Samsung's Isocell sensor to boost low-light and colour performance

A new sensor developed by Samsung could help improve photos taken in low-light conditions by producing a more true representation of colour than existing sensors.

A new sensor developed by Samsung could help improve photos taken in low-light conditions by producing a more true representation of colour than existing sensors.

(Credit: Samsung)

Called Isocell, the sensor was announced on the Samsung Tomorrow blog, which outlined the benefits of this system. Many phone camera sensors on the market use backside-illuminated (BSI) technology, which reverses the traditional orientation of photodiodes so they sit towards the top of the sensor. This makes it easier for light to hit them, rather than it having to travel through a layer of wiring.

However, there are some limitations to BSI sensors, as they have traditionally been more expensive to manufacture. Also, as the demand for more megapixels or resolution increases, pixel size has to decrease to accommodate this on a small sensor, which can increase the chances of crosstalk between pixels.

The image created by a traditional backside-illuminated sensor on the left, with Samsung's Isocell sensor on the right. (Credit: Samsung)

Isocell tries to eliminate this crosstalk by forming a physical barrier between pixels, which in turn isolates each pixel. According to Samsung, this system reduces crosstalk by 30 per cent and will result in better colour rendition that's true to life. Dynamic range will also be boosted by 30 per cent. The Isocell sensor is also thinner than a traditional sensor, which means future camera units can be smaller.

At the moment, Isocell is currently being deployed in just one Samsung 8-megapixel sensor, which is due to hit mass production in the fourth quarter of this year. The Galaxy S4 currently uses a 13-megapixel sensor. The timing of the Isocell production run means that it's highly possible that it will make its debut in the Samsung Galaxy S5.

About the author

Lexy spent her formative years taking a lot of photos and dreaming in technicolor. Nothing much has changed now she's covering all things photography related for CNET from the Sydney office.

 

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