Samsung Isocell CMOS sensors

Samsung’s Isocell CMOS sensors are some of the most ubiquitous cameras sensors used in smartphones today.

Samsung had always played second fiddle to Sony in the camera sensor market. This was especially true in the smartphone segment but Samsung seems to be stepping up.

Samsung Isocell CMOS sensors are made available by the company to other smartphone OEMs. As a result, they are the go-to sensor for many smartphone makers.

The GM1 on the Redmi Note 7 which I have used extensively is very good. The GW1 is also another really good one and the HM2 is a class apart.


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Technology

Samsung Isocell CMOS sensors uses what is known as CMOS technology. CMOS sensors capture pictures bit by bit. They are also cheaper and easier to produce than other types of image sensors.

Samsung has modified this technology and calls it Isocell. Isocell technology had undergone several transformations and has matured through the years.

There has been several iterations of these technology. They include:

  1. FSI
  2. BSI
  3. Isocell
  4. Isocell +
  5. Isocell 2.0
  6. Isocell 3.0

Isocell 3.0 is currently Samsung’s most cutting edge image sensor tech.


Recommended: Color filter and Pixel binning explained


CFA and Pixel binning

Samsung also uses several types of color filter arrays (CFA) and pixel binning techniques for it’s sensors.

These include black and white (monochrome), red, green and blue (RGB 2 by 2), Tetracell (4 by 4) and Nonacell (9 by 9).


Samsung Isocell CMOS sensors

NameResolutionTechPixel sizeSensor size
HP1200MPIsocell 3.00.64μm1/1.22"
HM3108MPIsocell +0.8μm1/1.33"
HM2108MPIsocell +0.7μm1/1.52"
HM1108MPIsocell +0.8μm1/1.33"
HMX108MPIsocell +0.8μm1/1.33"
GN550MPIsocell 2.01.0μm1/1.57"
GN250MPIsocell +1.4μm1/1.12"
GN150MPIsocell +1.2μm1/1.31"
GW364MPIsocell +0.7μm1/1.97"
GW264MPIsocell +0.8μm1/1.72"
GW164MPIsocell +0.8μm1/1.72"
JN150MPIsocell 2.00.64μm1/2.76"
GM548MPIsocell 2.00.7μm1/2.55"
GM248MPIsocell +0.8μm1/2.0"
GM148MPIsocell +0.8μm1/2.0"
GH143.7MPIsocell +0.7μm1/2.65"
GD132MPIsocell +0.8μm1/2.8"
SAK2L312.2MPIsocell1.4μm1/2.6"
2L112.2MPIsocell1.4μm1/2.55"
2L212.2MPIsocell1.4μm1/2.55"
2L3/2L412.2MPIsocell1.4μm1/2.55"
2L712.2MPIsocell1.4μm1/2.56"
2L812.2MPIsocell1.28μm1/2.8"
2L912.2MPIsocell1.4μm1/2.55"
2LD12.2MPIsocell +1.8μm1/1.76"
2M813MPIsocell1.34μm1/2.6"
2P216MPIsocell1.12μm1/2.6"
2P716MPIsocell1.12μm1/2.8"
2P816MPIsocell1.12μm1/2.6"
2T820MPIsocell1.1μm1/2.6"
3P916MPIsocell1.0μm1/3.1"

Ranking

In terms of performance and ability, Samsung sensors are rated in the following way.

  • H
  • GN
  • GM
  • JN
  • GM

The L series are also very good but they’re starting to age.


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