Smartphone users rely on their devices for all their photography, and manufacturers in smartphone camera industry are only too happy to sell them sensors and cameras they call ‘Pro’. But increasingly it’s hard to tell what ‘Pro’ means, as the resolution and image quality vary dramatically sensor to sensor.
But photos with truly epic resolution and outstanding detail? That’s what we’ve been waiting for, and no mobile image sensor that currently calls itself ‘Pro’ has been able to pull it off.
Now, Samsung’s new ISOCELL HP3 offers extraordinary image detail with 200MP sensors. It’s a ‘Pro’ camera sensor that goes beyond ‘Pro’.
The ISOCELL HP3 combines a number of new, cutting-edge technologies that together create a smartphone camera with ultra-high resolution, clear low-light image, quick autofocus, and smooth video. It will help users capture the perfect image in just a single shot.
What Is the ISOCELL HP3?
So, what makes it so special? The ISOCELL HP3 was designed using advanced technologies. With innovations like the industry’s smallest 0.56㎛-sized pixels, HDR images with 14-bit RAW output, and Tetra²pixel, the ISOCELL HP3 completely transforms smartphone photography.
But most important is the 200MP capability. It means the ISOCELL HP3 goes beyond what people now think of as ‘Pro’ sensors.
“There are countless smartphone cameras that call themselves “Pro”. But none can match the epic resolution and fine detail of 200MP,” said Sungsoo Choi, a member of the CIS TD Team for the ISOCELL HP3.
Why Samsung Developed the 200MP ISOCELL HP3
Always on the cutting edge of tech, Samsung released a 108MP sensor in 2019, which set a new standard for smartphone photography.
But other technologies in the mobile industry have changed since. Processor performance improved, ultra-high-definition images became better, 5G became more widespread, and smartphone storage capacity increased.
So Samsung launched its first 200MP with ISOCELL HP1 in 2021. It was a huge leap forward, but the ISOCELL HP3 adds other amazing features.
It’s Tetra²pixel technology enables four times smooth, ‘lossless zoom’. Even when zoomed in to the maximum, it maintains the same 12.5MP resolution that it does in preview mode. Also, 0.56㎛-sized pixels allow smartphones to be thinner and more stylish-looking. The 200MP capability is incredible for a sensor this small.
And there’s a lot more.
Industry’s smallest 0.56㎛ Pixel for Smartphone Image Sensor
In the end, so much of smartphone camera technology comes down to the pixels, and the ISOCELL HP3’s upgraded pixel technology means enhanced color.
“The 0.56㎛-sized pixel is designed to maximize the capacity of photo diode in a small pixel, while reducing the noise that can make digital photographs less distinct,” said Sungsoo Choi. “It really adds amazing qualities to the color.”
Brilliant Pictures, Even in the Dark
“This is one of the most impressive parts of the ISOCELL,” said Myoungoh Ki, on the Advanced Sensor Development Team. “Even photos taken in low-light come out bright and clear.”
This is another reason for Tetra²pixel technology. The fact that the ISOCELL can operate as either at 1.12㎛ or at 2.24㎛ sizes means that it can capture much more light information, even in low light conditions.
“People will be really impressed when they see how bright and clear these images are,” said Ki.
It also has three different modes available, optimizing for different light conditions: The 0.56㎛ 200MP is for bright lights; the 1.12㎛ 50MP for darker conditions; and 2.24㎛ 12.5MP for the very darkest environments.
Taking photos in dark conditions has always been one of the major challenges in photography, and the ISOCELL HP3 means users no longer have to think twice about it.
Capturing accurate and compelling color depth in digital photographs has also sometimes been a challenge. The ISOCELL HP3 improves on our predecessor models by providing 14-bit color depth, which provides literally trillions of possible color combinations – 64 times greater than image sensors with just 12-bit color depth.
There’s a neat trick to how it does this. The ISOCELL HP3 takes two different image readouts, one with either High ISO or Mid ISO and another with Low ISO, and the sensor then merges the two.
“The High ISO mode with higher conversion gain is what allows the final image to have definition as high as 14-bit. Also, since the two readouts are created simultaneously, the sensor can create an image with less motion artifact,” said Myoungoh Ki.
It also uses a staggered HDR to capture an image in three different exposures—long, medium, and short. Those three exposures are then merged into a single high dynamic range image. The result is a much more accurate and clearer picture of shadows and highlights – qualities that are often very hard to capture in photos.
Another important feature of the ISOCELL HP3 is its fast autofocus. You can capture the tiny detail in fast-moving subjects with little to no blur.
It uses Super QPD technology, where one micro-lens is laid over four pixels. Compared to Super PD, which can only compare the phase detection in horizontal direction, the upgraded Super QPD captures autofocus information both horizontally and vertically. Moreover, the walls in the center of each neighboring four photo diodes are removed to increase the light absorption. It means the ISOCELL HP3 can focus quickly and accurately.
Another huge step forward in the ISOCELL HP3: For the first time in our ultra-high resolution image sensor line-up, autofocus pixel density is 100%, which means all 200 million pixels are fully utilized at phase detection. It’s a truly remarkable improvement in performance.
Lastly, the ISOCELL HP3 captures amazing, lifelike 8K video. To do this requires at least 33MP. So the ISOCELL HP3 combines 200MP into 4-in-1 to make 50MP, then it fully utilizes the 33MP area with 1.12um-sized pixel to let you make a good use of ultra-high resolution.
In addition to supporting 8K video – which shoots at up to 30FPS – the ISOCELL HP3 features seamless dual HDR in 4K/FHD modes. It can switch between Smart-ISO Pro and Staggered HDR, which reduces the need to retouch or edit video later.
Samsung always aims high in its technological ambitions, and the ISOCELL HP3 has many impressive breakthroughs. Smartphone cameras have generally lagged the quality of standalone cameras, but Samsung is working to bring the quality above par so you can perfectly capture your memories using only your smartphone. You’ve heard of ‘Pro’ smartphone cameras? The ISOCELL HP3’s epic resolution takes ‘Pro’ smartphone sensors beyond ‘Pro’.