Samsung launches 108MP image sensor for smartphones

Samsung announced an 108-megapixel image sensor for mobile devices on Monday. Photo: Samsung. 

It's not uncommon to see smartphones with 48-megapixel sensors among 2019 edition phones– in fact, there are at least 67 with camera sensors 41-megapixels and above, according to phone enthusiast website GSMArena. If you thought that was overkill, smartphones with 100-megapixel sensors are coming soon - Samsung introduced its 108-megapixel (Mp) Samsung ISOCELL Bright HMX sensor Monday, which will enter mass production this month.   

The 1/1.33-inch sensor uses Samsung's Tetracell technology to merge four pixels into one, increasing light sensitivity to produce high-quality images in low-light conditions. The sensor is capable of taking 27-megapixel images in low-light situations, or at 108-megapixels in bright light. The sensor incorporates a mechanism known as Smart-ISO, which adjusts the sensor's ISO depending on the lighting conditions. It can also shoot 6K resolution (6016 x 3384) video at 30 fps (frames-per-second). The chip, developed in collaboration with Xiaomi is likely to make it to its next smartphone before the end of 2019, considering the Chinese electronics company had teased the possibility earlier this month.

"We are very pleased that picture resolutions previously available only in a few top-tier DSLR cameras can now be designed into smartphones," said Lin Bin, co-founder and president of Xiaomi in a press statement. 

The development highlights the speed of innovation in smartphone camera technology – in May 2019, Samsung had announced a 64-megapixel sensor for smartphones. Apart from sensor and lens technology, modern smartphones use time-of-flight sensors and a wide range of image optimization techniques to deliver market leading image quality.