Samsung Electronics has unveiled its latest 200-megapixel camera sensor with some of the smallest pixels to date, which it says will help manufacturers keep their high-end smartphones slim. At the same time, the HP3 sensor incorporates technology such as autofocus capability in every pixel, binning for better low-light capability, and multi-gain ISO for maximum dynamic range.
The sensor measures 1/1.4 inches, quite large for a smartphone but extremely small for a 200 megapixel sensor. Samsung claims it has the smallest pixels in the industry at 0.56 microns, 20% smaller than the 0.64 micron pixels of the ISOCELL HP1 launched last year. However, that’s not entirely accurate, as Chinese manufacturer Omnivision unveiled a 200-megapixel sensor with the same 0.56-micron pixel size in February.
Still, Samsung’s sensor has some interesting technical tricks. Each pixel has autofocus detection capability and “Super QPD” technology uses a single quad-pixel lens that enables faster and more accurate autofocus. It can also pack four 0.56-micron pixels into a larger 50-megapixel 1.12-micron sensor for better low-light capability, or even combine 16 pixels into a single 2.24-micron one. That’s still considerably smaller than most of the camera’s sensor pixels (Sony’s 61-megapixel full-frame A7R IV sensor has 3.76-micron pixels), but should allow for shooting capability. decent in low light.
In addition to high-resolution photos, it enables 8K video at 30 fps and 4K video at 120 fps, while using almost the full width of the sensor. Finally, it offers 14-bit color depth (4 trillion colors), quadrupling the 12-bit depth of most smartphone sensors. Mass production is expected to begin this year, and you’ll likely see 200-megapixel phones using the sensor in 2023.
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