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Samsung Isocell technology promises better image quality from mobile device sensors


Samsung recently revealed information about its new Isocell technology, which is designed to deliver better image quality from CMOS sensors despite the physical constraints of mobile device sensor size. As evidence of the need for technology to counteract small sensors with higher resolution, Samsung cites market research firm Techno System Research’s findings that about 66 percent of smartphones produced in 2014 will be equipped with 8 megapixel or higher sensors.

According to Samsung, Isocell technology creates a physical barrier “between neighboring pixels,” which enables each photodiode to absorb additional photons and, at the same time, minimizes electrical crosstalk between pixels. Samsung estimates that Isocell technology decreases this crosstalk by about 30 percent compared to BSI (back side illuminated) sensors. The end result is said to deliver more accurate color rendition and sharper images, particularly when captured under low light conditions, as well as broader dynamic range.

These two images compare a photo captured with a BSI (back side illuminated) sensor (left) and a sensor utilizing Samsung's new Isocell technology.

And, finally, with Isocell’s estimated 20 percent wider chief ray angle (CRA) camera module sizes can be kept small enough to fit within slender mobile device designs.

Samsung's first Isocell imager — the S5K4H5YB 8-megapixel sensor — is scheduled for mass production in Q4 2013, so it's likely we'll see how this new technology performs before the end of the year or early in 2014. 


Total comments: 9

Well... :|


That is not an improvement at all. Its basically calculating nearest neighbour colour for blown highlights and then doing a fill of that colour.

You can see this by the fact that the "after" shot is nearly just flat yellow. It's basically faking the colour and it looks like it.

I'd rather take the first picture; at least that has gradients and tones even if it lacks the dynamic range to fully express it.


So when Samsung says the technology "creates a physical barrier between neighboring pixels, which enables each photodiode to absorb additional photons and, at the same time, minimizes electrical crosstalk between pixels", what they REALLY mean to say is that "we're just faking the color with an algorithm"?

Enlightening. Thanks for clearing that up.



What’s your source for these claims of “doing a fill”, or painting the image in after the fact?

The Isocell image doesn’t appear to have an even yellow hue in the blown highlight area of the original. However that’s a tiny jpeg, so why are you making these statements without access to at least the full jpeg?

And again, on my monitor, even with only this small jpeg, there are differing degrees of yellow saturation in Isocell image of the blown areas of the original BSI image. But my monitor is really really good. And when I first looked at this image on a MacBook “retina” the difference was less clear.

Seems like promising tech.


Seems to me you don't know much about sensor-design.
If this was nearest neighbor, you would see at lot more color and contrast bleeding because of wrong guesses.

The design above more or less take guessing out of the question.
The "recovered" highlight you see is a result of less crosstalk between the pixels.


This is the kind of improvement we would like to see from a mobile phone. Not just a crappy OS update by some unnamed Company. =D

Oliver Lang

I think it's hilarious that even on a Samsung related article you can't help but mention iOS and Apple. Take a break from trolling, you've earned it!

1 upvote

Where in my post did I mention those words? =D

1 upvote

how many mobile devices had a major OS update? it's called inference.

Total comments: 9
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