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Samsung Introduces Industry’s First 200MP and 50MP Image Sensors with Advanced Pixel Technologies for the Smartphone Market

by Jeffrey Mathews | 9月 02, 2021

Smartphone camera performance continues to be elevated each year driven by the advanced imaging component ecosystem for smartphones. The image sensor vendors are one of the key players who are driving this ecosystem with the application of high resolution, big pixel and large format sensors with unique sensor algorithms.  The smartphone camera capabilities have been greatly improved as smartphone OEMs have continued with the adoption of high-performance image sensors across various device tiers. 

We are expected to witness another leap in camera performance as today Samsung introduced its two latest image sensors, ISOCELL HP1 which is the world’s first 200MP image sensor, and 50MP ISOCELL GN5 for the smartphone market. 


Image Source: Samsung


Samsung ISOCELL HP1

Samsung’s latest ISOCELL HP1 promises huge leaps in capture performance with a great degree of details. 

  • The sensor features a resolution of 200MP with a small pixel size of 0.64μm. The sensor size is 1/1.22", such a large sensor size allows greater light sensitivity for amazing low light captures.
  • This image sensor features Samsung’s latest pixel binning technology called ChameleonCell Technology which allows for both 4-in-1 pixel binning in 2x2 pixel layout and also industry’s first 16-in-1 pixel binning in 4x4 pixel layout.  The sensor can also shoot 200MP in full pixel layout especially in bright environment. In low-lit environment, the sensor merges 16 pixels in 1 to amplify the pixel to large size of 2.56μm and outputs a resolution of 12.5MP. This enables the sensor to have high light absorption and sensitivity as a result the images turn to be brighter with high details.
  • The sensor supports 8K video recording at 30fps where it merges 4 pixels in 1 to boost the pixel size to 1.28μm and capture at a resolution of 50MP. The sensor also supports 4K at 120fps. In addition to staggered HDR, the sensor also supports Samsung’s advanced HDR technology such as the Smart-ISO Pro solution for capturing vivid images and reduced motion artifacts.


Samsung ISOCELL GN5

The ISOCELL GN5 image sensor is targeting a superior auto-focus experience for capturing high-resolution images. 

  • The new GN5 image sensor has a 50MP resolution with a pixel size of 1.0μm. This image sensor has a sensor size of 1/1.57".  The sensor’s high resolution and large pixel profile enable strong details in capture scenarios.
  • The sensor retains Samsung’s Dual Pixel Pro solution that enables photodiodes placed in each pixel to detect horizontal and vertical pattern changes in all directions. This results in ultra-fast and accurate autofocusing during image capture. In addition to superior autofocus, the sensor also delivers sharp and optimal images using Samsung’s proprietary Front Deep Trench Isolation (FDTI) technology that insulates and reduces cross talk within the pixel. DTI is a key technology used by CIS vendors for scaling the pixel.
  • The sensor also applies Samsung’s Dual Tetracell Technology, using 4-in-1 pixel binning and amplify the pixels into a large 2.0μm pixel with a resulting image output of 12.5MP resolution. This allows for capturing strong details in low-lit conditions.
  • The sensor offers two HDR solutions, Staggered HDR and Samsung’s Smart ISO Pro for delivering balanced dynamic images. The sensor can support 8K video recording at 30fps and also 4K video recording at 120fps.


Outlook

Samsung’s introduction of ISOCELL HP1 puts the vendor firmly ahead in the megapixel race. The vendor already introduced the 100MP image sensor a few years back will now look to strengthen its position in the high-pixel sensor segment with its 200MP CIS product for the smartphone market. The vendor’s positioning of 200MP smartphone image sensors will be similar to its 100MP CIS portfolio, most likely replacing its offering of 100MP CIS products in the high-end and premium smartphone market. Samsung’s ISOCELL GN5 is expected to be another significant addition to its already existing premium ISOCELL GN1 and GN2 image sensors portfolio. From a customer perspective, the image sensor will have strong demand from the Top 5 smartphone OEMs. However, these image sensors could be exclusive to certain customers for a period.

As per Strategy Analytics Smartphone Image Sensor Q2 2021 report, the smartphone image sensor market witnessed a growth of more than 10 percent as Sony Semiconductor took the top spot with 41 percent share followed by Samsung System LSI and OmniVision Technologies in the quarter. Sony is aggressively targeting opportunities in custom image sensor products after having introduced the world’s first 1-inch sensor in the first quarter. Meanwhile, Samsung System LSI is expected to continue its aggressive strategy of capturing high volume and high revenue opportunities with its latest competitive image sensor products.


Key Questions

  • The sensor is currently being sampled to customers. When is the sensor expected to be in mass production and what could be the timeline for the application of these image sensors in customer devices?
  • What is the positioning of these image sensors for customers? Which set of smartphone OEMs will feature this sensor within its camera configuration and on which device tier?  
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