Samsung patents an optical stabilization system similar to the sensor-shift technology in the iPhone 14 Pro

Samsung could take inspiration from the iPhone 14 Pro by equipping future Galaxy models with optical stabilisation at the image sensor.

Coming as a tacit acknowledgement of the Galaxy S22’s inferiority on the photo capabilities front, Samsung’s recently filed patent describes a smartphone version of sensor-shift technology originally developed for DSLR cameras and already adapted by Apple for use with the top-of-the-line iPhone 12 Pro, 13 Pro and 14 Pro.

Compared to conventional implementations of optical stabilization, sensor-shift technology acts only on the image sensor, while the lens remains attached to the camera body. Mechanically decoupled from the rest of the camera, the image sensor has much less inertia when performing stabilisation movements. The result is faster and more precise operation of the optical stabilisation system, reducing blur and improving image quality.

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The first rumors of Samsung’s “innovation” circulated as early as 2021, suggesting that the South Korean manufacturer might develop the feature in partnership with camera maker Olympus to include it on Galaxy S22 phones. In the meantime, neither the Olympus partnership rumour nor the one about using sensor-shift technology has materialised, with Samsung giving rival Apple the opportunity to become the first manufacturer to introduce this method of image stabilisation on a smartphone.

photo: Jerry Rig Everything YouTube

Unfortunately, the new optical stabilization method also has some drawbacks, already noted in the rival iPhone 14 Pro. Image stabilization based on motors coupled directly to the optical sensor to compensate for vibrations and involuntary hand movements can be extremely accurate, but it’s expensive to implement and raises the height of the camera as perceived from the perspective of the lens affixed to the back of the phone.

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Judging by early unofficial renderings of the Galaxy S23 Ultra design, which illustrate a camera-bump with similar height to that seen on the current S22 Ultra, it seems unlikely that Samsung has included sensor-shift technology in the arsenal of the next Galaxy S series of phones.

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