Samsung’s 50MP JN1 image sensor has the smallest pixels yet

Image for article titled Samsung's new 50MP image sensor has the smallest photo pixels yet

Screenshot: Samsung

Electronics manufacturers are always trying to miniaturize components whenever they can, and with its new Isocell JN1 sensor, Samsung claims to have created an image sensor with the smallest photo pixels in the world to date.

While it’s sometimes hard to appreciate advances in sensor technology, Samsung’s ability to cram a 50MP sensor with photo pixels measuring just 0.64 micrometers into a tiny 1/2.76-inch form factor is quite impressive, as it allows device manufacturers to support higher levels. – high resolution photos without taking up extra space inside the phone. And not only do the JN1’s dimensions make the sensor suitable for use on the front or back of a phone, it’s also 10% thinner.

Samsung says its JN1 sensor also comes with Isocell 2.0 technology, which the company claims improves light sensitivity by around 16%, as well as Double Super PD autofocus which includes special micro-lenses. oval shapes mounted on close pixel pairs to quickly detect changes in steps. Samsung claims this allows the JN1 to deliver the same fast autofocus performance compared to previous generation sensors with 60% less light.

Now, when it comes to low-light photography, smaller photo pixels are generally not a good thing, as a smaller sensor/pixel picks up less light, often resulting in lower quality, grainier images. However, by using quad pixel-binning on the JN1, Samsung can combine four near 0.64 micron pixels into a single large 1.28 micron pixel in low light to help increase overall light sensitivity. That said, like other sensors that use pixel binning in low light, this process results in lower resolution photos of 12.5MP, down from its usual 50MP shots.

In addition to this, Samsung claims that the JN1 also has Smart-ISO technology, which can adjust the conversion gain of the sensor depending on the environment. In bright light, the low ISO mode helps preserve highlights and detail in bright spots. In darker environments, the high ISO mode reduces noise and improves overall low-light performance.

Image for article titled Samsung's new 50MP image sensor has the smallest photo pixels yet

Screenshot: Samsung

But perhaps the most promising thing about the JN1 is that Samsung says it’s already in mass production, which means we could see Samsung’s tiny 50MP image sensor appear on devices from retail before the end of the year.

Michael C. Garrison