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Samsung unveils a new 200MP smartphone camera sensor before its first hits the market

Samsung ISOCELL HP3
(Image credit: Samsung)

What you need to know

  • Samsung has announced an updated 200MP camera sensor.
  • The ISOCELL HP3 features smaller pixels than the previous version for a smaller profile.
  • The sensor can combine four or 16 pixels to output 50MP or 12.5MP images.
  • The new sensor can be sampled now by OEMs and will go into mass production this year.

Last year, Samsung announced an impressive-sounding 200MP smartphone camera sensor that we couldn't wait to get our hands on. Unfortunately, it hasn't arrived on any smartphones just yet, but the company has gone ahead and announced the follow-up ISOCELL HP3 sensor.

One of the most significant changes with this new 200MP camera sensor is the smaller pixel size. The ISOCELL HP3 (opens in new tab) features 0.56μm pixels, a tad smaller than the 0.64μm pixels found on its predecessor. Samsung says this smaller pixel size allows the sensor to fit in a 20% smaller space, which may appeal to OEMs interested in adopting it for their phones.

While smaller pixels usually mean less light capture, the ISOCELL HP3 utilizes pixel-binning to alleviate that downside. The sensor is able to merge four pixels to output 50MP images with a 1.12μm pixel size or a whopping 16 pixels to output a 12.5MP image with huge 2.24μm-pixels, ideal for low-light and nighttime capture.

The ISOCELL HP3 is capable of 8K video recording at 30FPS or 4K video at 120FPS, with "minimal loss in the field of view when taking 8K videos." The sensor also supports Super QPD for improved auto-focus and Smart-ISO Pro for better HDR capture.

It's unclear when we'll see the first ISOCELL HP3-equipped smartphone on the market, as its predecessor was announced in September and still hasn't appeared in a smartphone. The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra was rumored to sport the new sensor when it launches next year, but leaker Ice universe suggests otherwise, meaning the phone may stick to the 108MP sensor found on some of the best Android phones.

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Samsung says it will begin mass production of the sensor this year and that samples are already available.

Meanwhile, Motorola has teased a July launch for a smartphone believed to sport the ISOCELL HP1, which could help pave the way for a new era of smartphone imaging.

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.