The Samsung Galaxy S7 could sport a 20MP camera sensor, be even thinner

The Samsung Galaxy S7 could sport a 20MP camera sensor, be even thinner
We've been hearing all sorts of rumors about the Samsung Galaxy S7 lately, and quite a few of them have been dealing with the handset's camera setup. It is said that "dual camera" is the new buzzword at Samsung, with the company supposedly having four concepts in development and planned for adoption in the first half of 2016.

In related news, Samsung just boasted about a new 20MP camera sensor it has developed, and the Galaxy S7 seems like the best and most logical choice to showcase it, seeing that all the company's current flagship smartphones are now out. The 20MP sensor measures 1/2.6" and has 1.0 micron-sized pixels, while boasting reduced power draw, thanks to being made on a 28nm process (coming all the way down from 65nm as seen in Samsung's 16MP 1.2 micron sensor used in its recent Galaxy phones).

The chip also features a new RWB color pattern for enhancing light sensitivty and improving the signal to noise ratio in low-light conditions. Thanks to the reduction in physical size and power draw, the sensor will allow for Samsung's next phones to become thinner, which, according to customer research, is a highly desirable characteristic.

source: Samsung (.pdf file) via (Translated)



1. TyrionLannister unregistered

Wow. I almost can't believe they brought RWB in just 2016. To those unaware, it uses simple arithmetic to get 2X the sampling rate of regular sensors, hence 2X the SNR or a 3dB improvement. Though it's sad that the pixel size is reduced to just 1 micron.

4. Neros

Posts: 1016; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

I though that smaller pixels were better for the image quality. Guess I was wrong.

47. vincelongman

Posts: 5693; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Bigger pixels basically means each pixel on the image sensor is getting more light Which is why the Nexus 6P is amazing at low light But it also depends on several other factors e.g. OIS (helps allow longer exposure time without blur) and wide aperture (allows more light through the lens) Which is why the S6 and G4 are also amazing at low light

6. rsiders

Posts: 1954; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

Samsung has thoroughly impressed me in the imaging department on all of their phones this year so any improvements made would really be more than we can ask for in mobile photography. Seriously, the camera race has truly elevated what we're able to do to point of being spoiled really. Can't wait to see what Samsung introduces and I may just keep my Z3 until the S7 comes out.


Posts: 930; Member since: Feb 23, 2014

How big an improvement are we likely to get with that camera?

13. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

You gotta read some articles like on anandtech. RGB is the future.

14. TyrionLannister unregistered

2x improvement in sensitivity. That means 2x the ISO with the same noise. Or you can get the shot in half the exposure time with the same brightness. This is huge.

22. pmsap

Posts: 105; Member since: May 26, 2015

But isn't the micron decrease a "bad" thing? Why reduce that? To get thinner phones, with thinner batteries? Phones are incredibly thin by now... In Europe most people buy high-end phones based on a small number of factors: camera capabilities, design (looks), UI/OS. It seems to me that the design is already very good. Focus then on camera and UI.

34. Dinged

Posts: 37; Member since: Jan 12, 2012

Mfg's don't have the inhouse camera expertise for the "processing" of images so instead they only focus on better hardware for image improvements. If they want to leapfrog over the competition, someone needs to acquire/merge/partner with a expert RAW image processing company such as dxomark, perfectly clear or adobe. Just as in professional photography and dslr's, no pro relies on the out of camera image processing from canon/nikon, they all use 3rd party image RAW processing software.

48. vincelongman

Posts: 5693; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Because of the increase to 20MP without increasing the size of the sensor Increasing the size of the sensor would increase thickness Smaller pixels basically means each pixel on the image sensor is getting less light But it should be a problem Samsung will improve OIS (allows longer exposure) and use wider aperture lens (allows more light in) ISOCELL sensors already have deep trenching (like the iPhone 6S)


Posts: 130; Member since: May 08, 2015

You mean 'the iPhone 6s sensors already have deep trenching (like the ISOCELL sensor from Samsung). Small nuance, but important to mention. Proof again that Apple mostly copies Samsungs ideas, not the other way around.

26. Techist

Posts: 311; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

If it lives up to its promise, and the algorithms are properly optimized, that will indeed be huge! I'm beginning to feel real good about my decision to hold on to my Note 4 and wait for next year's flagships.

41. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

With that kind of improvement on the camera, the small camera bump shouldn't be an issue.Samsung cameras are top notched. Even though I don't take many pictures, I like their cameras. In fact when we went to Sarasota/Orlando Florida this summer, I took more videos/photos than I have taken all my life since buying my first phone. We took over 1500 photos, and shot over 300 videos. The photos from the S6 Edge I had at the time are so vivid that wjen I watch the vids and photos on my Samsung Smart TV, it feels like I am still on my vacation. The Next Big Thing is Samsung's cameras and the next S and Note are going to be awesome.

12. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

Wow. This sensor is a massive improvement from their first gen isocell sensor from the s5. RGB too, and we're only in late 2015 guys! Project Lucky is gonna be some innovation.

33. Dinged

Posts: 37; Member since: Jan 12, 2012

Thinner? Really? I'll trade in slight thickness to squeeze more battery life (mah and an sd card slot. And, trade those megapixels for larger pixels and ability to push more fps in video. Manufacturer's don't give us the best phone now since if they did, they wouldn't have any new annual sales; they choose to go the incremental improvement route instead of just offering the best. Sick of it... Google needs to purchase DXOmark or Perfectly Clear image processing so that Android's image processing algorithm's can match Apple's and prevent all the segmentation that create such varied photo results.

42. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Oh boy, here we go crying about battery-life. Even though the S6 and Note 5 are thinner than the previous version and house a smaller battery compared to them, they still managed to last LONGER than the previous models. Considering the Note 5 lifts way more in features vs the S, the iPhone 6 Plus managed to only tie the Note 5 in battery rundown tests done by PA. Seemingly it should have done better since it only has 1/2 the hardware/software capabiliy, but was only as good as the Note. Thin is the new spec, get over it. Remember, it has already been announced that Samsung is working on new battery technology that could add as much as 40% more battery in the same amount of space. Which means a 4000Mah battery could easily fit in the same space as one taken up by a 3000Mah one. How about we see what we get, before throwing Samsung under a bus. Because no one throws Apple under a bus and look how small and thin their phones are. And considering the S6 is smaller than the iPhone 6S, yet has a bigger battery and the Note 5 is also smaller than the 6S Plus and yet has a bigger battery, shows you who is sacrificing more.

35. engineer-1701d unregistered

and still they want to make it thinner no stupid stop showing off with how thin you can make it we want battery tech or bigger battery.

53. Fellwalker

Posts: 538; Member since: Apr 04, 2014

Probably they'll use a 1000 mAh battery and sell a new faster charger that will bring the battery to 98% in only 5 minutes. They have no idea about real life use, where we are not close to wall sockets and don't want to carry a huge external battery which cancels the thin advantage.

36. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

A8 is using similar 1micron ISOCELL sensor.

59. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

Thanks for pointing that out mate. In fact its really similar, just that the A8 is 16MP opposed to 20MP.

37. vuyonc

Posts: 1090; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

Source, please! Just curious, I'm doing a course in control systems for my engineering degree. Not sure how doubling the sampling rate adds 3dB. I got 6dB. Regular sensor sample rate gain = x Regular sensor sample rate gain in decibels = 20*log10(x) New sensor sample rate gain = 2*x New sensor sample rate gain in decibels = 20*log10(2*x) =20*log10(x) + 20*log10(2) =regular sensor gain + 6.02 decibels

39. TyrionLannister unregistered

That 20 log is for power, not only voltage. For voltage, you use 10 log. It's a simple mistake, that many engineers do ;).

49. vuyonc

Posts: 1090; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

According to my notes, 20 log works with any two types of values (certainly for frequencies). Source, please.

50. TyrionLannister unregistered

Just Google about how to take decibel. It's 10log. That 20 is when the decibel you're using is power in terms of voltage. dB (power) = 10 log ( P2/P1) -> 10 log ( V2^2/V1^2) -> 20 log ( V2/V1) . Thats how you get 20. Though decibel is measured always with a factor of 10, that's why it's called 'deci' bel. A bel is just a log of ratios with base 10. A decibel is that multiplied by 10. I'm no electrical engineer, but I'm pretty site you need to revise you're notes.

57. vuyonc

Posts: 1090; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

Cool thanks

2. Neros

Posts: 1016; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

And it ain't gonna suck like z5's camera. Samsung will soon show sony how it's done.

21. Djz89

Posts: 443; Member since: Aug 25, 2014

Software my friend, not hardware. If Samsung had the imx300 (z5) the pictures would be insane. Z5 don't suck though, that's a stupid statement.

31. kkmkk

Posts: 699; Member since: May 06, 2013

no one care what the reason that samsung camera is better than sony all we care about that it is better

51. Djz89

Posts: 443; Member since: Aug 25, 2014

Some mabye, but some actually care to how and why things work, you will understand when you grow up.

3. phonehome

Posts: 812; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

I'll take a thicker and removable battery (unless the presumably sealed "thinner" one rumored in this article will last a full day with streaming a loop of HD video with the screen at the brightest setting, and also with location service and Bluetooth turned on). Also, can't improve that much on my GS5 camera. For THAT much improvement, I would buy a standalone camera.

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