Samsung Shares Details on its New 200MP Smartphone Sensor

Samsung announced the first-even 200-megapixel HP1 smartphone sensor in early September but has followed up that announcement with more detailed information that touts its benefits, including low light performance and incredible detail.

Samsung explains that the benefit of 200-megapixels isn’t just that photos are larger, but that detail can be preserved even after they have been digitally zoomed or cropped. Photos taken at maximum size have an effective resolution of 16,384 x 12,288 pixels and can be captured at a rate of up to 7.5 per second. At a compressed 50-megapixel resolution, the sensor can shoot up to 30 frames per second, and up to 120 frames per second at 12.5-megapixels.

Samsung says that the 200 million pixels on the HP1 sensor are combined in a range of ways according to the shooting environment. During photos taken during the day or in bright light, the sensor uses all of its pixels to generate high-resolution, detailed images.

At night, the sensor changes. It is the first to support 4×4 pixel binning in what Samsung calls its ChameleonCell technology for superior low-light performance. The sensor combines up to 16 pixels into one big pixel to allow it to capture more light and therefore brighten its results.

Smart-ISO allows the ISOCELL HP1 to adapt to the lighting conditions by selectively choose High or Low ISO mode. In dim lighting, High ISO mode converts light to a signal with higher conversion gain to express details in shadows. Multisampling then reduces noise by averaging multiple frames into one.

Additionally, Samsung says that Smart-ISO Pro delivers striking images with vivid, 12-bit color and fewer motion artifacts. It works by creating two simultaneous readouts in High and Low ISO mode, then merging them together into one image.

Staggered HDR captures the scene line by line at three different exposures—long, medium, and short—to accurately expose shadows and highlights. The three exposures are then merged into one image with high dynamic range.

For autofocus, the HP1 uses what Samsung calls Double Super PD, a phase-detection autofocus system that it says enables faster, more accurate focus with the use of micro-lenses and dedicated autofocus pixels. Each micro-lens covers two autofocus pixels, comparing the left and right phases to focus the image.

Samsung has not said when to expect to the HP1 in a finished device, but its safe to assume it will make an appearance sooner rather than later.