The 108 MP sensor on the Galaxy S11+ will use 9-in-1 pixel-binning technology to devastating effect
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It's been known for a while that the Samsung Galaxy S11+'s main camera will be a 108 MP sensor, but it was only just revealed last week that the sensor would be a different one from the ISOCELL Bright HMX Xiaomi used on the Mi Note 10. We hypothesized that the major difference between the two sensors could be the use of 9-in-1 pixel binning, and that appears to be the case.
According to popular Samsung leakster Ice Universe, the 108 MP sensor on the Galaxy S11 will, indeed, utilize 9-in-1 pixel-binning technology. Samsung calls its 4-in-1 process "Tetracell Technology", so there's a chance the company will follow the logical naming scheme and call this "Nonacell Technology".
A big issue with high-res sensors has been pixel size, as having so many pixels spread across a surface area inherently limited by smartphone sizes results in small pixel sizes. Pixel binning has existed to counteract that but, until now, both Sony and Samsung had stuck with a 4-in-1 merging process that doubles pixel size—typically from 0.8µm to 1.6µm.
While the ISOCELL Bright HMX on the Mi Note 10 uses that 4-in-1 technique, the 108 MP sensor on the Galaxy S11+ will go a step further by using 9-in-1 merging, effectively tripling pixel size to 2.4µm. This, of course, means that the S11+ will likely bring game-changing camera performance. The closest to that pixel size on the market right now is the 40 MP IMX600 Huawei uses on its flagships, using 4-in-1 merging to output a 2µm pixel size.
It also means that the S11+'s final shots will be 12 MP images.
We'd be surprised if the Galaxy S11+ didn't—at least—match the Huawei P30 Pro in low-light conditions, with the bonus of avoiding all the issues the Huawei flagship's RYYB filter introduces.
Sadly, this sensor looks to be exclusive to the Galaxy S11+; odds are the S11 and S11e will feature different hardware.
S11+，108MP，9→1，12MP/2.4μm— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) December 15, 2019