Megapixel race resumes as Honor and Xiaomi smartphones add 48MP cameras

Greg S

TS Evangelist

Earlier in the year Samsung and Sony each showed off their own 48MP imaging sensors intended for smartphones. Despite the fact that some of the best smartphone cameras on the market are still around the 12MP mark, there is a lot more to taking good pictures than raw numbers can show.

In fact, both imaging sensors are intended to make use of computational photography techniques to merge adjacent pixels for enhanced low light performance. Effectively, both sensors will still operate as though they are 12MP sensors in low light conditions, but with more surface area that gathers additional light.

Now that 2018 is coming to a close, Samsung's and Sony's sensors will finally be making their way into finished products. The Honor View 20 has been confirmed to make use of the Sony IMX586. Xiaomi is also readying a device with a 48MP camera for a January release, although accurate details on it are still scarce.

Current leaders in mobile photography such as the Google Pixel 3 and iPhone XS both utilize 12MP sensors that have 1.4µm pixel pitch. The IMX586 and Samsung's Isocell GM1 both have 0.8µm pixels but end up with an effective pixel size of 1.6µm when 4x oversampling is applied.

Higher resolution sensors have been packed into smartphones before, but image processing has never been more important. Google has proven that an average sensor can be turned into something extraordinary with some fancy software. What remains to be seen is how well Chinese rivals can implement software to take advantage of the latest hardware available.

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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
WOW .... With Canon only releasing a 50 MP model this year it appears that the phones will catch and surpass most camera's in the next couple of years. Of course there is that one model that boasts a 100 MP resolution, but it's days may be numbered as well. Of course, we haven't seen the price tag for this little beauty .... it could easily be more than a couple of grand ....... far too rich for a retiree's blood!
 

p51d007

TS Evangelist
The only "good" for more megapixels, especially in super tiny pinhole cameras, is for the crop/zoom
aspect. When zooming into a photo, the larger number of sensors cuts down on the loss of image detail.
In reality, an 8MP sensor, if the photo were printed, will produce an A3 size document.
The problem with increasing the pixel count, in super tiny sensors, is the amount of signal to noise you
can get along with crosstalk.
 
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