Quad Bayer sensors: what they are and what they are not

09 June 2019
Marketing departments are trying to sell you on the wrong thing - resolution isn't why these sensors are good, it's the better image processing.

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Additional info: The "um" used in the image is "Micrometer" which is 1/1000th of a milimeter.

My opinion: You know, I've seen enough samples to conclude that a 48MP downsampled into 12 MP looks no better than a noisy 12 MP image from a proper 12MP sensor.

My judgment is that, maybe the minor gaps between individual sub pixels are stealing the light. So, instead of 4 smaller pixels (with a "+" figure stealing light), I'd prefer the one bigger pixel, the old setup. Even daylight pics are noisy!!

We need to have a 12MP 1/2 inch sensor and see how it performs.., and my guess is, with a proper 1.6um, it will be far less noisy, with more dynamic range and more overall quality, without HDR.
With 1.4um we have few good examples, like Samsung Galaxy S10, and I believe the Sammy has better quality than this half inch 48MP sensor.

The single pic HDR stuff, like Huawei did, is a cool trick but with its demerits, as it is just using limited light.
(Due to half the sensor being used for high exposure pic, other half for low exposure pic, total light to each pic is lesser)
So, you get a result equal to the conventional HDR, but from an almost 1/3 inch sensor, not 1/2 inch, only benefit being that every pic can be delayless HDR, nothing else.

I'm not sure why Samsung is jumping into this, but I don't see the benefit yet. Even daytime pics are noisy on a pixel level, what is this??

Honor 20 pro 12mp shots surely feel great. No noise, plenty of detail, sharp like without bayer / downsampled from hi res.
No unnatural noise or processing.

12mp from 48mp is indeed the best as it stacks and removes noise without loosing detail and creates sharper images too.
But, what you get is 48mp so why not use it, with ultra clarity mode you can simulate normal Bayer, that's why view20 and 20pro are what can suck put the most out of sensor. Alternative would be shooting in raw several shots, but it takes longer that just stacking jpegs.

  • Anonymous

Excellent article! Just wanted to add that Samsung has been doing real-time HDR on their phones since the S5 with the same method these 48 mp sensors do. (naturally with a slight loss in sharpness)

Well having this in Upcomming Nokia 9 pureview with SD855 and 5x 64Mpix camers this will make camera phone which will be equal to proffesional DSLR cameras.

  • Anonymous

What about video recording?
Do they really benefit in low light?

  • Yann

Nice article. To some point.
When you write about Nokia 808, you should say that it not just the sensor, but combination with optics and dedicated imaging processor, which for that time was unique and amazing. All that combination led to unbeatable combination and 808 was camera king for years.
Not to mention that 808 had a physical shutter, cause electronic one was impossible for that time.
And all that in a single core CPU, clocked at 1,3 GHz with low 512 MB RAM. The AMOLED display was amazing! IT's contrast was unbeatable for years. Was a great camera phone for it's time.
Just a memories.