New Samsung smartphone camera sensor is a 64-megapixel monster

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Samsung 64-Mp smartphone camera sensor
How much detail can fit on a half-inch-square canvas? We'll find out.
Photo: Samsung

Samsung says it will begin mass production later this year on a 64-megapixel smartphone camera sensor, the most powerful salvo in the megapixel war among the smartphone companies.

A megapixel-packed half-inch sensor is only as good as the accompanying software and with highly regarded sensors in its current Galaxy smartphones, Samsung’s announcement today makes some rather exciting claims.

Sony began producing a 48-megapixel smartphone camera sensor last year, which was then the highest resolution in mobile photography. These are found in smartphones like Xiaomi, Huawei and Oppo.

Megapixels, the resolution of your camera, is the measurement of how large an image you can record. Normally the size of the sensor and the depth of each pixel matters more to the quality of an image.

A thin smartphone packs a ton of other features and doesn’t have space for a large sensor, so the Samsung technology merges four pixels into one to capture as many details as possible with software adjusting for the limitations.

According to Samsung, its new ISOCELL Bright GW1 will record a 64-megapixel image in bright light and a16-megapixel image in low-light, the lighting conditions where most smartphones fail. The GW1 has a power called Dual Conversion Gain, which converts the light recorded on the sensor into an electric signal based on the illumination of the environment.

The new sensor boasts of a real-time dynamic range, Samsung says, provides richer hues and more closely mimics what the human eye perceives in a mixed light setting. The GW1 also included a high-performance phase detection auto-focus system and HD video recording at 480 frames-per-second for slow motion captures.