Samsung’s new 50-megapixel camera sensor has the smallest pixels yet

Samsung is pushing the limits again on pixel sizes with its latest smartphone camera sensor. The Isocell JN1 fits 50 megapixels into a tiny 1/2.76-inch format for a pixel size of just 0.64 micrometers. That’s considerably smaller than the 0.7 micrometer pixels found on its 43.7-megapixel Isocell Slim GH1 sensor released back in 2019. “The new Isocell JN1 at 0.64μm will be able to equip tomorrow’s sleekest smartphones with ultra-high resolution mobile photographs,” said Samsung Electronics executive VP Duckhyun Chang. 

The tiny sensor size will be useful for multi-camera setups, letting smartphone designers use the sensor for front-facing, ultra-wide, telephoto or standard cameras, depending on the setup and resolution required. It will also reduce camera module thicknesses by around 10 percent, Samsung said. 

The problem with tiny pixels is that they can’t gather as much light as larger pixels. So, for low light shooting, the sensor combines four pixels in one, boosting light by four times while reducing the sensor resolution to 12.5 megapixels. On top of that, it uses Samsung’s new Isocell 2.0 tech that replaces metal barriers between color filters with a material that reduces light loss, boosting sensitivity up to 16 percent. 

The new sensor also incorporates Samsung’s “double super PD” (phase detect) autofocus with two times the phase detect pixel density, improving AF performance in low-light situations. The new sensor also supports 4K video at 60 fps or full HD at 240 fps. Samsung said the JN1 is now in mass production, so expect it to appear in new smartphones soon. 

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