Samsung is making 200-megapixel phone cameras a reality


The megapixel race isn’t over yet.

On Thursday, Samsung announced a new camera sensor called Isocell HP1, the first to boast a resolution of 200 megapixels, with a pixel size of 0.64μm.

While the sensor will be able to use all those pixels to produce an absolutely massive image, in real life usage phone cameras will probably mostly rely on the sensor’s pixel binning capabilities, where it combines four pixels into one, larger pixel, for an effective resolution of 50 megapixels and far better performance in low-light situations.

For even better low-light performance, the Isocell HP1 can combine 16 pixels into large, 2.56μm pixels, for an effective resolution of 12.5 megapixels.

The Isocell HP1 is no slouch when it comes to video capturing, either — the sensor can take 8K videos at 30 frames per second.

Alongside the Isocell HP1, Samsung also launched the Isocell GN5, a sensor with 1.0μm-sized pixels which incorporates Samsung’s Dual Pixel Pro technology. This tech places two tiny photodiodes very close to the sensor’s pixels, for a total of 1 million photodiodes covering all areas of the sensor. This allows for “instantaneous” autofocus and sharper images in both very bright, and low-lit environments.

There’s no official word on when, exactly, the new sensor will show up in phones, though it’s traditionally Xiaomi that jumps on these new Samsung sensors first, and previous rumors indicate a 200-megapixel Xiaomi phone could be launched in 2022.

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