Samsung Announces Improved, Second-Gen 200MP Camera

Samsung has launched its second 200MP camera even as the first one still awaits to find its way into phones. The new sensor is called ISOCELL HP3, which we have been hearing about for some time now. It differs from the original solution, i.e. ISOCELL HP1, in multiple ways.

For starters, the ISOCELL HP3 is smaller than the first-gen 200MP camera from Samsung. Its 200 million pixels have a footprint of 0.56-micrometer (μm) each, down from 0.64μm. The company says this is the industry’s smallest pixel size yet.

For Samsung, this allowed the company to pack all pixels in a 1/1.4-inch optical format, which is over 12 percent smaller than the 1/1.22-inch diameter of the original sensor. For device manufacturers, it will result in around a 20 percent reduction in the surface area covered by the camera.

The ISOCELL HP1 can capture 16,384 x 12,288 resolution images with the full 200 million pixels. While Samsung doesn’t specify that for the ISOCELL HP3, it does tell that the new solution can also employ 2×2 or 4×4 pixel binning (merges four or 16 neighboring pixels) to convert into a 1.12μm 50MP sensor or 2.24μm 12.5MP sensor, respectively, in dark environments. Bigger pixels allow the sensor to absorb more light for brighter images.

The new 200MP camera supports staggered HDR along with Smart-ISO Pro from a wider dynamic range. Samsung says it can switch between the two solutions depending on the environment to always produce high-quality HDR images.

Like the first-gen solution, the ISOCELL HP3 can also record 8K videos at 30fps (frames per second) and 4K videos at 120fps. But instead of Double Super PD (phase detection) autofocus technology, it employs the Super QPD auto-focusing solution. Samsung says this allows for more accurate and quicker autofocus. Another area where the new camera outperforms its predecessor is color depth. It supports 14-bit color depth for over four trillion colors, 64 times higher than the ISOCELL HP1’s 68 billion colors (12-bit).

Samsung says it is currently sampling the ISOCELL HP3. It plans to begin the mass production this year but doesn’t provide a timeframe.

Samsung could use this 200MP camera on the Galaxy S23 series

As said earlier, no smartphone currently features a 200MP camera. OEMs likely feel such high-resolution sensors are overkill for smartphones because they end up making the pixels smaller. Perhaps they are not willing to take the first plunge. But someone has to do it and that could be Motorola. The Lenovo-owned company is all but confirmed to debut the ISOCELL HP1 next month.

The ISOCELL HP3, meanwhile, could debut on a Samsung phone. Rumors have it that the Galaxy S23 series next year could bring the new 200MP camera to the market. Perhaps only the Galaxy S23 Ultra will feature it. If these rumors are true, then we should be hearing more about this in the coming months. We will keep you updated.


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