Samsung Galaxy S5 camera under the microscope: in-house Samsung sensors make fast auto-focus magic possible

After years of reliance on Sony camera image sensors in its flagships, this year, Samsung is finally ready to ship the Galaxy S5 with its own, in-house ISOCELL sensor that the company claims could be the next key breakthrough for mobile cameras after the arrival of backside-illuminated (BSI) sensors.

BSI camera sensors improved the sensitivity of the sensor hugely, paving the way for higher-resolution (most notably, 13-megapixel) mobile cameras with smaller, 1.1µm pixels. Now, ISOCELL technology builds up on BSI, as it claims to bring another leap in light sensitivity, while reducing noise, and capturing a higher dynamic range.

Chipworks put the 16-megapixel main and the 2-megapixel secondary camera sensor of the Galaxy S5 under the microscope to show what secrets ISOCELL hides, and the images it captured verify that we indeed have Samsung-made camera sensor in the S5.

The main, 16-megapixel camera sensor carries the model name ‘S5K2P2XX’ and features 1.12µm sized pixels. The front-facing 2MP camera has the ‘S5K8B1YX03’ model name, and it also comes with 1.12µm pixel pitch. Chipworks has already showed us a vertical X-ray image of an ISOCELL sensor showing how Samsung is the first to combine advanced features like front deep trench isolation (F-DTI) and Vertical Transfer Gate (VTG) in a mobile camera sensor.

What’s particularly interesting, though, is that Samsung is also one of the first companies to implement phase detection auto-focus pixels that allow the AF mechanism to lock focus in just 0.3 seconds. Indeed, pairs of phase detection pixels are positioned almost entirely throughout the sensor pixel array. 

This is indeed an impressive technological breakthrough - Samsung is the first company to implement phase detection on a 1.1µm pixel array, and moreover - on a BSI sensor. Phase detection pixels are also half-masked, which suggests that Samsung is using a back aperture grid, another first for the company. You can see the images of the brand new Galaxy S5 sensors up-close in personal in the gallery below. Let us know what you think about the Galaxy S5 camera, and stay tuned for our forthcoming full-on Samsung Galaxy S5 review!

source: Chipworks

Related phones

Galaxy S5
  • Display 5.1 inches
    1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP (Single camera)
    2.1 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, 2GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 2800 mAh
  • OS Android 6.0 Marshmallow
    Samsung TouchWiz UI



44. Zack_2014

Posts: 677; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

The Galaxy S4 trumps the G2 anyday in day light and brighter conditions.. It has been proven that the GS4's camera still lives up to today's smartphone standards and in no means inferior. Talking about dimmer conditions, the G2 may provide a brighter image overall but the S4 isnt behind, it takes comparable pictures to the G2.

43. rangoj

Posts: 46; Member since: Mar 29, 2014

G2 camera have terribly slow focus, and it is blurry in low light. It is great in perfect conditions. Nexus 5 can take better photos with HDR+ (in the low light)... So G2 is more marketing then real useful camera... I have try it. And when I say that nexus 5 HDR+ is much better then any g2 mode, I mean this link: :)​e/nexus5photography

42. rangoj

Posts: 46; Member since: Mar 29, 2014

Really incredible, I can't believe they manage to put "Phase detection autofocus" system in mobile camera!!!! O_o - this is really breakthrough!! I don't like samsung devices because of crappy Touchwiz, but this is something special! Still, I wouldn't love to own a S5, but I would like to try this camera for few days. :) To bad they didn't put OIS in camera :/

39. gigaraga

Posts: 1454; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

So basically the GS5 has the best of everything for a smartphone: Best camera, battery life, display and performance. It IS the best smartphone, maybe until the Note 4 comes out.

41. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

"Except those disgusting cheap plastic"

34. marbovo

Posts: 658; Member since: May 16, 2013

Thanks Victor H. but I didn't understand anything you´ve said

29. antonioli

Posts: 200; Member since: Sep 08, 2013

It's not even better than S4 or Note 3. Imagine G2. The samples that I saw showed very noise pictures and some pictures with excessive bright. In the theory, even HTC has a beautiful one but only in the paper. When we see the pictures we see the results.

11. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Havent you read my htc fanboy pissing comments. Its absolutely sarcasm.

14. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

I think you should have replied me there....btw good one...

18. The-Sailor-Man

Posts: 1095; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

There are not much HTC fanboys here . Those are mostly iboys pretending to be HTC "lovers", to fight against Samsung, and to promote the aluminum "suprimacy" .

23. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

But iphone5/5s rather feel cheap in hand unlike 4/4s

27. Astoni

Posts: 649; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

That exactly how i fell Ashoaib :p. 4/4s had a really nice buildquality :) 5/5s feels cheaper.

7. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Its still no match to the monstrous duo ultrapixel 4mp camera.

8. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Yeah man. That set up is amazing. It even manages to make any phone that uses it as tall as a phablet. Pretty impressive stuff. Monstrous is a good way to put it. Lol

10. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

Is that sarcasm or not???

22. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

I dont think its a sarcasm... it is quite right... but the look of m8 is so beautiful that it doesnt matter

16. The-Sailor-Man

Posts: 1095; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

ALUMINUM!!!!!!!!!! We don't want best camera, best displey ever, best Wi-Fi , best SoC, best battery life, best dust proof.... We Want ALUMINUM

28. MrKoles

Posts: 368; Member since: Jan 20, 2013

*sarcasm on* Personally, I just want huge bezels...because bezels are so, hmm, thick and comfortable.

32. ecmedic4

Posts: 520; Member since: May 02, 2013

How does the S5 have the best wifi? It and the HTC One M8 both have the same wifi 802.11 a,b,g,n,ac 2.4 and 5 ghz. They both also use a Snapdragon 801 processor.

35. The-Sailor-Man

Posts: 1095; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

S5 use the better version of S801(not only overclocked). Check it out. Check also what Wi-Fi tech use S5.

40. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

"We want the very best of everything in a all in one device" "We are willing to pay the extra"

4. phljcnth

Posts: 567; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

I'd take this over the dual 4 Ultrapixel cam and run-of-the-mill 20.7MP shooter.

2. Desmortibus

Posts: 66; Member since: Apr 04, 2014

Best ever display for a smartphone, best battery life ever, best groundbreaking camera technology... Wow, Samsung is getting serious and all of this without any overstated advertisement about it... Cool and classy !...

6. fireblade

Posts: 717; Member since: Dec 27, 2013

13. sergiobr

Posts: 718; Member since: Feb 25, 2013

LG G3 sounds good ! But lets wait for the Samsung K Zoom and production photos from S5. I want something better than my Note 3 , and in pair with my Nokia 808 to upgrade.

24. kryme

Posts: 469; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

i hope they patent the crap out these breakthrough i know samsung is not that company that love to sue.....

1. MarkArigayo

Posts: 240; Member since: Dec 18, 2013

Yeah, it sounds good. But overall camera performance still left behind the G2.

3. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

The S4 camera is better than the G2. The S5's camera is miles ahead thanks to the 801 and ISOCELL tech sorry.

9. geordie8t1 unregistered

i heard that some of the s5 samples were actually worse then the s4 in certain conditions, that being said the samples were a pre production unit, will be looking forward to seeing proper comparisons on a final retail model

15. The-Sailor-Man

Posts: 1095; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

" heard that some of the s5 samples were actually worse then the s4 in certain conditions" Lie!!!! It was said " some were not better then the s4 in certain conditions"

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