Samsung’s huge cat photo could tease the Galaxy S23 camera

Cats are a popular photography subject, but for Samsung they’re apparently just as awesome test equipment for rating the quality of its most ambitious camera sensor to date, and it’s the one that will likely grace the Galaxy S23 series next year.

Samsung’s team tested the company’s in-development 200-megapixel smartphone camera sensor and ended up capturing and then printing a gigantic 616-square-meter canvas of a cat’s face, all to show the level of detail it can bring out. . Just to be clear here, the sensor wasn’t inside a phone. Instead, it was attached to a custom PCB without any further enhancements, so it could show off its true, pure potential.

The RAW image taken by the sensor was printed onto the massive canvas to bring out all the exposed detail in the color of the cat’s fur and eyes. This was apparently no easy task, as the entire canvas – which is about 1.5 times the size of a basketball court – had to be printed in 12 separate segments which were then stitched together, loaded onto a truck and deployed. on a building using a crane.

The effort here is commendable and the result also looks impressive. But not everyone is going to be snapping full 200-megapixel photos all the time when the camera sensor eventually finds its way inside a Samsung phone. In addition to being difficult to edit and post-process, these photos will eat up internal memory very quickly. Take, for example, full-resolution 108-megapixel photos captured by phones like the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which can reach around 20MB on average.

What is special about the sensor?

The camera sensor in question is the ISOCELL HP-1, and it’s touted as the industry’s first 200-megapixel smartphone camera sensor. The sensor has 0.64 micron pixels, which is significantly smaller than the pixel size of lower resolution camera sensors. In the world of camera sensors, the smaller the pixel size, the less data it can capture, producing images that aren’t as bright and detailed.

This is where pixel grouping technology comes into play. It basically combines adjacent pixels into a larger super-pixel that can bring in more optical data to produce better photos. In the case of the ISOCELL HP-1, it performs 16-in-1 pixel binning, using a technology called Chameleon Cell.

To put it simply, a 4×4 grid of 16 adjacent pixels is combined to create an artificially larger super-pixel with a massive size of 2.56 microns, while the effective photo resolution drops to a manageable 12.5 megapixels. The resulting oversized pixel absorbs more light to deliver well-lit, detail-rich photos even in low-light scenarios.

Samsung’s upcoming camera sensor is also capable of recording 8K video at 30 frames per second without any digital cropping. The company has yet to announce any concrete plans for the sensor, but if one were to make an educated guess, the next flagship Galaxy S series is the most likely candidate to be armed with this massive sensor. camera. Motorola is rumored to be working on a high-end phone with a 200-megapixel rear camera.

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Jack C. Nugent