Samsung’s 200-megapixel ISOCELL HP1 smartphone sensor has been creating quite a store since it was first rumoured back in January. For some, it’s got them very excited, while others have been quite critical without even having seen (let alone tried) a real working sensor inside a camera. But whatever your thoughts on it, it’s a pretty impressive feat.
A new promotional video about the new sensor has been released by Samsung explaining in simple terms how some of its features work, like its “ChameleonCell” technology, Smart-ISO multi-sampling and how they all adjust themselves depending on what it is you’re shooting.
The video is presented by Samsung Sensor Design Team member Minho Kwon, and he walks us through the various technologies, starting with ChameleonCell. This technology allows the sensor to make use of its full maximum resolution when shooting in daylight or other bright light conditions, but then combines four tiny 0.64μm pixels into one 1.28μm pixel for shooting 8K video or combining every 16 pixels into one 2.56μm pixel for low light conditions in order to maximise its light-gathering abilities.
I am quite curious how well this’ll work in the real world. In the video (and the image above), each pixel on the sensor appears to be changing the colour of light it can gather depending on which pixel-binning mode it’s in. How that’s possible, I’ve no idea. But it will be interesting to try out, for sure.
The Smart-ISO, dual-gain ISO and multi-sampling technologies both also look quite impressive on paper (and in the video) to improve low-light performance and maximise the dynamic range of the sensor for both stills and video and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how well it actually performs once it finds its way into cameras and the hands of users.
Exactly when that will happen, though, is still unknown. It’s not expected to be in the Samsung Galaxy S22 and there have been no rumours of it popping up in non-Samsung devices any time soon.
Will it hold up to scrutiny once it gets out into the real world? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.