Samsung announces new ISOCELL camera sensor for mobile devices, will likely debut on the Galaxy S5


Samsung ISOCELL sensor

We’re barely 5 months into the release of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Korean manufacturer is already giving us a sneak peek at some of the new hardware that will no doubt make a debut in their next flagship device. Announced via the Samsung Tomorrow blog is an all new 8MP CMOS image sensor for “premium” mobile devices dubbed ISOCEL (patent pending).

According to the Samsung, it was the ever increasing “market pressure” that lead them to develop ISOCELL, and is the reason why the came up with a new way to shrink down pixel size, while still improving camera performance. Thanks to a tiny physical barrier between pixels, ISOCELL is able to isolate each individual pixel on the camera sensor, enhancing image quality with less cross-pixel interference. The result is a solid low-light performer that produces 30% better dynamic range than current backside illuminated (BSI) sensors. Comparison image below.

Samsung ISOCELL camera comparison

Samsung even managed to shrink down the size of the entire camera unit, ensuring ISOCELL will be the perfect fit for a likely slimmer Galaxy phone. Samsung says the ISOCELL will go into mass production later this year, giving them ample time to equip them inside next year’s Samsung Galaxy S5.

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. pictures look great from their comparisons. unfortunately there will always be those people who say “they cheaped out on the camera, its only 8 mp”

    1. They’ll buy an iPhone and we can hopefully not hear from them.

      “Omg it’s got a #fingerprintscanner! #swag #nsa #iPhone”

      1. I like to give the finger to the iPhone

        1. Competition is good for the consumer! If Samsung looses all the competition, why would they then innovate? We might fall back into 1 liner black&white screens with physical keyboards…

          I hope Apple stays in the competition for those who like to think its better and I hope Nokia would rise back up, again for those who think its better. Then we, as Android users, get companies to innovate even faster so they can stay on top…

          I even hope Ubuntu Mobile and Firefox OS would get up too, but those are pretty much non-existent at the moment…

        2. You like to finger the iPhone? O.o

    2. If they shrink down the pixel they will not lower the count they will have to increase them. I’d say it will be at least 20 mp (the s800 can handle 21mp).

      Expect them to come up with a “cool” name too . S-pixels, superpixels, micropixels…… something.

      1. I like S-pixels.

      2. Galaxy Pixel?

  2. Looks promising, wanna see some reviews soon!

  3. When sensors can control the ISO individually in each pixel we gonna have a good DR.

    1. If that happened I would cry lol

      1. liololololololololololololololol

    2. That sounds equivalent to one frame HDR. Is it ever going to happen?

      1. I think that can happen when the sensor’s technology improve and that’s the way our retina works.

  4. *salivating*

  5. Am I the only one that thinks those two pictures look exactly the same?

    1. The picture on the right doesn’t appear as white-washed.

      1. while retaining the same quality for the shaded area. it’s like AUTO HDR. Awesome.

        1. I didn’t catch that at first but you’re right. And oh how awesome it is.

    2. Like John said, the picture on the right does not have the washed out looked on the yellow part of the flower. But, beside that, they look pretty much the same.

    3. are you blind… can’t you tell one is extremly over exposed.

      1. Are you ok man?

      2. youmadbro? Seriously, why the personal attack? Did it at least make you feel better? I hope so.

        1. why would I be mad lol? I’d say it to my close friends just as easily. where’s the humor!

          1. Where’s the manners?

          2. what are you born yesterday? this is the internet. i mean good night..

          3. Again with the insults. I really do hope that they’re helping you feel better about yourself. It must take quite a bit to make any difference.

          4. I like sarcastic people like that. They make me laugh. =.3

            So yes, I just laughed at that little conversation y’all just had. LoL!!

  6. I’m sure this new technology is great, but in all honesty, I’m not seeing the difference between these comparison pictures.

    1. Set the brightness at 100% you will see the difference.

    2. These are super close ups. Left image has some white on the petals while right image doesn’t.

      I’m not to sure what that dictates, but it shows that something has been changed.

  7. I hope it does better color accuracy because the current camera in the S4 is terrible at capturing oranges, reds and pinks of sunset/sunrises.

  8. What a really crappy comparison of photos. Looks barely any better. At that magnification its nearly pointless.

    1. Maybe it’s your monitor – the ISOCELL pic is not washed out like the other.

      1. Maybe. I just put in a new AUO 1080P screen in my laptop. I see its washed out, a little. But then again I guess it doesnt matter that much to me. Im glad they are making strides to improve image quality. But this slight bump seems moot

        1. They’re mostly showcasing the increase in dynamic range being captured. The blown out highlights in the left image actually have detail in the right image and that’s the difference. I would imagine they’re using a higher bit depth to record the information now compared to before.

          What I’d really love to see is the ability to grab the RAW file so you can REALLY extract detail out of the shadows and highlights.

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