Samsung Camera

30 percent less electrical noise will mean better low light pictures

Tonight Samsung has announced their new imaging sensor technology, named ISOCELL. They say that ISOCELL will substantially increase light sensitivity by "controlling the absorption of electrons", which results in better colors in low light. We're not so sure such a thing is even possible, but they do explain things a little bit.

Unlike BSI (Back Side Illumination), which Samsung says is actually pretty limited with how much it can affect your pictures in low light, ISOCELL has a barrier between each pixel. This will reduce electrical crosstalk by up to 30 percent, and as a side benefit allows a wider field of light absorption so the camera module can actually be thinner.

The first part to use this new tech is the 8MP S5K4H5YB, which is making the rounds to hardware partners right about now. We should see the sensors in high-end devices in Q4 of this year.

Sounds interesting, even under all the PR speak. The press announcement is after the break for those interested in a little reading.

Android Central

Image source: Samsung

Samsung Launches ISOCELL: Innovative Image Sensor Technology for Premium Mobile Devices

New 8-megapixel sensor is the first to sample with the ISOCELL technology applied

SEOUL, South Korea--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in advanced semiconductor solutions, today announced its new advanced pixel technology for CMOS image sensors, ISOCELL. This new technology substantially increases light sensitivity and effectively controls the absorption of electrons, resulting in higher color fidelity even in poor lighting conditions. ISOCELL improves the image quality and enhances the user experience of premium smartphones and tablets that integrate sensors with this exciting new technology.

“Through advances in pixel and process technology, smartphone and tablet cameras have made it easier than ever for consumers to capture and share beautiful, clear images with the world,” said Taehoon Kim, vice president of System LSI marketing, Samsung Electronics. “ISOCELL technology is yet another innovation that significantly raises the bar in image quality, and demonstrates Samsung’s technology leadership in image sensors for mobile devices.”

The quality of an image sensor is determined by the amount of light that is accurately captured by the individual pixels within the sensor array. With the market pressure to increase camera resolution and image quality, without growing the camera size, the pixels have had to shrink, while improving their performance at the same time – a challenging task.

To meet this challenge, previous sensor technology developments focused on improving the light absorption of each pixel, and have progressed pixel technology from FSI (Front Side Illumination) to BSI (Back Side Illumination) which places photodiode at the top to maximize photoelectric efficiency. While being very effective at the time, this BSI technology also faced limitations in improving image quality as pixel sizes continued to decrease.

Building on these past advances and continuing the push toward higher quality image sensors for mobile devices, Samsung has developed ISOCELL the next generation of pixel technology, which is patent pending. ISOCELL technology forms a physical barrier between neighboring pixels – isolating the pixel. This isolation enables more photons to be collected from the micro-lens and absorbed into the correct pixel’s photodiode minimizing undesired electrical crosstalk between pixels and allowing expanded full well capacity (FWC).

Compared to conventional BSI pixels, the ISOCELL pixels decrease the crosstalk by approximately 30 percent which results in higher color fidelity to reproduce the original color with sharpness and richness, and increase the full well capacity (FWC) by 30 percent which leads to greater dynamic range.

Additionally, an imager designed with ISOCELL can feature a 20 percent wider chief ray angle (CRA), reducing the height of the camera module. This makes it suitable for slim and small form factor mobile devices with challenging low z-height requirements.

As the first Samsung image sensor to adopt this new technology, the S5K4H5YB 8Megapixel imager utilizes a 1.12um ISOCELL pixel and has a 1/4inch optical format. The S5K4H5YB is currently sampling to customers with mass production scheduled for Q4 2013.

According to market research firm Techno System Research, in 2014, approximately 66 percent of smartphones will feature image sensors with 8Mp or higher resolution.


Reader comments

Samsung unveils ISOCELL image sensors for 'premium' mobile devices


Uh oh don't go backwards you will cue all the angry more MP or its a downgrade people. Love that they are improving their cameras especially in low light where they seem to struggle.

Now if they can just get OIS soon, my GS4 picture are so blurry that I switched to a HTC One and gets much better quality picture due to OIS canceling my shaky hand.

The Note 3 has some kind of image stabilization apparently but they aren't calling it optical image stabilization which leads me to believe it's probably some lame software solution.

Gsmarena found that the gs4 actually had more quality than the HTC one in low light pictures. I wouldn't say it struggles...

make the camera not bulgy at the back and i am sold.
it says thinner but i am not sold until i see it.

You do realize that's a photo of a current phone, and no current phone is using this new sensor yet.....

Puf! Don't they release we need to see leaked sample shots? For heavens sake Samsung, learn from your past, leak something now!

I would say "layoff the troll", but HTC will probably do that next week along with another 20% of their workforce.

Don't worry troll, they'll also put it in whatever phone you use that you don't understand is made almost entirely of Samsung parts.

Thank god, because the low light performance of the S4 is horrid. There is more noise in a photo taken with the camera than my first digital camera from 1997. Either the sensor is utter junk or the software is worthless. It is the one huge failing of the S4 phone in my honest opinion.

Worse than a 1997 digital camera you say? Must be pretty bad. My S4 is normal for what it is, a camera phone. It still needs some light, seeing that the sensor is tiny like every other camera phone out. A professional photographer will spend over $1000 just on a lens that takes good low light shots, on a camera that cost at least that much. Even the pureview has a long way to go.

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You do realize the S4 is renowned for having the best all around photos of any smartphone on the market, right?

The problem is your 97 digital camera is the size of a ham and your S4s camera is the size of a dime.

"You do realize the S4 is renowned for having the best all around photos of any smartphone on the market, right?"

No, it's not. Maybe on an Android phone but definitely not any smartphone. Not to say it's a bad camera when compared to the likes of the 1020 and the 5 but to say it's the best is stretching it.

People need to stop expecting camera phones to be a replacement for a real camera. If your camera phone doesn't take adequate night shots, or action shots or whatever, then get a REAL camera and quit complaining. Camera phones will never be on the same level as even the cheapest point-and-shoot camera because the light gathered by a camera phone lens is a *fraction* of that of a real camera. It's simple physics, and no amount of camera phone wizardry will change that.

My sentiments exactly. Besides, most people will just throw an ugly Instagram filter on it.

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Plus photos are truly exceptional given the size of their lenses and sensors.

I really think the gap between a stand alone camera and a phone is becoming so small that only professional photographers need the former. And this is one more step towards shrinking that gap.

"The gap between a stand alone camera and a phone is becoming so small...."

I bet you know nothing about professional photography otherwise you wouldn't post such a comment.

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Haters of Samsung will hate it all their life, even if Samsung do something good they wont admit it...

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Cheers! We aint one of 'em
I support what deserves to be liked.
HTC one for now.
Hate fanboyism

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I am pretty sure that ac this was the year of the camera, Another bullseye for them!

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