Samsung's Isocell 2.0 pushes mobile camera technology forward

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,084   +131
Staff member
Recap: Samsung way back in 2013 introduced a new mobile camera technology called ISOCELL. As Tim noted in his feature on smartphone camera hardware a year later, Samsung with ISOCELL utilized physical barriers between each photodetector on their sensors to reduce crosstalk, which subsequently boosted color fidelity and let pixels absorb more light. The metallic material that Samsung used did its job, but there was still a small amount of optical loss because the grid absorbed a bit of incoming light. Now, the shortcomings are being addressed.

ISOCELL 2.0 is a new approach that consists of two parts. First, Samsung replaced the metallic grid between color filters with a new material. Phase two, which is happening now, involves replacing the lower part of the new color filter barriers with a more reflective material that further reduces optical loss. According to Samsung, this drastically improves light sensitivity, resulting in more vivid photos with even less noise.

Collectively, ISOCELL 2.0 allows smaller pixels in the image sensor to absorb more light. With cameras being such an important selling point for smartphones these days, any advantage or enhancement could give the company a leg up on the competition.

No word yet on which sensors will be the first to ship with ISOCELL 2.0.

Masthead credit Szasz-Fabian Jozsef

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p51d007

Posts: 2,691   +2,029
THAT has been the biggest problem. To get a photo in less than ideal lighting conditions, you have to turn up the gain on the image sensors. That signal to noise causes the "sparkles" you sometimes see in photos taken in low light, which now they use software to get rid of, resulting in a muddy photo. Making the pixels LARGER would be the better thing, instead of putting multiple image sensors, but, that would "ruin" the slim, sexy, stylish aspect of a smartphone. Hope this works. Could be the next "era" in smartphone cameras.
Personally, I prefer my d-slr and the multitude of lenses & filters, but, the best camera, is the one you have with you.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,793   +4,000
I would love to see a sensor like this in a dedicated astrophotography camera. I could care less about one being in a cell phone.
 

duckofdeath

Posts: 303   +409
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Uncle Al

Posts: 8,001   +6,775
Just rumored but I have read where Canon is looking at this technology and is trying to include it in their next generation of camera bodies. With the increased resolution to 90 mb it's going to be an incredible jump in camera technology and no doubt the same for phone/camera tech as well.

But I have to ponder the question .... like TV quality, at what point with the human eye no longer be able to distinguish the greater improvements? For certain applications like macro, the added sensitivity will result in greater resolution but for things like landscapes and portraits, when will it no longer be an advantage? Personally, I'm looking at the new digital back for my old Hassiblad 500cm. Their lenses still beat the best phone/camera phones, but not by much and I'm a little Leary about dropping $15K on a back when I can buy a top of the line camera for about 1/3rd of that. Still, that back can be mounted on a view camera back, allowing me to use the swings and tilts ... something no phone camera will be able to do in the near future ..... decisions, decisions ...... LOL
 

mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,809   +1,041
Just rumored but I have read where Canon is looking at this technology and is trying to include it in their next generation of camera bodies. With the increased resolution to 90 mb it's going to be an incredible jump in camera technology and no doubt the same for phone/camera tech as well.

But I have to ponder the question .... like TV quality, at what point with the human eye no longer be able to distinguish the greater improvements? For certain applications like macro, the added sensitivity will result in greater resolution but for things like landscapes and portraits, when will it no longer be an advantage? Personally, I'm looking at the new digital back for my old Hassiblad 500cm. Their lenses still beat the best phone/camera phones, but not by much and I'm a little Leary about dropping $15K on a back when I can buy a top of the line camera for about 1/3rd of that. Still, that back can be mounted on a view camera back, allowing me to use the swings and tilts ... something no phone camera will be able to do in the near future ..... decisions, decisions ...... LOL

For image sensors, we still have ways to go before we out-strip the potential of the human eye. Off the top of my head, the dynamic range of the human eye is significantly better than even the best camera sensors. Also, the human eyes uses a 'hexagonal' arrangement of its rods and cones, while most sensors are still laid out in a grid - though Fuji did previously experiment with a triangular arrangement of pixels in a senor, but it proved to expensive to be attractive.