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

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.


source: NaimC (XDA-Devs)

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Galaxy S7
  • Display 5.1" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Quad-core, 2200 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(28h 3G talk time)

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58 Comments

1. johanbiff

Posts: 415; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

I like the britecell more.

11. ph00ny

Posts: 2014; Member since: May 26, 2011

Same here. Too much yellow tint in sony sensor images

21. vincelongman

Posts: 5653; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

BTW its an ISOCELL, not a BRITECELL See the official Samsung announcementhttps://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

50. j2001m

Posts: 3061; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

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

53. vincelongman

Posts: 5653; Member since: Feb 10, 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

57. Chuck007

Posts: 1410; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

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

58. vincelongman

Posts: 5653; Member since: Feb 10, 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 S8http://www.gsmarena.com/gionee_s8_mwc_2016-review-1395.php

46. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 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

56. Hallyu

Posts: 790; Member since: Jul 21, 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.

2. surethom

Posts: 1634; Member since: Mar 04, 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.

8. Adreno

Posts: 755; Member since: Mar 12, 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!

12. Felix_Gatto

Posts: 942; Member since: Jul 03, 2013

And how did you know that?

19. Adreno

Posts: 755; Member since: Mar 12, 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.

24. Felix_Gatto

Posts: 942; Member since: Jul 03, 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.

36. kabiluddin

Posts: 274; Member since: Feb 28, 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.

44. Adreno

Posts: 755; Member since: Mar 12, 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!

25. Felix_Gatto

Posts: 942; Member since: Jul 03, 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.

39. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

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

17. stanislav

Posts: 136; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

The only thing that samsung comanded was the size

22. Adreno

Posts: 755; Member since: Mar 12, 2016

Not just the size. IMX260 was built by both Samsung and Sony. It's not 100% Samsung nor a 100% Sony sensor. Period.

35. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 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.

20. refillable

Posts: 1071; Member since: Mar 10, 2014

Source.

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.

7. Ted_Clubberlang

Posts: 8; Member since: Mar 14, 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!

10. Adreno

Posts: 755; Member since: Mar 12, 2016

Yeah, the Lannister!

14. tyrionTheWise unregistered

You're not the first one to say this.

15. S-R-K

Posts: 304; Member since: Mar 15, 2016

Why change it to the wise instead of Lannister?

18. Felix_Gatto

Posts: 942; Member since: Jul 03, 2013

4. der_damo

Posts: 213; Member since: Sep 16, 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?

5. lalalaman

Posts: 638; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

sony performing great as always

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