Samsung pushes pixel size even further with new camera sensor

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Samsung has announced a new image sensor for smartphone cameras that claims to have the smallest pixels in the industry. The ISOCELL JN1 is a 50-megapixel sensor with a relatively small 1/2.76-inch size, which means that the pixels are only 0.64 m in size. For comparison: Samsung already broke records in 2019 with the slightly larger ISOCELL Slim GH1, another 50 megapixel sensor with 0.7 m pixels.

Conventional camera wisdom says that smaller pixels usually result in poorer image quality with more noise, so why is Samsung doing this? According to the company, it’s all about the versatility of the form factor. The sensor’s smaller size means it can be used in ultra-wide-angle or telephoto camera modules – which are difficult to design when size is limited – or as a way to reduce the height of the primary camera bump.

As with other high-resolution camera sensors, the JN1 uses pixel-binning technology that combines multiple pixels into one for higher light sensitivity. In this case, Samsung says the sensor will shoot 12.5 megapixels with the equivalent of 1.28 .m pixels, and the company also claims a 16 percent improvement in light sensitivity with its ISOCELL 2.0 technology.

Unusually, Samsung even held a full live-streamed launch event for this sensor, which you can watch here:

Samsung says the JN1 is currently in mass production, so it will likely appear in smartphones soon.