Back in April 2020, Samsung revealed its long-term vision of a camera that can surpass the human eye. It is aiming for a 600-megapixel camera sensor, whereas human eyes are said to match a resolution of around 500-megapixels. The company appears to be on track with the plans and has laid out a roadmap for its release. No, this ultra-advanced camera isn’t coming anytime soon. But Haechang Lee, Senior VP of Automotive Sensors at Samsung, has confirmed that the Korean behemoth is working on a 576-megapixel camera with plans to release it in 2025.
During a presentation at SEMI Europe Summit earlier this month, Mr. Lee highlighted how Samsung has reduced pixel sizes in cameras over the years while increasing the resolution. It launched a 0.3-megapixel camera with 5μm pixels in 2000. In 2014, the company launched the world’s first 16-megapixel camera with 1μm-sized pixels. It has since gone on to launch the world’s first 24-megapixel camera, 108-megapixel camera, and most recently, 200-megapixel camera.
The ultimate aim is to go beyond what human eyes can see. Of course, it’s easier said than done. But if anyone can do that, that’s Samsung. The company has made several advancements in camera technology in recent years and you can expect it to continue improving in the future.
This bonkers 576MP camera is not for smartphones
Whenever it arrives, the said 576-megapixel Samsung camera won’t be for smartphones. It would be quite big to fit in a smartphone since it needs to house almost 600 million pixels in it. Reducing pixel sizes, meanwhile, will affect the picture quality because of lower light sensitivity. So you’ll have to eventually rely on pixel binning for all lighting conditions, which beats the very purpose of a higher resolution camera.
However, this camera could be of much more use in the automobile sector. Perhaps a camera that can see better than the human eyes is a perfect fit for autonomous vehicles. A 576-megapixel sensor can also be useful in a drone camera or medical equipment.
For smartphones, Samsung’s 50-megapixel ISOCELL GN2 sensor, which has 2.8µm-sized pixels, is the best in our view. The newly-launched 200-megapixel camera might capture more detail in bright conditions, but the difference is hardly noticeable. And when it gets dark, the camera eventually uses pixel binning technology to switch to 50-megapixel mode.
The rest of the specs of these two sensors largely match. Perhaps that’s why Samsung is using the ISOCELL GN2 in the Galaxy S22 and S22+, and the third-gen 108-megapixel sensor (ISOCELL HM3) in the Galaxy S22 Ultra. These are unconfirmed reports though, so we’ll have to wait for confirmation.