Samsung has announced a new image sensor for smartphone cameras that is said to have the smallest pixels in the industry. The ISOCELL JN1 is a 50-megapixel sensor with a relatively tiny 1 / 2.76-inch format, which means that its pixels are only 0.64 μm in size. For comparison: Samsung already broke records in 2019 with the slightly larger ISOCELL Slim GH1, another 50 megapixel sensor with 0.7μm pixels.

Traditional camera wisdom says that smaller pixels usually result in poorer image quality with more noise. So why is Samsung doing this? According to the company, it’s all about the versatility of the form factor. The sensor’s smaller size means it can be used in ultra-wide or telecamera modules – difficult to construct when size is tight – or to reduce the height of the primary camera hump.

As with other high resolution camera sensors, the JN1 will use pixel binning technology that combines multiple pixels into one for greater light sensitivity. In this case, Samsung says the sensor will take 12.5 megapixel photos with an equivalent of 1.28 μm pixels, and the company also claims to increase photosensitivity by 16 percent with its ISOCELL 2.0 technology.

Unusually, Samsung even hosted a live streaming launch event for this sensor, which you can watch here:

According to Samsung, the JN1 is currently in mass production, so it will likely appear in smartphones soon.

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