Industry News: Samsung Set To Develop A 600MP Sensor

600mp Sensor

Who doesn’t need a 600MP sensor? Samsung will make one.

How big is this sensor? Not the size of a smartphone sensor because that would mean pixel almost as small as atoms. However, Samsung knows how to make image sensors. And no, Canon will not release a mirrorless camera with a 600MP sensor with 15 axis IBIS and 4 card slots anytime soon.

More about the 600MP sensor in the video and press text below.

Says Samsung:

Taking pictures or videos throughout the day has become part of our normal lifestyles and no longer done just to capture special events. Whip out your mobile camera to immortalize a delectable-looking meal, to record your latest dance moves, or even just when you’re having a good hair day, and you’re ready to share your images with friends right away. These seamless experiences have become possible thanks to remarkable advancements in recent mobile photography, and at the very heart of this revolution is the mobile chips that transform light into digital data – image sensors.

The image sensors we ourselves perceive the world through – our eyes – are said to match a resolution of around 500 megapixels (Mp). Compared to most DSLR cameras today that offer 40Mp resolution and flagship smartphones with 12Mp, we as an industry still have a long way to go to be able to match human perception capabilities.

Simply putting as many pixels as possible together into a sensor might seem like the easy fix, but this would result in a massive image sensor that takes over the entirety of a device. In order to fit millions of pixels in today’s smartphones that feature other cutting-edge specs like high screen-to-body ratios and slim designs, pixels inevitably have to shrink so that sensors can be as compact as possible.

On the flip side, smaller pixels can result in fuzzy or dull pictures, due to the smaller area that each pixel receives light information from. The impasse between the number of pixels a sensor has and pixels’ sizes has become a balancing act that requires solid technological prowess.

Cutting-Edge Pixel Technologies

Drawing from the technology leadership and experience our memory business possesses, Samsung has been managing to expertly navigate this balance in our image sensors. In May 2019, we were able to announce the industry’s first 64Mp sensor, and just six months later, brought 108Mp sensors to the market.

For our latest 108Mp image sensor, the ISOCELL Bright HM1, we implemented our proprietary ‘Nonacell technology,’ which dramatically increases the amount of light absorption pixels are capable of. Compared to previous Tetracell technology which features a 2×2 array, the 3×3 pixel structure of Nonacell technology allows, for instance, nine 0.8μm pixels to function as one 2.4-μm pixel. This also mitigates the issue raised by low-light settings where light information is often scarce.

In 2019, Samsung was also the first to introduce image sensors based on 0.7μm pixels. The industry had considered 0.8μm as the smallest possible size pixels could be reduced to, but to our engineers, ‘technological limitations’ are just another challenge that motivates their innovation.

Sensors that Go Beyond Our Senses

Most cameras today can only take pictures that are visible to the human eye at wavelengths between 450 and 750 nanometers (nm). Sensors able to detect light wavelengths outside of that range are hard to come by, but their use can benefit a wide range of areas. For example, image sensors equipped for ultraviolet light perception can be used for diagnosing skin cancer by capturing pictures to showcase healthy cells and cancerous cells in different colors. Infrared image sensors can also be harnessed for more efficient quality control in agriculture and other industries. Somewhere in the future, we might even be able to have sensors that can see microbes not visible to the naked eye.

Not only are we developing image sensors, but we are also looking into other types of sensors that can register smells or tastes. Sensors that even go beyond human senses will soon become an integral part of our daily lives, and we are excited by the potential such sensors have to make the invisible visible and help people by going beyond what our own senses are capable of.

Aiming for 600Mp for All

To date, the major applications for image sensors have been in the smartphones field, but this is expected to expand soon into other rapidly-emerging fields such as autonomous vehicles, IoT and drones. Samsung is proud to have been leading the small-pixel, high-resolution sensor trend that will continue through 2020 and beyond, and is prepared to ride the next wave of technological innovation with a comprehensive product portfolio that addresses the diverse needs of device manufacturers. Through relentless innovation, we are determined to open up endless possibilities in pixel technologies that might even deliver image sensors that can capture more detail than the human eye.

[via Mirrorless Rumors]

Industry News: Samsung Announces 64MP Smartphons Sensor With 21fps

Samsung

The industry is scared by the increasing popularity of smartphones, and for a good reason. The technology evolves at a fast pace.

Now Samsung announced a new, 64MP sensor for smartphones doing 21fps. You can already get smartphones with sensors around 40MP (as the excellent Huawei P30 Pro, which seems to be gold standard for smartphone photography for the time being), and it seems the next generation of smartphones might raise the resolution to 64MP. As crazy as it sounds (at least to me) this is the future, along with computational photography algorithms getting always better. Why should people buy a dedicated camera when

Samsung press release:

Samsung Electronics, a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today introduced two new 0.8-micrometer (μm) pixel image sensors – the 64-megapixel (Mp) Samsung ISOCELL Bright GW1 and 48Mp ISOCELL Bright GM2. With the addition, Samsung expands its 0.8μm image sensor lineup, the smallest pixel size currently available in the market, from existing 20Mp to ultra-high 64Mp resolutions.

“Over the past few years, mobile phone cameras have become the main instrument for recording and sharing our everyday moments,” said Yongin Park, executive vice president of sensor business at Samsung Electronics. “With more pixels and advanced pixel technologies, Samsung ISOCELL Bright GW1 and GM2 will bring a new level of photography to today’s sleekest mobile devices that will enhance and help change the way we record our daily lives.”

ISOCELL Bright GW1 is a 64Mp image sensor that features the highest resolution in Samsung’s 0.8μm-pixel image sensor lineup. With pixel-merging Tetracell technology** and remosaic algorithm***, GW1 can produce bright 16Mp images in low-light environments and highly-detailed 64Mp shots in brighter settings. To take pictures resembling the way the human eye perceives its surroundings in a mixed light environment, GW1 supports real-time high dynamic range (HDR) of up to 100-decibels (dB) that provides richer hues. In comparison, the dynamic range of a conventional image sensor is at around 60dB, while that of the human eye is typically considered to be around 120dB.

GW1 is equipped with a Dual Conversion Gain (DCG) that converts the received light into an electric signal according to the illumination of the environment. This allows the sensor to optimize its full well capacity (FWC), utilizing the collected light more efficiently especially in bright environments. Sharper results can be delivered through Super PD, a high-performance phase detection auto-focus technology, and full HD recording at 480 frames-per-second (fps) is supported for smooth cinematic slow motion videos.

ISOCELL Bright GM2 is a 48Mp image sensor that also adopts Tetracell technology in low-light environments and a remosaic algorithm in well-lit settings, bringing highly-detailed pictures with natural and vivid colors. GM2, like GW1, adopts DCG as well for added performance and Super PD for fast autofocus.

Samsung ISOCELL Bright GW1 and GM2 are currently sampling and are expected to be in mass production in the second half of this year.

[via Image Sensors World]

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge use Dual Pixel Auto-Focus technology (is this Canon’s tech?)

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung announced their new Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The interesting point: Samsung touts both smartphones to have DUal Pixel Auto-Focus (DPAF) on board. DPAF is a technology developed by Canon and introduced first on the Canon EOS 70D in 2013.

Now, while Samsung doesn’t mention Canon anywhere, there are some statements that indirectly point to Canon. Like the following sentence taken from Samsung’s Galaxy S7 product page (emphasis mine):

Dual Pixel technology, which is utilized in selective, high-end DSLR camera models, as well as those of the Galaxy S7, sends light from the lens to two image sensors separately to adjust the focus, much in the same way that the human eye does.

Did Canon license their DPAF technology to Samsung? Or did Canon build the imaging sensor found in the Galaxy S7? I couldn’t find any pertinent information on the web. However, I guess it is an almost safe bet to say that Canon is in some way involved in the imaging sensor of the Galaxy S7.

Look how Samsung presents Dual Pixel AF:

Samsung Galaxy S7

That’s pretty similar to how Canon presents DPAF.

Below are Samsung’s Galaxy S7 introduction video as well as a video about Samsung’s implementation of DPAF.