Samsung has announced a new image sensor for smartphone cameras with the smallest pixels in the industry. ISOCELL JN1 is a relatively small 1/2.76 inch format 50 megapixel sensor with a pixel size of only 0.64μm. For comparison, Samsung already set a slightly larger record in 2019 with the ISOCELL Slim GH1, another 50-megapixel sensor with 0.7μm pixels.
Conventional camera wisdom says that the smaller the pixels, the more noise and poorer picture quality in general. Why is Samsung doing this? According to the company, it’s about diversity in form factors. The sensor’s smaller size means it can be used for ultra-wide or telephoto camera modules (which are difficult to design when the size is premium), or as a way to reduce the height of the main camera bump.
Like other high-resolution camera sensors, the JN1 uses pixel binning technology, which combines multiple pixels into one for higher light sensitivity. In this case, Samsung says the sensor will capture 12.5 megapixel photos, equivalent to 1.28μm pixels, and the company claims that its ISOCELL 2.0 technology will boost light sensitivity by 16%.
Unusually, Samsung held a full live streaming launch event for this sensor. You can see it here.
Samsung says the JN1 is currently in mass production, so it’s likely to appear in smartphones soon.