet more upscale.

Read also : Mi 11 Ultra: Xiaomi relaunches the war of large image sensors on smartphones [ premier terminal avec le capteur « géant » Samsung, le GN2 (ndr) ]

With so many photodiodes (improperly called “pixels”), the HP1 is obviously capable of shooting 8K videos, up to 30 frames per second. But these 200 Mpix still raise questions in terms of 4K and Full HD: how will the sensor behave with its groups of sixteen photodiodes?

Less noise and more details… at the expense of colors?

The photodiodes are no longer organized in groups of four (tetracell) or nine (nonacell) but of sixteen units of the same color (sexdeci-cell if we extrapolated). In “normal” mode, the sensor uses these sixteen units like a large photosite and becomes a 12.5 Mpix sensor with very good granularity in terms of detail and theoretically good digital noise control potential. This ability to use groups of 2×2 = 4 or 4×4 = 16 photodiodes is called ChameleonCell by Samsung, but we do not know more about the management of these groups, Samsung is sometimes stingy in technical details.

Read also: Samsung Isocell 2.0, the promise of sensors that collect light better

These 200 Mpixes can be interesting on paper for image precision. But with smartphone optics having very poor resolving power compared to photo optics, this very large gap between photosites raises questions. Especially in 50 Mpix and 200 Mpix definition, where the photodiodes at the “heart” of a group of a given color (R, G or B) are well isolated from other colors. What software tricks will Samsung put in place to overcome this limit? Again, no technical details. But the tests of the first terminals carrying this component which should arrive between the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022 should inform us.

In addition to its 200 Mpix monster, Samsung takes the opportunity to announce another component, the ISOCELL GN5. A “light” version of the GN2: while it is almost 1 inch (1 / 1.12 ”) with 1.4 micron photodiodes, the GN5 uses the same definition of 50 Mpix but with photodiodes of ” only »1 micron. Only in quotes, because it remains very honorable.

Also to discover in video:

Also to discover in video:

Its originality lies in its improved Dual Pixel structure, the Dual Pixel Pro. Instead of having skylights split in half only vertically, photodiodes are now split either horizontally or vertically. Coupled with a million phase correlation points placed on the surface of the sensor, this allows the GN5 to better perceive directional changes in the subjects photographed. And so, in theory, to improve AF when it comes to action shots.

As for the ISOCELL HP1, the ISOCELL GN5 is now officially in the Samsung catalog and the first terminals equipped with it should arrive in the coming months.

Source : Samsung

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