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Samsung breaks pixel-size records with the new 50MP ISOCELL JN1 sensor

Samsung shows off some  ISOCELL JN1 samples. (Source: Samsung)
Samsung shows off some ISOCELL JN1 samples. (Source: Samsung)
Samsung has delivered on an earlier teaser with the launch of the ISOCELL JN1 camera for mobile devices today (June 10, 2021). It packs the industry's smallest pixel size of 0.64 microns, which fits in well with its relatively tiny overall size. The OEM asserts that it is ready to become the main, wide, ultra-wide or telephoto camera of the mid-range to flagship phones of the immediate future.

Samsung's latest high-end image sensor is the ISOCELL GN2, which has a resolution of 50MP. Now, it claims to have democratized this spec somewhat by gracing the latest member of this mobile camera series, the JN1, with the same. The OEM is now pitching it at smartphone makers for their next-gen premium to mid-range devices.

The JN1 also combines the "industry's smallest" pixel size - 0.64 microns (µm) with this resolution, which might enhance detail in photos taken with the new sensor. It is also rated for Smart ISO, which adapts the gain in response to the ambient light-levels detected. 

The new ISOCELL JN1 also offers "improved" Double Super Phase-Detect (or Double Super PD) to enhance its autofocus capabilities. This technology doubles the pixel density used for PD compared to its predecessor Super PD (1/16 as opposed to 1/32), and can also do so in up to 60% less light.

On the other hand, there is no mention of fancy 8K specs here - Samsung only specifies 4K at 60fps or FHD at 240fps with respect to the new sensor. The JN1's ISOCELL 2.0 level of enhancement also supports 4-in-1 pixel-binning (giving 1.28μm pixels adding up to 12.5MP images with four times the light sensitivity) rather than the top-end 9-in-1 technique found in phones such as the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

In addition, the sensor's overall size is 1/2.76 inches: admittedly not a patch on the 1/1.12-inch dimensions of the GN2 or the exact 1/1 inches of a rumored upcoming Sony flagship. On the other hand, Samsung asserts that this size makes the JN1 backwards-compatible with other existing camera components already used by OEMs, thus making its uptake for any kind of rear camera type popular these days (telephoto, wide-angle or ultrawide-angle) that much easier.

Therefore, Samsung is confident the JN1 will uphold its new tagline ("ISOCELL for Everyone") in the near future. The OEM has stated that it is in mass production as of now, but has not mentioned whether test units of this improved compact new sensor are in the hands of other OEMs yet.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 06 > Samsung breaks pixel-size records with the new 50MP ISOCELL JN1 sensor
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2021-06-10 (Update: 2021-06-10)