Camera: Samsung ISOCELL GN2 and 50MP Sensor with All-Pixel Split-PD AF

Samsung has announced a successor to the ISOCELL GN1, called the ISOCELL GN2. This is a 50MP sensor as well, but it offers a larger sensor size (1/1.12”) and bigger pixels (1.4µ) than its predecessor. The Isocell GN2 is also capable of using four-in-one pixel-binning to deliver pictures roughly comparable to a 12.5MP 2.8µ pixel camera (Android Authority, CN Beta, Samsung)

ISOCELL image sensors and its technologies have made vast improvements to deliver the quality and performance one would expect from top-tier prograde cameras,” said Duckhyun Chang, EVP of sensor business at Samsung. “ 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.

The 1/1.12-inch ISOCELL GN2 can simulate a larger 2.8μm-pixel with four-pixel-binning technology.

For those who appreciate more detail in photographs, the GN2 offers an option to take pictures in 100MP resolutions. In 100MP mode, the GN2 re-arranges the color pixels using an intelligent re-mosaic algorithm, creating three individual layers of 50MP frames in green, red and blue. These frames are then up-scaled and merged to produce a single 100MP resolution photograph.

The ISOCELL GN2 is Samsung’s first image sensor to offer Dual Pixel Pro, the company’s most advanced PDAF solution yet. By employing two photodiodes within every pixel of the image sensor, Dual Pixel Pro makes use of 100 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 recognize 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.

The GN2 increases its DR 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. Staggered-HDR is able to reduce the energy consumption of a sensor by up to 24% 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.

The GN2 supports full-HD videos at 480fps or 4K at 120fps. The ISOCELL GN2 is currently in mass production.