Bigger isn’t always better – Samsung’s got a new, feature-filled 50MP camera sensor coming


Samsung’s had a thing for massive megapixel counts in its ISOCELL sensors of late, even if the results are sometimes a little… overzealously promoted. First, there was a 64MP sensor, then Samsung jumped to that giant 108MP effort. The next takes a step back, but it’s got a few extra features in it, so that’s all right.


Samsung’s new 50MP ISOCELL GN1 camera sensor is the sort of thing you’ll find in its upper-midrange devices, by the look of it. It combines the South Korean company’s Dual Pixel and Tetracell tech into the same sensor for the first time, giving it phase detection autofocus and low-light abilities.

The company makes some pretty bold claims about the new sensor. Not only does Dual Pixel support make it very responsive when snapping moving targets, but the sensors also “provides a software algorithm that takes light information from each photodiode to produce image resolutions comparable to 100MP.” Which… yeah, we’ll believe that when we see it in person.

The Tetracell claims are a little more believable because we’ve seen Samsung do it before. It bins four pixels into one, allowing the GN1 sensor to take brighter, more detailed images at 12.5MP in low-light conditions. This could be one of Samsung’s better cameras to date and if it’s available in more budget-minded handsets (like, for the under-R20k crowd), all the better.

The ISOCELL GN1 isn’t available in any handsets just yet, but Samsung says that production begins this month. Expect it in smartphones before the year is out. 


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Brett writes for Stuff's digital platform and edits Stuff's print magazine, in between reading science fiction and every Batman comic he can get his hands on.

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