Samsung announces ISOCELL HPX, the Galaxy S23 version of the 200MP sensor sold to the competition

A year after Samsung announced the ISOCELL HP1, the first 200MP photo sensor for mobile phones, it’s time to learn about the ISOCELL HPX, a solution for the same but better resolution photos.

The ISOCELL HP1 has already become an almost commonplace sight, and can be found equipping many flagship-killer smartphone products such as the Xiaomi 12T Pro and Motorola Edge 30 Ultra. As for its advantages, these are still debatable. On the one hand, pictures taken at 12.5MP resolution using the pixel-binning process in 16-to-1 mode look great even in less than ideal lighting conditions. As for the 200MP resolution, this generally appears as an optional setting in the capture app menus and is not intended for permanent use. The reason is a simple one: such a high resolution comes with the trade-off of low light sensitivity, meaning that plenty of sunlight is needed to get sharp enough pictures. Otherwise, the quality of 200MP pictures will be inferior to the 12.55MP pictures obtained by ‘clever’ use of the optical sensor. We can assume that the same will be the case with the new ISOCELL HPX sensor, the 200MP resolution coming more to complete the phone’s list of technical specifications, to be used in absolutely ideal shooting conditions.

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According to specifications provided by Samsung, the ISOCELL HP1 uses 0.56 μm pixel size and includes a low-light mode that delivers high quality 12.5MP resolution images, simulating a pixel size of 2.24 μm, with greatly increased light sensitivity.

At the same time, Samsung also reconfirms a technology called ChameleonCell, a configurable pixel-binning implementation, supporting modes such as 2×2, 4×4 or native resolution, depending on ambient lighting conditions. So, in its most “low-end” mode, the ISOCELL HPX can group 16 adjacent pixels to make it easier to take pictures under artificial light, or even at night. In intermediate mode, we should be able to get 25MP (pixel-binning 8×4) or 50MP (4×4) resolution pictures with clear advantages in terms of light sensitivity and reduced electronic noise in the image.

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As for shooting modes, the ISOCELL HPX supports up to 8K/30fps resolution, but is more purposeful for 4K mode, being able to shoot at 60fps, the 200 million pixel sensor leaving considerable margins for compensating for unintentional hand movements by applying optical, digital, or hybrid stabilization.

The Samsung ISOCELL HPX sensor will likely officially debut on Galaxy S23 series phones, with Samsung only shipping this solution to rival manufacturers willing to pay a premium-level price.

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