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Samsung’s new camera tech promises slim phones and low-light excellence

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Samsung has just announced that it’s kicking off mass production of a revolutionary new smartphone image sensor.

What’s special is that it’s the industry’s first 1.0μm pixel 16-megapixel CMOS image sensor for smartphone cameras.

That hunk of jargon means that instead of conventional 1.12μm pixels, Samsung’s sensors user smaller 1.0μm pixels.

That means that the sensor is 20 per cent smaller than current competitor sensors, which means the entire camera module can be made smaller.

As a result, Samsung's smartphone cameras won’t need to protrude so severely in future.

But surely if the pixels are smaller, the sensors would collect less light, right?

Apparently not. That’s because Samsung is using its proprietary ISOCELL technology, which means there are physical barriers between each pixel.

That helps reduce colour crosstalk, which means low light photography will be improved.

“This substantially increases light sensitivity and effectively controls the collection of photons, resulting in higher colour fidelity even in poor lighting conditions,” explains Samsung.

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So you’re probably wondering when we’re going to see the image sensor appear on smartphones?

Well our fingers our tightly crossed for a debut on Samsung’s much-rumoured Galaxy Note 5.

That’s the company’s upcoming phablet, which is expected to be announced on August 13 – that’s just two weeks away.

Unfortunately, that might be too close to see the sensor featured on the handset, especially if it’s only just being produced.

The more likely scenario is that we’ll see it next year on the Galaxy S7, although Samsung’s made no official announcement in that regard.

The biggest clue is that this is a 16-megapixel sensor, which means it’s most likely to appear on high-end or super mid-range devices – the Galaxy A-, S-, or Note series, for example.

Excitingly, Samsung will be selling this sensor to other manufacturers, which means we could see the improved camera capability on rival smartphones – that’ll be a refreshing change from a sector currently dominated by Sony’s CMOS business.

If you’re hankering for a new handset, check out our smartphone group test video below:

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