Samsung explains wizardry of Galaxy S20 Ultra’s 108MP camera sensor


The Galaxy S20 Ultra’s claim to fame is no doubt the 108MP camera at its back. This is the highest-resolution camera yet on any Samsung smartphone, and, as expected, the Korean giant has gone into detail about how the 108MP camera sensor — called ISOCELL Bright HM1 — makes for “brighter ultra-high-res images.”

The wizardry behind the new sensor is a technology Samsung calls Nonacell. The Bright HM1 has 108 million 0.8 micrometer pixels, and using Nonacell technology, the sensor combines nine neighboring pixels to create a large pixel size of 2.4 micrometer. The photos you get are 12 megapixels in resolution, but thanks to Nonacell tech, the photos taken by the 108MP sensor benefit from much higher light absorption than any other smartphone camera sensor out there.

When multiple adjacent pixels are combined into one pixel, camera sensors usually suffer from color interference, but Samsung says its ISOCELL Plus technology makes sure that isn’t a concern on the S20 Ultra’s 108MP camera by placing physical barriers between each pixel. Samsung also says that the 108MP camera can create 12MP photos with 3x lossless digital zoom by “directly converting the pixels using an embedded hardware IP.”

Naturally, there are a lot of buzzwords that Samsung uses to explain its new camera sensor, but it does have us excited to see what the Galaxy S20 Ultra camera will be capable of. We’ll be reviewing the S20 Ultra (and its more humble siblings) in the near future, and in the meantime, you can read our hands-on impressions to find out what we thought about the phone after getting to play with it at Samsung Unpacked.