Samsung outs ISOCELL phone camera sensor, touts superior low-light abilities

With every smartphone maker scrambling to put an emphasis on the camera virtues of its flagships, Samsung is not going to be outdone, it seems. The company just announced its new ISOCELL technology, which it says is superior to the back side illumination (BSI) sensors in current handsets.

BSI, Samsung says, has limitations considering the ever-shrinking pixel size in the 13 MP, 20 MP or even 41 MP phones we have today, by increasing cross-talk interference between pixels so close to each other.

With ISOCELL, each individual pixel is isolated, and can grab more photons from the light that pours into the sensor, compared to the diffusion that goes on with the BSI tech. Long story short, this means we should expect much better exposed and blur-free photos in low light, which is the hardest scenario for any camera to make decent photos in.

In fact, Samsung has even calculated that phones and tablets using ISOCELL modules will have 30% better color accuracy just from the sensor itself, as well as 30% better dynamic range capture. Not only that, but the tech allows for much lower modules, which means they can be fit into ever slimmer handsets and slates. As you can see in Samsung's comparison image below, the tech really sports more correct dynamic range and exposure measurements, as well as better color representation than BSI.

Samsung's first sensor to adopt ISOCELL, the S5K4H5YB, is an 8 MP unit with 1.12 micron ISOCELL pixels and a 1/4" format. It is already sampling to customers, and mass production is starting in Q4, so we'll be able to see the results very soon. If some form of this goes into the Galaxy S5, paired with optical image stabilization, and the rumors about a metal body and 64-bit processor pan out, next year's Samsung flagship might be the one to get.

source: Samsung



1. shy2papa

Posts: 336; Member since: Jan 23, 2010


2. aditya.k

Posts: 496; Member since: Mar 10, 2013

Photoshop! :P

3. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Wow... great... Taking pictures would be again more adventurous with this ISOCELL. I think all technologies are gearing up for making a S5 by Sammy.

4. hipnotika

Posts: 353; Member since: Mar 06, 2013

its same sh-t :D

6. alexfiran

Posts: 40; Member since: Jun 13, 2013's not the same shiit:D

31. deewinc

Posts: 455; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

You mean iporn?

5. cezarepc

Posts: 718; Member since: Nov 23, 2012

I can't see the difference. And if it's going to go against BSI, photo samples should be taken in LOW LIGHT.

7. alexfiran

Posts: 40; Member since: Jun 13, 2013

yes you can, otherwise you need glasses:))

10. Doppiadi

Posts: 15; Member since: Feb 18, 2013

You have to be a bit into photography to see it. They say it also increases dynamic range and that's exactly what you see in the comparison. Left pic is badly overexposed with lack of image information on the high range, the right pic instead preserves the same accuracy on the low range, not losing image information on the high tones.

12. cezarepc

Posts: 718; Member since: Nov 23, 2012

Ok, I must admit the dynamic range is better on the right picture but as you guys can see it's blown up pretty big for us to notice that. So that said BSI or ISOCELL don't really care what ends up in my phone since difference is marginal. But what it's touting is "superior low-light abilities" and that's what I wanna see compared to BSI shots. I love my Nokia N8 simply because of the Xenon flash, but sometimes I want shots without flash and N8 is miserable in low-light. I've seen the HTC One and Lumia 1020 low-light shots and those are superb (though OIS played a big part on the test). 80% of that quality and I'm all for ISOCELL.

8. Tsepz_GP

Posts: 1175; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Samsung haters are going to be very mad their fav manufacturer hasn't done this, shame. Anyway... This is excellent! :D I hope this is the end of Samsung using Sony's rather average sensors (despite beating Sony with their own sensors). Can't wait for the GS5 even more now! :)

11. emadshiny

Posts: 1144; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

LOL, you look so paradoxical. So far your S4 had the best camera and now Sony's sensors are average? you're a real blind fanboy!

13. Tsepz_GP

Posts: 1175; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

It has the best camera thanks to Samsung being able to optimize their software well enough to do a better job than Sony did with their own Sensor. The Xperia Z has the same sensor is quite poor to say the least. Having a Sensor made by Samsung coupled with their excellent software will be brilliant.

16. emadshiny

Posts: 1144; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

I never ignore Sammy's ability in optimizing the software but if the hardware is not capable, how they can optimize it? and please never try to compare Sammy with Sony in their ability to produce perfect sensors. Sammy is just a beginner in this field.

19. adjou

Posts: 106; Member since: Jul 06, 2010

The fact that near every android company is using Sony's sensor and not Samsungs shows something. You can diss Sony's camera software, thats ok, cause everyone knows its sh!t. But hardware! They are pros. Samsung still have a long way to go

20. SonyPS4

Posts: 347; Member since: May 21, 2013

Do you know Nikon also used Sony sensor in their dslr camera. The probelm with first Z is software not hardware.

9. Edmund

Posts: 656; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

lmfao... heard it all before: first there was Sony making the same claims with its "Xmor RS" sensor, followed by HTC with their "ultra pixels", and finally motorola and its "clearPixel" BS. Not one of these phones has come even close to matching the low light performance of the Lumia 920/925, let alone the Lumia 1020.

15. kobainez

Posts: 454; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

FYI lumia 920/925 using xmor rs sensor so why bash sony sensor?

21. dexter_jdr

Posts: 1163; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

gimme source. i wanna know

18. yudi.nemesis unregistered

It seems you don’t know that Lumia 920/925 using Sony camera sensor.

23. freebee269

Posts: 542; Member since: Aug 10, 2012

That's the sad part for Sony. Nokia does better with Sony hardware than Sony does.

30. yudi.nemesis unregistered

Yeah i agree with you for now Apple, Nokia, and Samsung does better than Sony when it comes to SW.

25. Edmund

Posts: 656; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

no it doesn't- Nokia orders its sensors from toshiba

32. deewinc

Posts: 455; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

That is just a blogspot and not a reliable source.

14. SonyFindOneDroidple

Posts: 865; Member since: May 11, 2013

Ill wait ;)) i am happy seeing Samsung doing something for their camera and phone's body.. next is a fresh UI Look, better mic and speakers..

17. rodkurt

Posts: 128; Member since: Nov 29, 2012

"better low-light abilities" yet the picture is taken under broad daylight....-.-

22. dexter_jdr

Posts: 1163; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

so they say new samsung tech is better than larger bsi sensors? lets get the battle starting!

24. nbringer

Posts: 180; Member since: Sep 11, 2012

I see no difference!

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