Samsung reignites megapixel battles with 108MP sensor

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Samsung and Xiaomi team up for new sensor
Megapixels aren't everything. But 108 is still impressive.
Photo: Xiamoi

The megapixel war among smartphone cameras is about to go nuclear.

Samsung today unveiled a 108MP camera sensor, an industry first that is headed for a future Xiaomi handset.

Xiaomi teased the news last week at a conference in Beijing that it will have the first smartphone with the new ISOCELL Bright HMX camera sensor, the website TechSpot reported.

The news comes as Apple prepares to release a new iPhone lineup next month. Critics predict the new iPhones will continue down the same path of incremental improvements. New iPhones are expected to have a three-camera array on the backplate, a first for Apple but a feature that other companies have had for more than a year.

The iPhone may have started the smartphone photography revolution. But competitors once considered mere clones, like Xiaomi, now have cameras with more advanced features.

The quality of images from Samsung’s ISOCELL Bright HMX sensor remains to be seen. The South Korean tech giant last spring announced a 64MP ISOCELL Bright sensor that has not yet debuted in a handset.

The newest sensor merges four neighboring pixels into a single larger pixel, meaning it can record a 27MP images in normal or low light. It also allows users to “re-mosaic” single images made in good light to be a full 108 MP, according to the photography news site PetaPixel.

For video, the ISOCELL Bright HMX can record 6K video at 30 fps.

“Xiaomi and Samsung have worked closely together from the early conceptual stage to production that has resulted in a groundbreaking 108Mp image sensor,” Xiaomi president Lin Bin said in a written statement. “We are very pleased that picture resolutions previously available only in a few top-tier DSLR cameras can now be designed into smartphones.”