What is Qualcomm Snapdragon Sight?

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Camera Lenses
(Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

What is Qualcomm Snapdragon Sight?

Best answer: Snapdragon Sight is the ISP (Image Signal Processor) introduced in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip. New features and faster speeds will certainly benefit both casual users and professionals, and the changes are so dramatic that Qualcomm has given the package its own branding.

The technical details

Qualcomm Snapdragon Sight

(Image credit: Qualcomm)

Qualcomm knows that people buying expensive phones demand a good camera, and it has done a lot of work on the hardware side to make phones with the best Android camera better than ever. A new platform was released with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip that looks like a major leap forward.

The platform is labeled Snapdragon Sight, and a new hardware chip powers it all. The ISP is filled with improvements over previous generations, starting with the ability to process 3.2 gigapixels per second which is a major boost over the Snapdragon 888's 2.7 gigapixels per second throughout.

Real-world performance is what matters and Snapdragon Sight should deliver.

In real-world use, this means the new platform can capture 240 12MP photos or 30 full-resolution 108MP photos every second. It can also handle three 36MP photos per second simultaneously for special shooting modes that use multiple cameras. It can also merge up to 30 frames into a single image for better night mode and low light photos.

It works at 18 bits per channel to greatly improve dynamic range — Qualcomm says a phone using the package can have four full stops of range —  and can export the uncompressed RAW 18-bit photos for professional editing.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Camera Viewfinder

(Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

On the video side, Snapdragon Sight has a maximum resolution of 8k 30fps, but it now supports both HDR10 and HDR+. The addition of simultaneous hardware and software image stabilization will help keep your video from looking shaky.

That isn't all, though. Qualcomm is now leveraging Artificial Intelligence through the ISP for improved auto-exposure and autofocus. A new addition is AI-enhanced facial tracking that can follow 300 facial landmarks (like lips or eyebrows), which is double what the previous generation ISP was capable of.

Which phones include Snapdragon Sight?

Galaxy S22 Ultra Green in leaves

(Image credit: Android Central / Andrew Myrick)

Snapdragon Sight launched with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, so you won't find it on older models. Since this is a new ISP, the list of products using it at the time of this writing isn't very long. 

We'll certainly see the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and Snapdragon Sight in more phones throughout 2022 and beyond.

Does this really matter?

Google Photos on a Pixel 6 Pro

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

It takes more than a great ISP to get good photos from your phone. Since everything comes through a tiny lens without much focal length, a lot of tech is required to give us photos we love.

Qualcomm seems to have made a major leap forward with Snapdragon Sight, and when paired with camera software that incorporates good, simple features we should be able to see a big difference.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.