Samsung today announced a new camera sensor called the Isocell HP1. As the first 200-megapixel (MP) camera sensor, it will allow smartphone cameras to capture super-high-resolution images.
Samsung is also offering a new Isocell GN5, a 50MP sensor that is built around ultrafast autofocus. More interestingly, rumors have swirled about Xiaomi using a 200MP camera on the Xiaomi 12 Ultra. Unfortunately, there’s almost no chance we’ll see it on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, as previous leaks have indicated it’s keeping the same 108MP resolution as the S21 Ultra. It’s entirely possible that the following generation — the speculative S23 series — could take advantage of the new sensor.
The Isocell HP1 is the star of the show here, supporting up to 200MP. You won’t be taking 200MP photos, though. It’ll rely on pixel-binning, which combines multiple pixels into one large pixel. This means you’ll really be snapping 16MP shots, but the camera will be able to pull in data from all those 200 megapixels to get really detailed images. You’ll also be able to take 12.5MP images in low light, with the camera using its ChameleonCell technology to absorb more light. A 200MP option will remain available for outdoor, well-lit areas. Samsung will also offer support for capturing videos in up to 8K at 30 frames per second (fps) using the same pixel-binning technology to capture videos at 50MP.
The Isocell GN5 is impressive as well, integrating Dual Pixel Pro technology to enable fast autofocus. This means it can take sharper images with little focusing time in both light and dark scenes.
“Samsung has been pioneering ultrafine pixel technologies that are taking high-resolution image sensors to the next level,” Duckhyun Chang, executive vice president of sensor business at Samsung Electronics, said in the announcement. “With the ISOCELL HP1 that is breaking barriers and ISOCELL GN5 bringing ultrafast autofocus, Samsung will continue to lead the trend for next-generation mobile imaging technologies.”
Given this statement, we’re likely to see camera hardware sporting up to 200MP by 2022. Once again, it is worth noting that having a larger camera megapixel count will not by itself provide excellent camera quality. The Pixel 5 and iPhone 12 can trade imaging blows with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, while lower-end phones with 108MP cameras simply can’t compete.