Samsung last year launched the world’s first 200-megapixel camera for smartphones. Announced in September, the ISOCELL HP1 camera has yet to find its way inside devices. But the company is reportedly already working on a second-gen version of it. According to the Dutch publication GalaxyClub, Samsung is developing an improved 200-megapixel smartphone camera called ISOCELL HP3.
The new report doesn’t shed any light on the technical details of the upcoming ultra-high-resolution image sensor from the Korean behemoth. So it’s not quite clear whether it will have the same 1/1.22-inch footprint as its predecessor or it will be larger. It certainly can’t get any smaller though. The first-gen version already has tiny 0.64μm-sized pixels. Fitting 200 million pixels in an even smaller sensor would further reduce the pixel size, which may affect image quality.
The ISOCELL HP1 captures 200-megapixel resolution images in bright conditions. But as the environment gets darker, it uses pixel binning technology to increase the pixel size. This allows for more light to reach the sensor. This camera can capture 50-megapixel shots with 2×2 pixel binning (merging four neighboring pixels), which gives us 1.28μm-sized pixels.
But if it’s too dark, it merges 16 neighboring pixes (4×4 pixel binning) to further increase the pixel size to 2.56μm. As such, the sensor will receive more light for better output. The stills come out as 12.5-megapixel resolution images.
As you might have guessed by now, there’s no point in continually increasing the megapixel count in smartphone cameras. Since there’s not much room inside the devices to make the sensor bigger, manufacturers end up making the pixels smaller. Eventually, we end up with lower resolution images. The full resolution of the sensor is only useful in bright conditions to capture more detail.
Samsung may not use the 200MP camera in its devices anytime soon
Samsung was the world’s first company to launch a 108-megapixel camera for smartphones. However, it wasn’t the first to use that sensor. The Korean firm tends to do that. It usually lets other OEMs equip the first-gen solution. The company refines the sensor for some time before placing it inside its devices. We expect it to do the same with the 200-megapixel camera. Despite it working on a second-gen version, Samsung likely won’t equip any of its devices with this ultra-high-resolution camera this year.
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 are the only two flagship products Samsung is expected to launch throughout the rest of 2022. The foldables are likely to feature a more tried and tested camera setup. Reports suggest the former could get the same rear camera setup as the Galaxy S22 Ultra. We expect to hear more about these two devices in the coming months.