Samsung’s latest super-large camera sensor is the “Isocell HP1”. It has a full 200 MP sensor, making it the highest-resolution smartphone camera sensor of all time. If you save an image of this at full resolution, you will end up with an image that is roughly 16,384 × 12,288.
Megapixels don’t matter – what’s far more important for image quality is the size of each pixel, as larger pixels (and larger sensors) capture more light. However, Samsung tries to cover both bases with pixel binning, which combines several pixels into one larger pixel for low-light situations. The HP1 has a “completely new” variable pixel binning technology called “ChameleonCell”, which divides the sensor into 2 × 2 or 4 × 4 depending on the amount of light.
At 4 × 4, you shorten the 200 MP sensor to 12.5 MP by merging sets of 16 pixels. This turns the 0.64 μm pixels with full resolution into a respectable 2.56 μm pixel, which, according to Samsung, “enables more light absorption and sensitivity and produces brighter and clearer photos indoors or in the evening”.
Enlarge / Samsung Pixel Binning Diagram.
Samsung’s other oversized sensor on the market is the GN2, which showed up in the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra and one or two other phones. The GN2 is only a 50MP sensor, but with quad-pixel binning the pixel size would be 2.8 µm. Overall, the GN2 is a larger sensor with larger pixels, so it should still be able to take better photos on paper.
Samsung says its 200 MP sensor is now being sampled. We are sure that some Android OEMs will soon accept the offer.