Samsung announces new 108MP mobile image sensor

Samsung ISOCELL HM3

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung Electronics has introduced a 108-megapixel (MP) mobile image sensor, the Samsung ISOCELL HM3, that can capture sharper and more vivid images in ultra-high resolution with faster auto-focus and extended dynamic range.

“While a pixel is just a single dot of colour, when in millions, these dots can be transformed into stunning snapshots of life. With more pixels, images are sharper, with fuller details that can maintain their integrity even when enlarged,” said Duckhyun Chang, executive vice president of the sensor business at Samsung Electronics. 

“The ISOCELL HM3 is the culmination of Samsung’s latest sensor technologies that will help deliver premium mobile experiences to today’s smart-device users.”

The 1/1.33” ISOCELL HM3 with 0.8μm-sized pixels is a new addition to Samsung ISOCELL’s 108MP product line-up.

A camera’s sensor size and pixel size have a significant impact over the resultant images — bigger is always better.

Optimum results in dark environments

The ISOCELL HM3

(Image credit: Samsung)

For faster auto-focus, the HM3 integrates an improved Super PD Plus feature. “Super PD Plus adds AF-optimized micro-lenses over the phase detection focusing agents, increasing measurement accuracy of the agents by 50-percent,” Samsung said in a press statement. 

The enhanced phase detection auto-focusing (PDAF) solution helps to keep moving subjects in sharp focus and delivers optimum results in dark environments.

In mixed-light environments, such as at the end of a tunnel, the HM3 adopts Smart ISO Pro, a high-dynamic-range (HDR) imaging technology which uses an intra-scene dual conversion gain (iDCG) solution. 

The HM3’s pixel layout is specially arranged in three-by-three single colour structures suitable for nine-pixel binning. By merging nine neighbouring pixels, the 108MP HM3 mimics a 12MP image sensor with large 2.4μm-pixels, heightening light sensitivity when taking photographs in low-light environments. 

With an improved binning hardware IP, the HM3 supports seamless transitions between 108MP and 12MP resolutions.

Designs of the new sensor have also been optimized to reduce energy usage under preview mode by 6.5-percent, offering added power efficiency to the overall mobile device.

Samsung ISOCELL HM3 is currently in mass production and will be available at the lay user end sooner than later.

When available, it will give smartphone manufacturers greater flexibility in choosing the components. It will also help avoid camera bumps, which have almost become a necessary evil on today’s high-end smartphones.

January 15, 2021
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