Recently, there has been a trend in the Android smartphone industry to use camera sensors with higher megapixel counts. 108MP is the cap for smartphone sensors for now but it may not be the case for long. Multiple leaks have suggested that Samsung is already working on a 200MP sensor and the latest one claims that Xiaomi will be the first company to use it on a smartphone.
Samsung 200MP smartphone camera sensor
Samsung is very ambitious when it comes to smartphone sensors. It was the first manufacturer to announce a 108MP sensor for smartphones. The ISOCELL HMX was announced back in 2019 and Xiaomi’s Mi Note 10 was the first phone to adopt this sensor. Samsung is even “rivaling the human eye” by working on a 600MP sensor. However, the 600MP dream seems more futuristic than a reality anytime soon. As such, 200MP looks to be the next big step for smartphone camera sensors.
Ice Universe, who is mostly known for Samsung leaks, was the first to talk about the 200MP sensor. Back in January, he tweeted that Samsung will be launching a bunch of innovative ISOCELL sensors this year including a 200MP sensor. However, he did not provide any information about the sensor itself.
Samsung ISOCELL will launch many innovative sensors in 2021.
200MP is coming soon.
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) January 9, 2021
Reports have since surfaced indicating that the upcoming 200MP ISOCELL sensor from Samsung will be 1/1.37” in size. It will have individual pixels that will measure 0.64µm. The number is huge but we have seen higher numbers before. Take the ISOCELL GN2 sensor for reference. It features 1.4µm pixels which ultimately results in a 2.8µm pixel because of the 4-in-1 pixel binning.
Another leakster who goes by Digital Chat Station on Weibo has suggested that Xiaomi will be the first to implement the upcoming 200MP smartphone sensor from Samsung in its smartphones.
Merits & demerits of higher MP count
Having a higher megapixel count on camera means smartphones will have better digital zoom capability. This should also improve the video recording capabilities of the phone, provided that there is enough processing power.
Though high-end processors of today can theoretically handle a 200MP sensor, their video recording capabilities have been maxed at 8K 30fps. So, it is not entirely clear what advantages will the 200MP sensor bring in addition to having sharper and larger images.
On the other hand, there are other challenges manufacturers have to face when packing in more pixels in a sensor. Since the space is limited in a smartphone, pixel size needs to be reduced in order to fit in more pixels, or else it will result in a huge camera bump. Take the Mi 11 Ultra as a reference which packs the biggest sensor in the ISOCELL lineup. Generally, smaller pixels capture less light and it results in a higher signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) which is a problem when trying to shoot in a poorly lit environment.
- Check out our camera comparison between S21 Ultra and iPhone 12 Pro Max.