ISOCELL GN1 – Samsung Global Newsroom

Capable of capturing stunning HDR landscapes and low-light portraits, smartphone cameras have reached a point where they can produce professional quality photos. Today’s smartphone cameras combine multiple lenses with advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence, to deliver stunning images. Samsung’s ISOCELL image sensors are at the heart of these camera innovations, enabling users to capture every precious moment with premium image quality.

Samsung’s latest image sensor, the ISOCELL GN1, is a powerful 50-megapixel sensor with 1.2μm pixels. As Samsung’s first image sensor featuring both Tetracell and Dual Pixel technologies, the ISOCELL GN1 was designed to help users capture near-professional quality images in any environment with sharp focus. Ultra-fast autofocus comparable to that of DSLR cameras.

The video below showcases how the ISOCELL GN1 takes smartphone photography to the next level with its fast autofocus, high-resolution detail and vivid color capture even in low light conditions.

Stay focused

The speed at which a camera can focus on its subject can greatly influence a user’s shooting experience. Whether the subject is an up-close furry friend or a family group shot, fast autofocus can help you never miss a precious moment. In order to provide users with a super-fast autofocus experience, the ISOCELL GN1 leverages Dual Pixel technology with 100 million phase-detection focus units.

Each pixel of the ISOCELL GN1 consists of two photodiodes, which receive light rays from the sides of the micro lens above the pixel. The phase detection autofocus process then creates two “copies” of the image from the incoming light, one on each photodiode, which are evaluated by the sensor just as the human eye works. The lens elements then adjust until the two images are identical, indicating that the object is fully in focus in the camera’s field of view.

Phase detection autofocus is much faster than conventional contrast detection systems which analyze the contrast between edges and move the focus motor until that contrast is sharpest. However, the speed of the phase-detection autofocus process depends on the number of phase-detection pixels the sensor contains. Many smartphone sensors only feature phase detection activated pixels at a capacity of 5-10% of the total pixel count – but this is not the case for the ISOCELL GN1. With its Dual Pixel technology, the ISOCELL GN1 integrates two photodiodes in each pixel, which allows for a faster and more precise autofocus experience.

Larger pixels for crystal clear photos

Pixels capture light and turn it into data. They come in a range of different sizes, which will in turn affect the resolution of an image sensor. Smaller sensors enable ultra-high resolution images with razor-sharp detail, while larger pixels will receive more light and result in better light sensitivity for photos taken in low light conditions .

To provide manufacturers and consumers with a wider choice of pixel sizes – from large to microfine – Samsung has developed a variety of advanced technologies to improve both detail and light sensitivity to meet every need. The ISOCELL GN1 has 1.2μm pixels, almost twice as large as the small 0.8μm pixels found on other high-resolution sensors, so users can capture stunning, high-quality photos, even at night.

The sensor also features ISOCELL Plus, Samsung’s innovative pixel isolation technology that uses a physical barrier to isolate the pixels, allowing more light to be collected by the micro lens and then absorbed by the photodiodes. of the pixel. The result is higher color fidelity and improved light sensitivity so users can enjoy bright, color-accurate images in every photo they take.

Higher resolution for finer details

The ISOCELL GN1 offers 50 MP resolution at 8160 pixels by 6144 pixels thanks to its 1/1.31″ sensor size compared to the 48 MP resolution of the 1/2″ sensor size of conventional sensors with pixels smaller than 0.8 μm. Thanks to its Dual Pixel technology and software algorithms, photos taken with the ISOCELL GN1 can reach comparable image resolutions of up to 100MP.

The ISOCELL GN1’s 50 MP resolution means the ISOCELL GN1 is capable of capturing fine detail and gives users the power to crop their images without any dramatic loss in image quality. It also gives users the ability to downsize their images in post-processing to further reduce the amount of noise for even more stunning images.

High quality photos in all lighting conditions

Have you ever taken a night shot only for it to become too dark and blurry or too grainy? Shooting in low light presents the user with a number of technical hurdles, but thanks to the inclusion of Samsung’s Tetracell technology, the ISOCELL GN1 is able to capture crystal clear photos in all lighting conditions.

Unlike conventional RGB sensors, where pixels with different color filters are tiled, Samsung’s Tetracell sensors arrange pixels with the same color filter right next to each other in groups of four. When shooting in low light conditions, the sensor can treat these groups of four pixels as a single large pixel, which means more light is let into the sensor for brighter images with less blurring. noise. Since the ISOCELL GN1 features larger pixels than other sensors, the addition of Tetracell provides an even greater improvement in image quality for shooting in low light conditions, while in low light conditions. under intense lighting conditions, the sensor uses a re-mosaic algorithm to rearrange pixels into a conventional RGB pattern for higher resolution images.

Multiple exposure times for more vivid photos

In mixed lighting conditions, such as with a dimly lit subject against a bright background, it can be difficult for photographers to get the right dynamic range so that the light and dark areas of the image are properly exposed. Conventional HDR technology is used to solve this problem by taking multiple images and stacking them in post-processing to achieve a wider dynamic range in the final image. This same principle underlies the real-time HDR of the ISOCELL GN1.

Rather than taking sequential shots and stacking them, the ISOCELL GN1 leverages Tetracell technology to deliver better colors and improved detail in shadows, midtones and highlights.

Each pixel in a group of four takes the picture at different exposure times: two pixels take medium exposures, one takes a long exposure, and one takes a short exposure. This allows the sensor to capture light from the scene in front of it with greater precision. The ISOCELL GN1 combines information from these three exposure levels to produce a single-shot HDR image that the user can preview immediately.

Let in just the right amount of light

Native ISO determines an image sensor’s sensitivity to light and is determined by the value of the conversion gain. This value affects the full capacity of the well, or the amount of light the photodiodes can receive, and the noise level. Incorporating a fixed native ISO into an image sensor limits its ability to adapt to changing light environments.

Traditional image sensors often come with a single high native ISO. While this is useful for reducing noise in low light environments, a smaller full well capacitance makes these sensors less able to emphasize highlight areas in bright environments.

The ISOCELL GN1 features an additional low native ISO capable of responding accurately to bright environments, and its Smart-ISO technology selects the ideal conversion gain value for each lighting situation. The result is optimal dynamic range and reduced noise in all kinds of shooting conditions.

When shooting portraits at the beach on a sunny day, for example, it will choose the low native ISO to boost the full capacity of the well and extend the dynamic range for bright sections of the scene. If the camera were to use a high native ISO in these situations, the signal would be over-amplified, blowing out the bright sections and leaving little or no detail in these areas of the image.

Conversely, when taking selfies with friends on a night out, Smart-ISO technology will choose the highest native ISO to produce optimal brightness with less noise and capture more dynamic range in dark sections of the scene, bringing out every detail even in the shadow areas of your image.

Professional quality photography in the palm of your hand

The ISOCELL GN1 integrates many technologies in a small sensor. As Samsung’s first image sensor with both Dual Pixel and Tetracell technology, it equips your smartphone camera with the power to adapt to any environment so you can capture great photos no matter what lighting conditions you find yourself in. With this versatility, you can enjoy a full suite of pro-grade photography tools right from your smartphone.

Please visit ISOCELL Twitter and instagram to learn more.

Michael C. Garrison