The story broke a couple of days ago that Samsung was using two different camera sensors in their new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones. It was originally thought that all new S6 variants were sporting the Sony 16-Megapixel IMX240 sensor, but users are reporting different sensor strings – some from Sony and some from Samsung. What is also interesting is that there appears to be no pattern to their usage – country, region, carriers, Galaxy S6, or Galaxy S6 Edge – it is up for grabs exactly which sensor you will receive. Some devices have the Sony IMX240 sensor and others have the Samsung ISOCELL sensor.
There is no explanation from Samsung yet as to why two different sensors were used. Possibly there was a shortage of the Sony sensors or maybe Samsung planned on using them both interchangeably from the start. It is not unusual for all manufacturers to use parts from multiple suppliers – specs and quantities needed are sent out, bids are received, and decisions are made and perhaps the cheapest bidder could not supply all of the parts needed. This is done all of the time, but when it comes to something as critical as a camera sensor, precautions are the name of the game. Customers start to question the quality of one sensor over that of another and whether or not the final image may suffer – Sony sensors are well-known and recognized as some of the best, while little is known about Samsung's own ISOCELL technology.
While we doubt the average smartphone user will complain about the images that they will receive from their Samsung Galaxy S6 or Galaxy S6 Edge as both cameras seem to produce outstanding photos. It does beg the question when DxOMark Labs anointed the Galaxy S6 Edge as the camera to beat so far, exactly which one were they testing and how much of a difference the results would be if they used the 'other' sensor. Our source had both the Samsung ISOCELL and Sony IMX240 in their possession and took photos from both – some look about the same and others show a slight difference. Sometimes the Samsung ISOCELL looks better and other times the Sony IMX240 looks better…we will let you be the judge.