|Figure Samsung Electronics' new image sensor, ISOCELL GN2 / Courtesy of Samsung Electronics|
By Baek Byung-yeul
Samsung Electronics has begun mass-producing a new image sensor for smartphones, the ISOCELL GN2, which offers a more accurate auto-focusing feature, as part of efforts to bolster its presence in the fast-growing market.
An image sensor converts an optical image into an electronic signal, and Samsung said the ISOCELL GN2 has a new 50-megapixel sensor component with 1.4-micrometer-sized pixels.
"ISOCELL image sensors and their technologies have seen vast improvements to deliver the quality and performance one would expect from top-tier professional-grade cameras," Chang Duck-hyun, executive vice president of Samsung's sensor division, said Tuesday.
What distinguishes the new product from its predecessor, the ISOCELL GN1, is its Dual Pixel Pro technology that offers ultra-fast auto-focusing.
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, the company said.
"Our new ISOCELL GN2 features Dual Pixel Pro, an innovative all-direction auto-focusing system that boosts its ability 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," the executive said.
The ISOCELL GN2 also enables users to take much clearer shots as it features an increased dynamic range with a staggered HDR feature, which 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 system for shooting high-contrast scenes," the company said.
Samsung's staggered HDR feature is also able to reduce energy consumption by up to 24 percent of that used by the ISOCELL GN1, contributing to the improved energy efficiency of the overall system.
The ISOCELL GN2 also enables the shooting of full-HD videos at 480 frames-per-second or 4K at 120 fps, allowing users to record super-slow motion videos.
The global image sensor market has grown steadily on the back of soaring demand from not only IT devices but also automobiles. Industry analysts estimate Samsung's global share in 2020 was nearly 20 percent.
Samsung hopes to grab the biggest slice of the global non-memory chip market by 2030 and analysts said the company will continue to beef up its competency in image sensors, which are one of the core areas for system semiconductors.