Samsung announces smaller camera sensors that should make the camera island thinner

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Samsung has announced camera sensors that should make the bulge of the cameras of future smartphones thinner. The sensors have smaller pixels and therefore a smaller surface, so that a shorter focal length is sufficient.

For example, according to Samsung, the Isocell HM2 sensor is 10 percent thinner than the HM1 sensor that Samsung included in the Galaxy S20 Ultra and Note 20 Ultra. This is because the individual pixels are no longer 0.8×0.8 micron, but 0.7×0.7 micron. As a result, the size of the sensor is not 69 square millimeters, but 59 square millimeters.

The smaller sensor surface allows the lens to be closer to the sensor and the lower focal length means that the thickening that smartphones now need for the camera can become thinner, Samsung claims.

The smaller pixels are also on the other sensors. Just like the GW2, the GW3 is a 64-megapixel sensor, but again with smaller pixels and therefore a smaller sensor – namely just over 30 square millimeters. That is slightly larger than the 48-megapixel sensors of the first generation last year.

Samsung has also announced a new 48-megapixel sensor, the GM5. According to the manufacturer, it is mainly intended for cameras with telephoto or ultra-wide angle lenses. Samsung uses a 48-megapixel sensor as a telephoto lens in its S20 Ultra. Because the sensor is now smaller, it fits more easily in a periscopic zoom setup, without making the phone much thicker.

The fourth sensor is the JD1, a 32-megapixel camera with small 0.7 micron pixels for front cameras.
The new sensors are all already in mass production and so could soon appear in smartphones, except for the GM5 – which will go into mass production sometime in the coming months. They are not the first camera sensors with pixels of 0.7 micron in size. Last year, Samsung already showed the GH1, a 43.7-megapixel sensor.

Samsung also says it is using a new version of its Isocell technology, which should improve performance despite the use of smaller pixels. According to Samsung, Isocell 2.0 contains a modified structure between the light-sensitive cells, which improves the light sensitivity by up to 12 percent compared to the current Isocell Plus technology.

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