Samsung develops world’s first 108MP image sensor for smartphones

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When it comes to smartphone photography, more is more. We’ve seen the number of megapixels and lenses increase on flagship phones in recent years, and the latest development from Samsung sees the firm create the world’s first 108MP image sensor designed for phones.

The new sensor was designed thanks to a collaboration with Xiaomi, with the company’s upcoming Redmi device touted to feature the offering, but that remains unconfirmed for now.

In the interim the ISOCELL Bright HMX, as it’s being called, is one of the world’s largest smartphone sensors, and clearly designed to take on some of the photography hardware that Huawei has been showcasing in its P and Mate series of late.

To that end having 100 million pixels to call upon while snapping pictures means images taken with a device sporting the ISOCELL Bright HMX should prove extremely detailed.

As such should a phone feature a lens in the 27MP range, the new image sensor should yield brighter imagery in extremely low-lit conditions, Samsung says.

“Being the first mobile image sensor to adopt a large 1/1.33-inch size, the HMX can absorb more light in low-lit settings than smaller sensors and its pixel-merging Tetracell technology allows the sensor to imitate big-pixel sensors, producing brighter 27Mp images,” the firm explained in a press release about the ISOCELL Bright HMX.

Added to this is a Smart-ISO function that will allow the sensor to detect and select lower ISOs in low-lit conditions.

“In bright environments, the Smart-ISO, a mechanism that intelligently selects the level of amplifier gains according to the illumination of the environment for optimal light-to-electric signal conversion, switches to a low ISO to improve pixel saturation and produce vivid photographs,” notes Samsung.

The ISOCELL Bright HMX is also capable of recording video at up to 6K (6016×3384) at 30fps. Samsung adds that it plans to create a platform for users to make the most of the new technology, although what guise this will take is unknown.

Mass production of the new ISOCELL Bright HMX image sensor is set to begin later this month, Samsung confirms, but the firm has not noted which other manufacturers outside of Xiaomi will have access to it.

For now we’ll have to see what the Chinese firm has planned for the new image sensor, and whether it can indeed outperform the ISO capabilities of Huawei’s offering.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Editor of Hypertext. Covers smartphones, IoT, 5G, cloud computing and a few things in between. Also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games when not taking the hatchet to stories.


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