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  • Galaxy S7 ISOCELL vs Sony IMX260 sensors comparison: low-light performance

Galaxy S7 ISOCELL vs Sony IMX260 sensors comparison: low-light performance

Samsung ISOCELL
Sony IMX260
Samsung ISOCELL Sony IMX260

Galaxy S7 sample taken with Samsung ISOCELL and Sony IMX260 sensors

The new 12 MP camera unit that can be found in the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge uses two sensor models - either Samsung's own S5K2L1 ISOCELL unit, or a piece by Sony, marked as IMX260. Sony, as the world's largest phone camera sensor maker, often does custom orders for huge clients like Apple or Samsung, and then the manufacturers tack on optics and image processing of their own, for a completely individualized experience. You can check the sensor maker in your particular phone with AIDA64 or another system info app from the Play Store.

This time around, Samsung uses a camera with 1/2.5" sensor size, largish 1.4-micron pixels, and wide f/1.7 aperture, allowing the company to boast that this setup can collect 95% more light than those in the Galaxy S6. Moreover, Samsung has embedded a Dual Pixel system in the sensors for incredibly fast focusing times, too, so those are definitely brand new custom-made unit.

Are there any differences in photo quality from a Galaxy S7 with the Sony or Samsung pieces, though? Well, we already posted one comparison in daylight, so you be the judge, but now someone has taken two S7 units that have the different camera sensors in them, and did a direct comparison in low light scenarios. There are indeed subtle deviations in detail, color saturation and contrast, and most of those are slightly in favor of the Samsung sensor, it seems, so you should stop complaining if you have that one in your phone, but overall the image quality is very, very similar, as it should be. On the other hand, the shots with Samsung's sensor seemingly use less compression, as they are typically with the large file size of the two samples.

Be patient, as these are the full-size unretouched photos straight outta S7, so they might take some time to load. Alternatively, you can use our direct comparison tool for a quick overview of a few sample shots below.


Samsung ISOCELL
Sony IMX260
Samsung ISOCELL Sony IMX260
Samsung ISOCELL
Sony IMX260
Samsung ISOCELL Sony IMX260
source: NaimC (XDA-Devs)

58 Comments
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posted on 18 Mar 2016, 05:28 26

1. johanbiff (Posts: 387; Member since: 31 Mar 2015)


I like the britecell more.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 05:42 11

11. ph00ny (Posts: 1131; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Same here. Too much yellow tint in sony sensor images

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 06:04 7

21. vincelongman (Posts: 3979; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


BTW its an ISOCELL, not a BRITECELL

See the official Samsung announcement
https://news.samsung.com/global/samsung-elevates-mobile-phone-picture-quality-with-dual-pixel-technology-in-its-newest-image-sensor

Samsung's BRITECELL sensors haven't been used yet AFAIK
BRITECELL should bring a more sensitive RWB filter (vs the usual Bayer filter/RGB filter)
http://image-sensors-world.blogspot.com/2015/11/samsung-updates-on-image-sensor.html

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 12:57

50. j2001m (Posts: 2758; Member since: 28 Apr 2014)


All means nothing as dxomark as made it there best cam it's tested anyways
http://www.dxomark.com/Mobiles/Samsung-Galaxy-S7-Edge-Mobile-Review-A-new-champion

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 16:19

53. vincelongman (Posts: 3979; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


Just correcting a mistake in this article (and many other articles on other sites/forums too)

Also means Samsung have another ace up their sleeve for the Note 6 or S8

posted on 20 Mar 2016, 18:37

57. Chuck007 (Posts: 1009; Member since: 02 Mar 2014)


What are the chances of them saving BRITECELL for something like the S8?

posted on 21 Mar 2016, 00:15

58. vincelongman (Posts: 3979; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


IMO very very high chance for the S8
IMO its 60:40 (yes:no) for the Note 6

There's also already phone with a similar RWB camera
Ironically its the Gionee S8
http://www.gsmarena.com/gionee_s8_mwc_2016-review-1395.php

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 10:31 1

46. zeeBomb (Posts: 1733; Member since: 14 Aug 2014)


The isocell wins for me like it did for the S6. Better color reproduction, better white balance and in low light shots the yellow tint from the IMX260 is GONE with the isocell. Props to sammy to making better innovation

posted on 19 Mar 2016, 11:37

56. Hallyu (Posts: 311; Member since: 21 Jul 2015)


This will completely shut Sony fanboys up. LOL
Thea reason why Samsung uses variant sensor just because there's supply shortage with ISOCELL sensor or else there's no way Samsung orders that lame Sony sensor. I can't wait till BRITECELL sensor is ready, and I'll laugh at Sony ugly face again.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 05:29 8

2. surethom (Posts: 589; Member since: 04 Mar 2009)


Very nice Samsung competing with Sony sensor, in fact I think the Samsung has slightly better colour, but that is probably software related.

The main Problem With Sony as a company with there phones & even more with there compact cameras, is they always OVER compress compared to other companies that uses there Fantastic sensors.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 05:38 6

8. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


IMX260 is actually a Samsung-designed sensor fabbed by Sony under Samsung's command.

It isn't a native Sony sensor like the IMX230!

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 05:44 2

12. Felix_Gatto (Posts: 894; Member since: 03 Jul 2013)


And how did you know that?

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 06:02

19. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


How did I know that? Google it.

Heck, Apple's iSight sensor is actually a custom Sony-fabbed sensor for Apple.

Just like how the Apple AX series of chipsets are a Samsung/TSMC fabbed chipset under Apple's design and command for it's iPhones.

Google it, man.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 06:12 6

24. Felix_Gatto (Posts: 894; Member since: 03 Jul 2013)


l already googled it, and still can't find it. Besides why does Samsung want Sony to make their own-designed sensor if they can make it by themselves.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 07:20

36. kabiluddin (Posts: 171; Member since: 28 Feb 2015)


He probably pick it up from here, most probably from the tyrionTheWise's comment. You wouldn't find it anywhere in the Internet that Apple or Samsung design their own camera sensor and Sony just manufacturer it. If Samsung really did design their own sensor and Sony just fabbed the sensor for them then Samsung wouldn't let Sony call it IMX***. They would have call it S*K*** , as with all Samsung design sensor. Apple custom design their own SoC but use various semiconductor to manufacturer it but always call the SoC "A" series regardless of which company fabbed it for them. All you need to do it look at the sensor/SoC's branding to easily determine which company design the it.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 09:33 2

44. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


@Felix_Gatto

Samsung is not yet able to manufacture enough sensors to meet the quantity for it's S7 and S7 Edge flagships.

Besides, the IMX260 also has Sony's tech which Samsung wants to benefit from!

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 06:19 4

25. Felix_Gatto (Posts: 894; Member since: 03 Jul 2013)


Here's the best full explanation about IMX260 l can find:

http://www.chipworks.com/about-chipworks/overview/blog/samsung-galaxy-s7-edge-teardown.

Read it, and you'll understand.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 07:37 1

39. marorun (Posts: 2896; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)


you are wrong all Sony sensor using Sony name shame are based on Sony tech but following specific features asked by clients.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 05:57 1

17. stanislav (Posts: 133; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)


The only thing that samsung comanded was the size

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 06:09

22. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


Not just the size.

IMX260 was built by both Samsung and Sony.
It's not 100% Samsung nor a 100% Sony sensor.

Period.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 07:05 1

35. Finalflash (Posts: 2725; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)


It's a custom job specified by Samsung. They are different sensors designed by different companies. That is why they are slightly different in their qualities. A fabrication based on a single design would usually come out exactly the same.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 06:04 2

20. refillable (Posts: 1038; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)


Source.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 05:30 8

3. tyrionTheWise (unregistered)


It's not BRITECELL. Just because Samsung has Britecell technology doesn't mean the S7 has one. It's very much still ISOCELL.

Here's the link:
http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_announces_own_dualpixel_12mp_sensor-blog-17132.php

When BRITECELL comes, there will be a notable change in the images.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 05:36 1

7. Ted_Clubberlang (Posts: 8; Member since: 14 Mar 2016)


Totally off-topic: - I can't help but, whenever I read your comments, I read it in Tyrion's voice inside my head. Just unavoidable!

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 05:40 1

10. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


Yeah, the Lannister!

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 05:46

14. tyrionTheWise (unregistered)


You're not the first one to say this.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 05:49

15. S-R-K (banned) (Posts: 304; Member since: 15 Mar 2016)


Why change it to the wise instead of Lannister?

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 05:57

18. Felix_Gatto (Posts: 894; Member since: 03 Jul 2013)


You're right Tyrion.

Here's more proof:
http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_britecell_camera_detailed_white_pixels_replace_green_ones-news-15073.php

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 05:32 1

4. der_damo (Posts: 159; Member since: 16 Sep 2014)


the britecell looks more naturall while the sony-one has more "software'ish added light to make it brighter" - or is it just me?

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 05:32 2

5. lalalaman (Posts: 627; Member since: 19 Aug 2013)


sony performing great as always

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 05:36

6. S-R-K (banned) (Posts: 304; Member since: 15 Mar 2016)


And has a wider angle view.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 05:38

9. xperiaZlover (Posts: 180; Member since: 15 Nov 2015)


well i feel both sensors show almost similar detail.but colors during very low light seem different.during day time both sensors have almost similar quality.

The very low light 2nd image is very different.the imx and isocell show different colors.
Well don't know which one is more color accurate anyway!!1

:)
I am a sony fanboy
samsung has done a great job optimizing the isocell with the imx..

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 05:45 5

13. tyrionTheWise (unregistered)


It's more likely a firmware thing. The guy who posted the pics says the ISOCELL is more accurate in low-light, but it doesn't matter much as it can be done with a small software patch.

Either way, you can easily fix it with white balance slider in manual mode.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 05:52

16. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


"The very lowling 2nd image is very different.the imx and isocell show different colours. Well don't know which one is more colour accurate anyway!!"

I think you really can't which one is more colour accurate (though it's got to do with the software) without seeing the live subject in person!

I mean, being at the scene where those photos were taken.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 06:10 3

23. Kumar123 (Posts: 445; Member since: 15 Jan 2015)


Samsung sucks. They intentionally making the pic ( taken from Sony sensor ) worst in the post processing to advertise how "good" their own sensor is. A cheap company will always stick to cheap tactics.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 06:19 16

26. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


You can't post something without bashing Samsung, can you?

Yeah, you hate Samsung. We get it.

Just shut up, already.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 06:26 11

28. Kumar123 (Posts: 445; Member since: 15 Jan 2015)


Not taking order from the jobless loser who post 322 comments in just 6 days.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 06:47 11

31. phonearenarocks (Posts: 208; Member since: 26 Mar 2015)


All hail the ever genius Kumar, making comments that are a disgrace.

Now look at my comment count and realize that I make comments only when necessary and ur mindset needs a change.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 06:52 3

32. Kumar123 (Posts: 445; Member since: 15 Jan 2015)


Thank you for posting such a nice and graceful comment. Your support is always appreciated. LOL.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 06:59 5

34. refillable (Posts: 1038; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)


I don't think it's ever necessary to answer an idiot who fabricated facts. Let his own stupidity embarrass himself.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 06:54 1

33. S-R-K (banned) (Posts: 304; Member since: 15 Mar 2016)


He's not jobless, but a your kid. That's coming from IFanatic?

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 08:11 1

41. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


@Kumar123

My job is actually based on the internet. That's why I am online everyday 24/7.

Your obssesed in bashing Samsung and spewing hate out of your ass.

Get a life, dude.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 06:28 1

30. refillable (Posts: 1038; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)


Probably people will know what an imbecile he is when other phones with IMX260 sensors' photos are not as well processed.

Of course, stupid people will use ad hominem again and again, because they have no clue.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 07:22 2

37. Ordinary (Posts: 2140; Member since: 23 Apr 2015)


Fill this up:
http://2new3.fjcdn.com/pictures/Butt+hurt+form_135a49_5751639.jpg

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 13:19

51. ph00ny (Posts: 1131; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Why do you bother posting in samsung articles? Is there not enough HTC articles to comment on?

Since you're the resident expert, you think it's a good idea to put in a noticeably "inferior" product from a business perspective? specially a flagship product? There goes the user experience and hopes of selling future devices

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 15:25

52. Adreno (banned) (Posts: 755; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


Don't mind Kumar.

He's a cluless hater. He has no idea on how business works.

If Samsung did what he claims, then it will harm Samsung's sales and reputation, not Sony.

And Samsung doesn't do that. I mean, can someone fight against his own self?

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 06:22

27. xondk (Posts: 1138; Member since: 25 Mar 2014)


May difference seems to be the colour on samsung being warm and sony being neutral/cold.
Many prefer warm pictures, but neutral/cold is generally more colour correct, but yeah only a slight difference.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 06:26

29. ibend (Posts: 3192; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)


thats some old news.. I've read it last week (from the link provided on someone's comment)

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 07:32

38. jellmoo (Posts: 1462; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)


I'm impressed at how similar the results are. I *might* have a small preference for the colours being shown in the Samsung shots, but it's really, really minor.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 07:42

40. tokuzumi (Posts: 880; Member since: 27 Aug 2009)


The S7 has a slight edge in photo quality, compared to the Sony. Both take excellent pictures, and the differences are only noticable when comparing the photos side by side.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 08:33

42. Shocky (Posts: 2100; Member since: 16 May 2012)


Samsung sensor looks better to me.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 09:16 1

43. Trakker (Posts: 283; Member since: 11 Feb 2016)


I prefer the extra crispness from the Sony sensor.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 10:27

45. Trex95 (Posts: 877; Member since: 03 Mar 2013)


Both yellowish. Bought S7 use it for 3 days and noticed that screen has some pinkish Amoled issue still and camera still gives that yellowish cast.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 10:55

47. Arch_Fiend (Posts: 1940; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)


Both are good, some shots the ISOCELL looked better and some the Sony IMX260 looked better.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 11:00

48. Sondae (Posts: 277; Member since: 02 Jan 2013)


Both are good but Sony is yellowish. Still all are same.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 12:47

49. kakudiego (Posts: 10; Member since: 21 May 2014)


really? why its so hard to take the same photo in same position???

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 18:11

54. combatmedic870 (Posts: 548; Member since: 02 Sep 2015)


S7 just took top spot in dxo.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 22:56

55. mixedfish (Posts: 1144; Member since: 17 Nov 2013)


These tests mean absolutely nothing, what's the shutter speed, ISO etc info? All you're testing by taking two similar photos into auto mode is whether the automatic software can take the same photo (clearly not).

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