Samsung has officially announced the latest flagship sensor for mobile devices — the 108MP ISOCELL Bright HMX. This is the newest addition to the upcoming 64MP sensor that will arrive on either (or both) Xiaomi or Realme phones. For a smartphone camera, 108MP is absurd. When 48MP cameras were released, we were blown away already. But even if you call it marketing hype, the latest camera sensor from Samsung brings significant improvements for better mobile photos and videos.
6K Video Recording
With the Samsung 108MP sensor, video recording can reach up to 6K resolution @ 30fps. It’s easy to be skeptical given how great 4K is already. But no matter how great 4K video recording is on mobile phones (at least for now), it still doesn’t carry the same quality as a DSLR camera. With a higher resolution, the quality gets closer to a professional camera. Higher MP count may not matter too much to DSLRs but it does to mobile cameras.
In the world of smartphone photography, high MP sensors are always intertwined with pixel binning. It’s a complicated image processing that’s best discussed for another time. But what you need to know is that images captured on 48MP sensors output 12MP images, with nearly no loss of image quality. The same goes for 108MP, capable of “producing brighter 27MP images”.
Thanks to 48MP sensors, affordable phones today can rival flagship phones. Although post-processing and software optimization is often better on more expensive smartphones, hardware-wise, overall photo quality has gotten so much better. It’s even hard for the trained eyes to identify which is which. But with a 108MP sensor, it’s possible to see better photos than what flagship phones have right now. Although these are just numbers, we are still comparing 12MP/16MP to 27MP images. Just the sheer amount of detail can make a difference to a photo.
Same Pixel Size
One overlooked aspect of smartphone cameras is pixel size. While it’s not as grandeur as hearing high MP count, pixel size matters a lot when it comes to low-light photography. To give you a quick explanation, the amount of noise and grain on your image depends on the pixel size. As much as possible, you want a bigger size to produce brighter photos.
In the case of 48MP sensors, the 0.8 micron pixel size is the smallest compared to 1.25 micro of other smartphones including flagships. This was a concern when high MP sensors were introduced. But according to Samsung, along with Xiaomi, the two companies managed to retain the same pixel size of a 48MP sensor while increasing the detail quality of the 108MP sensor. In other words, we can get the same, if not better, low-light quality when using Samsung’s newest mobile camera sensor.