South Korean tech giant Samsung has now announced its ISOCELL GN2, offering an array of improvements to Samsung mobile photography. And that sensor is already in mass production, according to Samsung. So, while there's been no word of partners or upcoming devices, it could appear in a consumer-ready smartphone this year. Potentially helping move whichever phones come with the sensor into the list of best smartphones on the market.
Samsung ISOCELL GN2 gives more power while taking less
Summarily, the new sensor stacks in a new Dual Pixel Pro technology for better low-light and detail capture. But it also improves HDR features, auto-focus, slow-motion captures, and color vibrance. All while using less power than its predecessor.
Arguably among the most important aspects of Samsung ISOCELL GN2 is that it makes mobile photography less power-intensive. In fact, it reduces energy consumption by as much as 24-percent, according to Samsung.
Now, that's not going to make smartphone batteries last for a lot longer overall. But it will improve battery life for camera-heavy users. And that could be a game-changer for some since the Camera app is among the most power-hungry on any smartphone.
The energy reduction is accomplished, the company says, at least in part, by utilizing Staggered-HDR instead of real-time HDR mode. The technology allows for better pictures of sunsets or indoors with daylight coming through windows too, Samsung claims. The improvements come down to maximizing dynamic range. And, with an increased dynamic range, high-contrast shots serve up more detail and vivid color.
The technology effectively uses rolling shutters over the same pixel arrays for long exposures, as well as short and middle bursts.
In terms of the sensor hardware itself, Samsung says that the ISOCELL GN2 utilizes a brand new 50-megapixel image sensor. That's using 1.4μm-sized pixels. And that, in turn, allows 50-megapixel mode up to 100-megapixel mode. In low-light, the sensor simulates larger 2.5μm pixels via four-pixel-binning. So the new sensor absorbs more light and detail than ever. The latter mode is powered by an improved re-mosaic algorithm to merge three individual 50-megapixel frames.
Auto-focus, ISO, and other aspects are better than ever too
The Dual Pixel Pro does more than offering great low-light photography from Samsung ISOCELL GN2 as well. It also utilizes two photodiodes for every pixel of the sensor for better auto-focus. Specifically, for faster, more accurate auto-focus provided via "all-direction focusing." That's as opposed to vertical standard Dual Pixel focusing. Of course, the change-up improves low-light focusing and tracking of moving objects too.
Conversely, Smart ISO and Smart ISO Pro are also both part of this new sensor. The former helps with sensor conversion gain for optimal ISO. While Smart ISO Pro works using an intra-scene dual-conversion gain solution. And that processes readouts from both high and low ISO for better dynamic range with fewer artifacts from motion.
Last but not least, Samsung says the ISOCELL GN2 supports mobile video as well as it does photography. In fact, on top of the above-mentioned features, it supports up to full-HD at 480fps and 4K at 120fps.