Samsung officially unveiled a new smartphone camera sensor with a resolution of 200MP. The new sensor is the third generation of their ISOCELL HP sensor.
The first sensor in this series, the ISOCELL HP1, was the first smartphone camera sensor that was 200MP, but it was never shipped in official phones. However, a Motorola phone is in the pipeline with the ISOCELL HP1.
Samsung has already started shipping samples to vendors and other smartphone manufacturers, and they plan to begin mass production and send these sensors by the end of this year.
Currently, Sony dominates the smartphone camera market. Leading smartphone manufacturers from all around the world have been using sensors from Sony, and this includes Samsung, as well as Apple. Samsung is looking to disrupt Sony’s stronghold over the market.
Samsung’s first-generation ISOCELL HP1 200MP sensor will first appear in a Motorola phone. Samsung had decided that the ISOCELL HP1 sensor did not meet their requirements, so they decided to keep improving.
The ISOCELL HP3 is that it features 0.56-micron pixels, allowing Samsung to produce a smaller 1/1.14-inch camera sensor format. At the same time, its predecessor, the ISOCELL HP2, offered 0.64-micron pixels that paved the way for a 1/1.22–inch sensor profile.
The advantage that the HP3 has over HP2 is that the smaller sensor surface area takes up less space, which means other manufacturers won’t have much trouble keeping their phones slim despite equipping them with a 200MP camera sensor.
Samsung recently showcased the chops of its latest camera sensor by taking cat pictures and printing out a giant canvas that was bigger than the size of a basketball court. The goal was to showcase the terrific levels of detail that the camera could capture.
The ISOCELL HP3 also comes with several software tweaks for better results. For example, it uses Tetra2 (or Tetra Square) pixel-binning technology that merges 16 adjacent pixels to create a larger pixel capable of absorbing more light data to produce brighter and more detailed photos, especially in challenging situations.
Samsung is also leveling up the auto-focusing game with the ISOCELL HP3 sensor. Samsung’s camera division adopted the new Super QPD tech that arms each pixel with auto-focusing capabilities and relies on a system that puts a single lens over four-adjacent pixels to detect the phase differences in both horizontal and vertical directions.
The results are more accurate colors and a faster focus lock experience. Samsung is also shifting to an upgraded Smart ISO Pro feature for HDR imaging. Instead of a dual-ISO approach that combines two images captured at high and low ISO settings to produce the final HDR shot, the new version relies on a triple-shot system for taking a trio of pictures at three different ISO levels (low, mid, and high) to produce an even more comprehensive dynamic range.
Samsung also increased the 10-bit and 12-bit capture up to 14-bit RAW capture. For video recording, the new Samsung sensor is capable of native 8K recording without any cropping, while 4K videos can be shot at a frame rate of up to 120fps. Full-HD slo-mo videos at 480fps.
The new 200MP sensor from Samsung likely won’t appear in a Samsung Galaxy phone this year, as camera upgrades are usually reserved for Galaxy S flagships. The most obvious bet would be the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which will likely break cover in Q1 2023. In all likelihood, Samsung’s new ISOCELL HP3 may be seen in Chinese brands like Vivo and Oppo in their Find X series and X Series flagships.