The Samsung Galaxy S11 is expected to feature a new 108 MP camera sensor
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While Samsung typically makes some of the best camera phones, only a select few would argue against the idea that the company's flagship phones take pictures a tad worse than Apple and Google's offerings. It's a bit hard to compete with those two in terms of image processing, so Samsung is set to go the Huawei route, by bumping up camera hardware.
According to popular leakster Ice Universe, the upcoming Galaxy S11 phones are likely to feature a 108 MP camera sensor. Right now, the only 108 MP sensor on the market is the ISOCELL Bright HMX, made by Samsung. It's only been used on the Mi Mix Alpha—a concept phone, which means we don't quite know how that sensor performs.
The Mi CC9 Pro will be launched tomorrow, though, and it'll sport that same sensor, so we won't have to wait for real-life performance results for much longer.
There are pros and cons to using a sensor of that size, of course. We're leaning towards the HMX outperforming the popular 48 MP IMX586 by quite a bit, though. For one, it's a much bigger sensor. Physical size, that is. It's the biggest on the market, in fact. However, like most will point out, the HMX has a 0.8μm pixel size. That's the same as the IMX586 but not as impressive as the 40 MP IMX600 Huawei is so fond of, which comes in at a 1.0μm pixel size.
While most claim that the 108 MP HMX Bright could be binned 9-in-1 to output 12 MP (or 12-in-1, 9 MP) images, they're most likely going to be disappointed. Samsung's official press release for the sensor makes it clear that it uses Tetracell 4-in-1 binning to output 27 MP images, with the same applicative 1.6μm pixel size as the popular IMX586.
With over 100 million effective pixels enabling extremely sharp photographs rich in detail, the ISOCELL Bright HMX also produces exceptional photos even in extreme lighting conditions. Being the first mobile image sensor to adopt a large 1/1.33-inch size, the HMX can absorb more light in low-lit settings than smaller sensors and its pixel-merging Tetracell technology allows the sensor to imitate big-pixel sensors, producing brighter 27Mp images.
While there will undoubtedly be benefits to using the HMX Bright over a sensor like the IMX586, it will likely be more in the zoom and details aspects, with what improvements that exist in low-light being due to improved optics and image processing. It is a step forward, though, and we're glad.
It must be said, however, that Ice Universe's tweet specifies that it will be a new sensor. It could be an issue with wording. Or it could mean a 108 MP sensor which isn't the ISOCELL Bright HMX, and we can get behind that.
The Galaxy S11 has a high probability of using a new 108MP sensor.— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) November 4, 2019