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Samsung is working on a 600MP camera sensor to rival the human eye

On: April 21, 2020

Over the last few years, 48MP and 64MP camera sensors have become commonplace on smartphones. Last year, Samsung announced the world’s first 108MP camera sensor, the ISOCELL Bright HMX. This sensor has already been used on various flagships launched over the last few months. You might think Samsung is done with increasing the megapixel count on its camera sensors, but the company has no plans of slowing down. In an editorial published on Samsung’s website, Yongin Park, who heads the Sensor Business Team, says the compnay is working on developing a 600MP image sensor that could capture more detail than the human eye.

Samsung is working on a 600MP camera sensor

Samsung would need to shrink the pixel size further for its 600MP sensor

In the article, Park says that the human eye matches a resolution of around 500MP. Samsung is aiming to create a 600MP sensor, for which the use cases would go beyond smartphones, and apply to other fields such as autonomous vehicles, drones and IoT. In order to create a sensor with a 600MP resolution, Samsung would need to reduce the pixel size further (it already uses tiny 0.8μm  pixels for its 108MP sensor), so that the resulting sensor isn’t massive. While this high resolution sensor is currently under development, we don’t expect it to be seen on a commercial smartphone anytime soon.

Samsung’s Nonacell technology

Samsung announced the first 64MP sensor in May 2019, and followed with its 108MP sensor six months later. The ISOCELL Bright HMX uses ‘Nonacell technology,’ which as per Samsung, significantly increases the amount of light that pixels can absorb. Unlike Tetracell technology which features a 2 x 2 array, Nonacell technology uses a 3 x 3 pixel structure. This allows nine 0.8μm pixels to function as a single 2.4-μm pixel, which contributes to better detail and improved low light performance.

While the 600MP sensor might take a few years to make an appearance, Samsung is reportedly already working on a 150MP camera sensor, also based on the Nonacell tech. The sensor is rumoured to make its first appearance on a Xiaomi flagship in Q4 this year, followed by OPPO and Vivo flagships in Q1 of 2021. We’ve also heard reports of a phone with a 192MP sensor launching soon, but there’s no information on the sensor manufacturer or the smartphone OEM. One thing’s for sure, the high-resolution smartphone camera sensor is here to stay for the forseeable future.

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Ketaki Bhojnagarwala

Ketaki has over 10 years experience writing on tech, having worked at the Hindu Business Line and 91mobiles earlier. When she's not editing copies or reviewing the latest gadgets, she spends her time binge-watching Netflix and reading fantasy fiction.