Samsung has unveiled a new image sensor for smartphone cameras that it claims has the industry’s smallest pixels. The ISOCELL JN1 is a 50-megapixel sensor with a 1/2.76-inch format, which means its pixels are only 0.64 millimeters in size. In comparison, Samsung set records in 2019 with the ISOCELL Slim GH1, a slightly larger 50-megapixel sensor with 0.7m pixels.
The new sensor has the smallest pixel size of any 50MP smartphone sensor ever made, and it’s designed to reduce the size of those massive camera bumps that are so popular these days on phones. ISOCELL 2.0, Smart ISO, and Double Super PDAF are among the company’s latest camera technology.
The sensor’s small size will be ideal for multi-camera setups, allowing smartphone designers to use it for front-facing, ultra-wide, telephoto, or conventional cameras, depending on the setup and resolution needed. Samsung also stated that camera module thicknesses will be reduced by about 10%.
Why is Samsung doing this when conventional camera thinking states that fewer pixels result in poorer image quality and more noise? It’s about form factor flexibility, according to the brand. Because of the sensor’s lower size, it can be utilized in ultrawide or telephoto camera modules, which can be difficult to build when space is limited, or to minimize the height of the primary camera bump.
Tiny pixels have the disadvantage of being unable to gather as much light as larger pixels. As a result, the sensor merges four pixels into one for low-light shooting, boosting light four times while lowering the sensor resolution to 12.5 megapixels. Furthermore, it employs Samsung’s innovative ISOCELL 2.0 technology, which replaces metal barriers between color filters with a material that minimizes light loss by up to 16 percent while increasing sensitivity.
Samsung claims that it has improved light sensitivity by 16 percent and that it can take 12.5MP images using 4-in-1 pixel binning (resulting in 1.28m pixels). The sensor can record brighter photos even in low-light circumstances thanks to increased light sensitivity and pixel binning.
The new sensor contains a Double Super PDAF mechanism, which uses twice the density of pixels in the Super PDAF system for phase detection autofocus. Even with roughly 60% less ambient light, it can accurately focus on subjects. The ISOCELL JN1 can shoot 4K films at 60 frames per second and 1080p slow-motion videos at 240 frames per second.
By no means is it a flagship camera sensor. It is smaller than the standard 48MP ISOCELL camera sensors found in mid-range smartphones, such as the ISOCELL GM1 or GM2. The sensor will most likely be found in entry-level and mid-range smartphones, as well as in high-end phones as a front-facing camera.
Samsung Electronics’ Executive Vice President (Sensor Business), Duckhyun Chang, stated:
“Samsung’s advanced pixel technologies have once again pushed boundaries with the utmost precision to develop an image sensor with the industry’s smallest pixel size, yet with powerful performance. The new ISOCELL JN1 at 0.64μm will be able to equip tomorrow’s sleekest smartphones with ultra-high resolution mobile photographs. As we drive our commitment to innovation in pixel technologies, we will continue to bring a wide range of mobile image sensor offerings to the market.”
Surprisingly, Samsung held a full-fledged live-streamed launch event for this sensor, which you can view here:
The JN1 is presently in mass production, according to Samsung, therefore it will most likely be in smartphones soon.
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