Samsung talks Dual Pixel: a stepping stone to brave new phone cameras

Samsung is talking Dual Pixel in its newest posting about the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, and how it arrived to the trailblazing use of the ultrafast focusing technology in its newest phones. It turns out that there has been a lot of soul-searching in Samsung's R&D department on which of some promising camera technologies to shrink and use in a smartphone sensor. One of the candidates, which uses two photodiodes on each pixel for focusing, demonstrated clear advantages not only in focusing, but also in low-light conditions, which is an improvement that all users want, so Samsung decided to stick with that one, and dub it Dual Pixel.

There were many challenges for implementing it in a smallish 1/2.5" phone sensor, of course, as so far the camera team hadn't dealt with anything like this. They even took a DSLR camera and an S7 prototype, and lugged both around, searching for conditions where users typically take pictures, even at near-complete darkness, and then compared and fine-tuned the phone camera results. 

In essence, Samsung is looking at Dual Pixel as a stepping stone towards a brighter phone camera future (pun intended), saying that this tech will be an "established infrastructure in which a smartphone camera can further evolve," and will be used to offer scenes and modes that were so far thought impossible, at least for a tiny handset camera. As per Youngmin Nam, senior manager of the Global Product Planning at Samsung:




source: Samsung

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19 Comments

1. refillable

Posts: 1071; Member since: Mar 10, 2014

Very interesting indeed... I hope this will translate to a better performance in real world usage.

2. Damo.

Posts: 10; Member since: Feb 22, 2016

So who will explain the difference between Samsung's Dual- and HTC's disastrous Ultrapixel to me?

3. TMHKR

Posts: 202; Member since: Dec 08, 2012

Dual Pixel is about on-sensor phase detection autofocus system. Ultra Pixel is name for HTC's lower resolution, but higher pixel size sensor.

4. tyrionTheWise unregistered

HTC's ultrapixel is just a marketing term for big pixels. it doesn't mean a new technology. Dual pixel means every pixel is split in two pixels for stereoscopic focusing.

9. thegeneral7010

Posts: 437; Member since: Dec 10, 2014

If it was samsung who made ultra pixel he would say its the innovation of the century why the hell every manfacturer have sheepsto follow.

11. tyrionTheWise unregistered

Where exactly did I mention that duo pixel is better than ultrapixel. In fact, I would take a 2 micron pixel sensor over this duo pixel gimmick anyday.

12. Shocky unregistered

If Samsung equipped a 4MP shooter on their flagship phone they would never have lived it down, reviewers would have nailed them for it. HTC only got away with it because they were the reviewers favorite at the time and objectivity went out the window.

5. DFranch

Posts: 555; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

Ultrapixel wasn't a terrible idea, the terrible idea was using a 4 megapixel sensor. In fact, everybody seems to be using larger pixels now to let in more light, but with much higher resolution sensors.

6. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

if HTC M10's camera still cant deliver, Ultrapixel is indeed a terrible idea

8. Adreno

Posts: 755; Member since: Mar 12, 2016

@DFranch HTC using a 4MP sensor wasn't a terrible idea. OEMs who use higher resolution sensors with large pixels, like Nexus 6P's 12MP, they succeed because of their superior image processing algorithm compared HTC. The Nexus 6P's individual pixel size is 1.55 micron, and it's still smaller that HTC's Ultrapixel with 2 micron pixel size. If HTC's image processing algorithm was as good as Samsung's, then their Ultrapixel sensor would have been excellent - especially at low-light shots!

7. JumpinJackROMFlash

Posts: 464; Member since: Dec 10, 2014

I love the S7 camera! It's without doubt the best smartphone camera I've ever used and can hardly be bothered lugging around my Nikon anymore.

10. DirtyDan23

Posts: 280; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

Nifty

13. twens

Posts: 1180; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

Why do people find it so difficult to give Samsung credit for innovation? Which camera focuses with the speed that the s7/edge does? If you can name one then the tech here is useless. Learn to give credit.

15. Hypergy

Posts: 54; Member since: Feb 24, 2016

Samsung is probably the most innovative company in the last 5 years. They do heck of a lot more than phones.

19. yoosufmuneer

Posts: 1518; Member since: Feb 14, 2015

They're innovative but Google is more innovative than Samsung. Watch last year's Google ATAP event and you'd know why. Project Loon, Project Jacquard, Project Sunroof etc.

14. Anonn

Posts: 230; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

16. Hypergy

Posts: 54; Member since: Feb 24, 2016

Yawn. another year, another win. Haha jk, Goodjob Samsung. Where would this android world be without you! Note 6, you're mine.

17. Shocky unregistered

So it's better than the Galaxy S6/Edge+ and Note 5 by a single point. Good job, the fine detail was quite impressive for a 12MP shooter.

18. IsThereOnePhoneWOaFatalFlaw

Posts: 26; Member since: Nov 07, 2011

It frustrates me when phonearena leaves out the most important details when it comes to how a feature came to fruition. They made it sound like Samsung invented dual pixel technology. Who makes a better camera than Samsung or any smartphone manufacturer? Canon. Dual pixel tech was invented by Canon I'm 2013 and has been LICENSED by Samsung for the S7. Extremely smart. Similar you them bringing aboard Vulkan for their graphics engine. Samsung always brings aboard the best and brightest.

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