Samsung announces own dual-pixel 12MP sensor

09 March, 2016
The sensor used in the Galaxy S7 was so far known to be Sony's IMX260, but apparently Samsung has its own imager in production with the same capabilities.

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  • Anonymous

Anonymous, 09 Mar 2016"Sensor size actually does not mean anything at all. What m... moreAnd those things are important to help get good picture quality.

  • Anonymous

AnonD-18199, 09 Mar 2016No, Samsung sensor in GS6 proved worse then Sony one. But a... moreNote 4 had the best image quality when it launched. And ISOCELL reduces crosstalk between pixels. Samsung did not cheat anyone. Go back to you iphone.

  • Anonymous

AnonD-352484, 09 Mar 2016Could have marketing reasons as well. Because of geometry, ... moreYou're getting a 12mp and that is 4:3. If you want 16.9 you're getting LESS PHOTO. You can always crop if you want less photo.

  • Anonymous

"Sensor size actually does not mean anything at all. What might be important is pixel size. " Whats important is image quality. NOT Sensor Size, NOT Pixel size. Whatever it takes to get good image quality, do it.

  • AnonD-152638

AnonD-4254, 09 Mar 2016As long as the specs are same, I the customer won't care...... moreDoesn't the package state what Processor it's using? I thought it did.
On the other hand, in that case, most buyers wont care.
It will be good enough for most buyers.
And I think you can tell by the model number, so if you really care, you can find out.
I would say it's more problematic that as a users you can't make a choice, as it will be different CPUs on different markets mostly. So you are left with the one that is availible on your specific market.
But this difference is mentioned in most reviews. Perhaps not reviews targeted at a specific market, where only one model is avaible.

But the camera is more problematic.
As far as I understood, previously, the same market could have both verions. And you could not tell by the model number.
And I have a suspicsion that most reviews will not mentions this fact. Some where published before this was known. Other reviewers will have no idea about it. And some might not care to mention it at all, even if they know about it.

Yet again, for most users, this wont matter.
Each model will probably have a slight advantage in one area or another.

And when it comes to reviews, you can never expect the same result at home, anyway, so they do not tell the full story. Most reviews, if not all, comes without reference images by a calibrated professional camera, so looking at the images, we have no idea what they should look like in terms of white-balance and color balance.

But, yes, there might be some clear differences between the two, where one would really perfer one over the other.
If this Isocell thing works this time around, it sounds promising. I think Sony also makes sensors, with similar tech (was it Sony that called this tech deep trench, or something like that), but not on the one used in the S7 as far as I know. The problem is, that even if it works, I would expect the processing algorithms for the Sony sensor to be more mature, so that the hardware advantage of the Samsung sensor, if there is any, is more than made up for by better processing of the image from the Sony sensor.
I would really like to see a shootout here on GSMarena, of the both sensors. And I would love to see an updated shootout, if the drivers/processing gets updated, because if they released info on the sensor now, and it's already in some units, I suspect that those drivers might not be "perfected".

  • AnonD-352484

Omar Mohamed, 09 Mar 2016Why the hell didn't they made 16:9 ratio???!!!!Could have marketing reasons as well. Because of geometry, the same amount of pixels with the same size in 16:9 format would result in a larger sensor diagonal. That means, with the same optics, it would not be F/1.7 anymore but F/1.8. That sounds less spectacular (evenif its actually the exact same lens). For a F/1.7 with a bigger sensor was no space left in the device, tecamera humb would have been bigger for example and they didn't want that (actually, that camera has the same size than the galaxy s6, the camera humb is only smaller because the rest of the device around is 1mm thicker :D)

  • Anonymous

It will prolly end up in later batches of the S7. Just like the S6 with IMX240 and ISOCELL.

  • AnonD-152638

Omar Mohamed, 09 Mar 2016Why the hell didn't they made 16:9 ratio???!!!!I can think of a few reasons, the photographic world i still stuck on more squarish format, even though 16:9 does not even match our eyes aspects ratio.

The most likely;
Image circle by the optics.
The optics will result in a circular image.
Circular images has never really been considered a pratical format.
Then the best would be to use a square, but that is not really a standard format.

And then there is the controls in the software.
By using an image that leaves black borders you have places to put on-screen controls.
If the controls sit on top of the image, your brain will have a hard time imagining what the image looks like, even if those controls are semi-transaprent. You brain would focus mostly on the un-obstracted part of the image.

And then there is printing and collecting and framing
Although people mostly look at images on their screens these days, if you want to print it, and put it in a frame, album or a binder, you will have a much harder time finding a solution that matches the widescreen image.

  • F.g.h.t

AnonD-427137, 09 Mar 2016Really wish they didn't do this, I have the s6 with the sam... morewhich one is better????

  • AnonD-152638

AnonD-183110, 09 Mar 2016hah. Based on physical sensor size (area). Which is 3-4 tim... moreSensor size actually does not mean anything at all.
What might be important is pixel size.
However, with development in pixel-technology, as well as processing, pixels can over time become smaller, but still have the same or better performance.
Look at the pro-sumer line of full frame DSLRs. They have more pixels than they had only a few years back, but they are better in every imaging aspect.
But using newer tech, they could have used the same sized pixels, and outclassed the performance of the old sensors. But Many people were asking for resolution as well. So most of the time, it's a compromise, where not all efforts were put in to better performance, some of it what used to increase the resolution. But the important thing is their performance improved, even though pixels were made smaller.
However, the much smaller pixels in mobiles, has no chance against those DSLRs. And mostly they are too small for their own best.
This is especially apparent in low light situation. (OIS is good, but only when objects are completely still, the LED/flash only works for short distances, most of the time, even with OIS, your low light photos will be way to blurred to be useable)
Sony did make a high end DSLR with lower resolution, that did offer better lowlight performance than the rest of their line. But it seemed mostly aimed at Videos, so for anything but extreme low light situations, it struggled against competition.

However, the S7 seems to have even bigger pixels than those of the 808. S7 pixels are speced at 1.44um, whereas i find numbers between 1.34um to 1.4um for those of the 808.
So the S7 has newer tech and bigger pixels.
The actual captured resolution of the 808 and 1020, were much lower than their sensor resolution, due to different aspects. I do think that the captured resolution in good light would be higher for the 808 and 1020, than that of the S7, but no way near as much higher as the specs say.

A bigger sensor means that more light lands on the surface area, assuming the F-number and shutter speed are the same. However, if the pixels are no better at capturing the light, that does not matter. The 808 had a higher F-number, meaning that the opening was smaller. I don't know the maths to calculate how much light that hit the complete sensor area, so I don't know if the S7 or 808 get more light per square millimeter (or actually more relevant, more light light per pixel).

With a bigger surface area and the same F-number you can also have more background separation.
But yet again, that is with the same F-number, and the 808 does not have the same f-number as the S7.

Googling surface area on pixels sensor, will probably lead you to a lot of missinformed threads on the net.
The only conclusion you can make from the surface area in relation to the F-number is how much background separation you might get. And even then, the aperture leaves can have an impact on the look of the background separation.
For anything else, you actually need to know the performance of the pixels, and there is not standard for that, so there is really no way of knowing.
Most of the time, there is a relation between sensor size, and price/targeted audience. Where the bigger sensor cameras are more expensive, and aimed at a more critical audience, thus you can often assume that bigger sensor is also better sensor.
And you can pretty much assume that the small optics and small pixels of a mobile will be outperformed even by the entry level DSLRs or mirrorless with micro four thirds or APS-c sensors.
But not all compact cameras can outperform mobiles, most of them have sensors at the same size as mobiles, but bigger optics. Most have the advantage of optical zoom, but at the same wide angle setting the mobile will be better than most compact cameras, due to their higher F-number and better tuned optics. So if you don't really need the zoom, the mobiles might have a clear advatage.

  • Anonymous

Omar Mohamed, 09 Mar 2016Why the hell didn't they made 16:9 ratio???!!!!12MP aspect ratio different from 8MP/16MP

  • AnonD-4254

AnonD-442781, 09 Mar 2016They have to due to supply chain issues, and it doesn't mat... moreAs long as the specs are same, I the customer won't care... Bring another sensor with the same performance, and I don't give a zilch.

But in real world,
YES, Snapdragon 820 and Exynos 8890 perform differently.
YES, Samsung and Sony sensors are different,
That makes it an ethical issue.

  • AnonD-4254

Anonymous, 09 Mar 2016Which phone maker puts the type sensor on the box? LOLThat's my point, these all companies should put it on the box, even if its a fine print...
We sometimes end up purchasing seeing stuff on internet, and later get deceived.

In 2006, I purchased Nokia N91 seeing adverts that it has all sorta features (for those days) including 3G and Wifi. Guess what? Indian model N91-5 didn't have 3G or Wifi at all. I got deceived because the official website had no such information. Was I, the customer wrong?
(Keep aside for a moment that N91 was the most brilliant music phone I ever had).

I know 3G was not famous then, and Wifi was also rarely used, but do you honestly think its fair?

Why the hell didn't they made 16:9 ratio???!!!!

  • AnonD-442781

AnonD-4254, 09 Mar 2016I despise such business techniques. Which sensor Samsung h... moreThey have to due to supply chain issues, and it doesn't matter that they do because generally people don't care.

  • Anonymous

AnonD-127643, 09 Mar 2016Only in your tiny imagination it had any plus points over S... moreLittle boy it had an advantage in daylight while the sony sensor had advantage in lowlight. GSMArena did a comparison. Why don't people educate themselves before posting.... SMH

  • Anonymous

AnonD-4254, 09 Mar 2016I despise such business techniques. Which sensor Samsung h... moreWhich phone maker puts the type sensor on the box? LOL

  • Anonymous

AnonD-127643, 09 Mar 2016Hah and like their previous all hyped up isocell crap, this... morelike the apple user with the book sham eh.

  • Anonymous

AnonD-352484, 09 Mar 2016Had both, Sony sensor was better. Not by a lot but betterGSMArena did a test that proved otherwise. Go look it up.

  • AnonD-4254

I despise such business techniques.
Which sensor Samsung has used in their phone, the customer has a full right to know before purchasing the phone. Whether its superior or inferior, let the customer know about it.

It ethically should be typed on the box, what kind of sensor they're using, processors, chipsets, audio, etc.
Not only camera, all kinds of stuff should be clarified.

I detest this "mixed fashion" move.