Samsung this week introduced the industry's first 108 megapixel image sensor for smartphones. Samsung ISOCELL Bright HMX has promised to allow smartphones to take pictures that are comparable to those from DSLR cameras. One of the first handsets to use the new sensor was a phone from Xiaomi.
The flagship of the Samsung 108 MP ISOCELL Bright HMX is a relatively large 1 / 1.33-inch image sensor for smartphones. Thanks to the combination of its sheer size and the underlying sensor technology, the Bright HMX is designed to absorb more light than existing image sensors, allowing it to offer better images even in low light conditions. The sensor also supports 2×2 pixel-binning Tetracell technology, combining four pixels in one to produce a brighter 27 MP image. In addition, the ISOCELL Bright HMX features Samsung's Smart-ISO capability, which uses high ISOs in darker settings to reduce noise and low ISOs in brighter settings to improve pixel saturation .
When it comes to video, HMX supports recording at up to 6K (6016 x 3384) resolutions at 30 frames per second, with the same field-of-view as photo mode.
One thing to note is that while the 108 MP ISOCELL Bright HMX sensor can offer a relatively high resolution image, it is not a complete system in and of itself. Smartphone manufacturers need to use SoCs that can handle such a large sensor, both in terms of consumption of 108 MP output of the sensor, as well as the allocation of processing power (ISP and otherwise man) to handle all the post-processing expectations for a modern smartphone camera.
Samsung plans to begin mass production of the 108 MP ISOCELL Bright HMX image sensor later this month. Samsung, meanwhile, has confirmed that partner Xiaomi will be the first to use the sensor, though the companies have not said what that device will be.