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

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