South Korean giant Samsung has introduced a new 50-megapixel image sensor called Samsung ISOCELL GN2 which comes with large 1.4 micrometer pixels. Successor to the Samsung ISOCELL GN1, the ISOCELL GN2 offers up to 100-megapixel imaging, improved auto-focus through a dual pixel technology, powerful HDR, and vivid results though Smart ISO Pro, which takes care of the surrounding environment to provide clear images. The new Samsung ISOCELL GN2 sensor has already gone into mass production. Hence, it can be expected to feature on smartphones that are launched later this year.
The ISOCELL GN2 is a versatile image sensor. With 50 million 1.4μm-sized pixels, the GN2 offers exceptionally detailed photographs in regular settings, according to Samsung. In low-lit environments, the sensor can simulate a larger 2.8μm-sized pixels with four-pixel-binning technology to absorb more light, which leads to brighter and sharper images. “Our new ISOCELL GN2 features Dual Pixel Pro, an innovative all-direction auto-focusing solution that elevates the agility to capture moments as they unfold. Adding on Smart ISO Pro and a variety of advanced pixel technologies, pictures from GN2 are more true-to-life than ever,” Samsung’s executive vice president of sensor business said.
The Samsung ISOCELL GN2 also results in more detailed photographs and the images are better suited for post-processing techniques like image cropping, as it can take pictures in 100-megapixel resolutions. In 100-megapixel mode, the Samsung ISOCELL GN2 re-arranges the colour pixels using an intelligent re-mosaic algorithm, which creates three individual layers of 50-megapixel frames in green, red, and blue. These frames are then up-scaled and merged to produce a single ultra-high 100-megapixel resolution photograph.
The ISOCELL GN2 is Samsung’s first image sensor to offer Dual Pixel Pro feature – the company’s most advanced phase-detection auto-focus solution yet. By employing two photodiodes within every pixel of the image sensor, Dual Pixel Pro makes use of one hundred million phase detecting agents for ultra-fast auto-focusing. In addition, the solution also offers all-direction focusing by splitting the pixels not only vertically, as with Dual Pixel, but also diagonally. This diagonal cut allows the focusing agents to better recognise the top and bottom of the frame, allowing the sensor to get in focus quickly even when there are no pattern changes in a horizontal direction. Low-light focusing and tracking of moving objects are improved as well, as every pixel of the sensor works as focusing agents.
For taking pictures in mixed-light environments, such as sunsets or indoors with daylight coming through a window, the GN2 increases its dynamic range with a staggered-HDR feature, a time-multiplexed HDR technology that uses rolling shutters over the same pixel arrays to capture multiple frames in short, middle, and long exposures. By maximizing the dynamic range, staggered-HDR ensures rich detail and vivid color in highlights and dark shadows within the scene, making it an ideal solution for shooting high-contrast sights. Staggered-HDR is able to reduce the energy consumption of a sensor by up to 24-percent when compared to the predecessor’s real-time HDR mode, contributing to improved energy efficiency of the overall system.
The GN2 also comes with Smart ISO and Smart ISO Pro. Smart ISO intelligently sets the sensor’s conversion gain, allowing the picture to be taken using an optimal ISO; low ISO for brighter outdoors or high for dimmer indoors. Unlike Smart ISO, which uses readouts from a single ISO per picture, Smart ISO Pro, which uses an intra-scene dual conversion gain (iDCG) solution, takes readouts from both high and low ISO to instantly create high dynamic range images with less motion-artifacts. In addition, in extreme low-light, Smart ISO Pro quickly takes and processes multiple frames in high ISO, raising the light sensitivity close to one-million ISOs and taking mobile night photography to greater heights.