It’s not all about big numbers; moving to higher-pixel-count sensors has real image quality benefits. In this chapter of the megapixel race, it’s all about pixel binning. Samsung already employs this with its 108-megapixel sensor, and taking a super high-res photo isn’t the point — rather, combining individual pixels into four-by-four or two-by-two configurations is.
Binning pixels like this increases their effective size, allowing them to gather more light and detail. So the ISOCELL HP2 can bin every four pixels to effectively make them 1.2μm in size and produce 50-megapixel images, or bin 16 for even larger 2.4μm pixels and 12.5-megapixel images. This 1.2μm mode is used to record 8K video at 30fps, and the sensor also supports filming in 4K HDR at 60fps.
Away from raw specs, the sensor uses a new technology Samsung is calling “Dual Vertical Transfer Gate” which it says helps the sensor reduce overexposure and produce better colors in bright conditions. Meanwhile in low light it’s equipped with “Super QPD” for faster auto-focusing.
Samsung says the new sensor has already entered mass production — just in time for the launch of its upcoming flagship smartphone.