While Google’s Pixel 3 and Apple’s iPhone XS may be the best cameras on the market today, it’s hard to ignore Samsung’s mobile photography prowess. This week, new Samsung camera sensors have been announced and are set to go into mass production later this year.
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Detailed in a recent press release, Samsung’s new ISOCELL GM1 and ISOCELL GD1 deliver the whopping 32MP and 48MP sensors all designed to fit inside of your average smartphone. These new sensors should provide plenty of detail in their images, although it does come at the expense of surface area and, in turn, the available light to capture.
As cameras are becoming a key distinguishing feature in today’s mobile devices, smartphone makers are faced with the challenge to fit multiple cameras into the sleek designs of their latest flagships. At a reduced pixel size, the new sensors provide greater design flexibility, enabling camera module manufacturers to build smaller modules or pack more pixels into existing designs, and consequently allowing smartphone makers to maximize space utilization in slim, bezel-less smartphones.
These new sensors deliver 0.8μm pixel image sensors while the sensor found in the Galaxy S9 is 1.22μm (bigger is better in this case). However, Samsung combats this using “Tetracell” technology which combines 4 pixels to increase the pixel size to 1.6μm. In theory, that should provide even better low-light performance, and it’s something we’ve seen Sony and other OEMs do in the past.
In addition, thanks to Tetracell technology, where four pixels are merged to work as one to increase light sensitivity, the GM1 and GD1 can deliver light sensitivity equivalent to that of a 1.6μm-pixel image sensor at 12Mp and 8Mp resolution, respectively.
It hasn’t been detailed yet when we’ll see these new Samsung camera sensors debut in a smartphone, but the company has already confirmed that both offerings will go into mass production this year.
It’s entirely possible the Galaxy S10 will use one of these options as a part of its triple-camera array, but that’s not clear just yet. If so, however, it’d probably be a great spec for marketing.
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