Samsung is one of the top three players in the smartphone camera sensor space (along with Sony and Omnivision) and has been ramping up the stakes recently thanks to 50 MP and 108 MP sensors.
Now the company has announced the 50MP Isocell JN1 sensor. And at first glance, it looks like the company would prefer a thin design to image quality. The new image sensor delivers a 1 / 2.76-inch sensor size in combination with 0.64-micrometer pixels, which is a size advantage over the previous 50 MP sensors from Samsung (e.g. Isocell GN1 and GN2).
In addition to being used as the main camera, Samsung is also suitable for use as a telephoto, ultra-wide-angle or selfie camera due to the smaller sensor size. According to Samsung, the new camera sensor can also reduce the height of a camera module by ~ 10% (the comparison is unclear here, however), reduces camera shock and enables thinner designs.
More than just a slim design?
The smaller sensor and pixel size should result in reduced image quality (especially in low light) compared to the 50MP sensors and conventional 12MP sensors mentioned above. But Samsung says the Isocell JN1 comes with Isocell 2.0 technology, which it first introduced earlier this year. This is an updated version of its Isocell and Isocell Plus technology that reduces crosstalk and improves light gathering capabilities. In fact, Samsung estimates that this new technology, along with “additional enhancements”, will improve the JN1’s sensitivity to light by 16%.
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The new sensor also takes advantage of four-in-one pixel binning, which combines data from four 0.64-micron pixels in one pixel to create images that are similar to those of a 12.5-megapixel sensor are comparable to 1.28 microns. This, along with Isocell 2.0 technology, suggests that the low light results may not be as good enormously Step up from Samsung’s other 50MP sensors. But we have to try the first phones with this technology to see if it actually does.
Other notable features of Samsung Isocell JN1 include Smart ISO technology for better dynamic range, double super phase detection autofocus, 4K / 60fps video recording and 240fps video recording at FHD resolution.
Samsung’s new camera sensor is currently in mass production so we probably won’t have to wait long to see the first phones with these parts.