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Samsung Introduces ISOCELL, an “Innovative” New Image Sensor Tech for Premium Smartphones


Samsung announced a new image sensor technology this morning for premium smartphones and tablets that “substantially increases light sensitivity and effectively controls the absorption of electrons, resulting in higher color fidelity even in poor lighting conditions.” It’s called ISOCELL, and it should enhance image quality and user experience as a new advanced pixel technology for CMOS sensors. With ISOCELL, there is a physical barrier between pixels that decreases crosstalk. In other words, you’ll see richer, sharper, and more accurate colors (sample image below). 


The technology is currently patent pending, but Samsung already has the technology built into an 8MP imager that utilizes a 1.12um ISOCELL pixel and has a 1/4inch optical format. It’s currently sampling, with mass production expected to begin in Q4 2013.

Since Samsung doesn’t have any other major phones on the 2013 calendar that we can think of, are we looking at the Galaxy S5 as one of the first to sport this new camera tech?

Via:  Samsung Tomorrow

  • TheRobotCow

    But the question every other consumer will ask is how does it compare to the iPhone? And how does it compare to the Nokia’s out there?


    Those 2 images look the same to me.

  • Sjschwar

    When are they putting Lytro cameras in phones?

  • nicholas cusmina

    They should call it isosame, because it looks the same… or maybe isoscam cause samsung sells cheap crap… idk

  • chudilo

    How does physically separating pixels cause this result? This is a CMOS sensor exposed to bright sunlight. DSLR CMOS sensors do not have this issue without physical pixel separation. This can be done in post process by applying less compression to color data and or reducing contrast.
    Eliminating Color bleed in the sensor would result in sharper edges between things of significantly different contrast Ex.: the edge between green and orange/yellow.

    • Mike Hilal

      Also consider that the processor/board for a DSLR is larger than all but the biggest smartphones on it’s own. Also, the sensor itslf is usually 24mm x 36mm and has the latest and greatest glass to utilize (vs a few thin pieces of tiny plastic set to a single focal length).

      The Raw data is what’s lacking on smartphones, and post can only do so much with what it’s given.

      Looking at this picture, it just seems to represent available light more accurately (and consequently look a bit better).

    • Mike

      When you move to a BSI architecture, you end with more some more crosstalk and bleed between cells. It’s one of the reasons that BSI sensors were so hard to make well until Sony pioneered them. This is a new variant of BSI that adds a little shielding reducing this even further. Nice incremental improvement in making cell phone cameras better.

      DSLR CMOS sensors utilize quite different architectures than a typical cell phone camera and those architectures are designed such that they don’t suffer these problems because they don’t have to put the sensor in a super thin, compact space.

  • MichaelFranz

    start the s5 hype beast???…god no please not now

  • SaraM

    Big Larry stopped by while I was reading this and dropped an air biscuit in my cube! Now my eyes are burning, and I can’t read the monitor. How can I get even with Big Larry??!!

  • AxemRed

    I’ll believe it when I see it. It sounds like another ultrapixel or clearpixel to me. I don’t mean to say that those are bad technologies, just that they weren’t as spectacular and game-changing as the marketing people led us to believe.

    • JoshGroff

      While it may not be game changing, the low light and macro capabilities of the HTC One camera is no joke. Perfect for those of us who use our phone camera for ebay listings and what not.

  • JBartcaps

    I’m having trouble seeing a big difference between the flowers.

    • BSI image is completely washed out with light. ISOCELL preserves the actual yellow color in the flower.

      • El_Big_CHRIS

        Took me a while to see it

      • JBartcaps

        O wow, okay now there is a difference

      • aznmode1

        For a second I felt I was playing that game where you compare 2 pictures
        and click on the area thats different from the other picture. But I
        would’ve failed til you mentioned the difference.

      • jose

        Yup, the WITHOUT image has completely blown out the highlights. This looks like more than just a gimmick.

  • EnX$$

    same crap just a marketing scam

    • T4rd
      • Weber

        I say this to people all too often, and the reference is always over people’s heads.

        • T4rd

          Lol, same here. I’ve been saying it to my wife for years and I still don’t think she knows where it’s from.

    • jose

      Find a new optometrist, like yesterday.

  • pd240

    New camera technology and according to BGR this morning a metal case for the S5. I am thinking this will be my next phone. The G2 should hold me over until then.

    • zurginator

      It was also rumored the Note 3 would be metal…. and the S4…. and the N2…. and the S3.

    • Cory_S

      BGR is shameless click bait. Half their stuff is total BS

      • Daeshaun Griffiths

        They also were the first tech site to go hands on with the OG. I pick and choose what i wanna read from them.

  • Gnex


    • Butters619

      You’re going to have to change your avatar soon

      • Gnex

        Haha I can’t wait for the Kit Kat easter egg.

  • Ian Smith

    Samsung will eventually sell this technology to other smartphones manufacturers so thankfully there is hope that I will still never have to buy a phone with TouchWiz in order to have access to this tech.

    • aospdouchey

      hey douche, root and install aosp.

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    Sammy nexus.

  • Rammstein

    Why doesn’t Samsung just keep this a secret up until the device reveal? Now all the other OEMs are going to try to replicate this.

    • Or they’ll buy them up from Samsung for their own phones and Samsung will only get richer. 😛

    • Ian

      2-words, Patent Pending. Samsung is shopping this around, they’ll make more money licensing it to other hardware OEMs.

    • zepfloyd

      Not replicate, license and supply other vendors. Samsung nearly makes more chips than anyone.

    • Mike

      It’s already out for sampling, meaning there are probably some prototype phones out there with this tech in them.

      They’re already shopping it around, so most smartphone manufacturers have probably been approached by them about it and had samples delivered for test/evaluation/prototype. Why not make the announcement and show that you own the tech before someone else does and then have all the news be “and with HTC’s new ISOCell camera….”

      In other words, marketing/brand recognition.

      Also, it says mass production in Q4 of this year……….might be a slight hint that some non-Samsung phone with this might be released in Q4.