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Samsung ISOCELL sensor: better color in low-light photography

It's about time. As smartphones creep ever closer to the gates of digital photography in terms of megapixel count, the failures of those tiny little sensors begin to become more and more obvious. One of the main problems you'll get with a smartphone camera, other than a shallow depth of field, is poor low-light photography. Samsung's new ISOCELL camera sensor promises to deliver better color reproduction in low-light conditions.

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The isolation of pixels clearly produces better colors in low light. / © Samsung

So what is ISOCELL? Well, it's basically an improved CMOS imaging sensor that's outfitted with advanced pixel technology that ''substantially increases light sensitivity and effectively controls the absorption of electrons, resulting in higher color fidelity even in poor lighting conditions.'' So says Samsung's press release. Instead of shrinking the size of the pixels and increasing light sensitivity, as current sensors do, ISOCELL isolates the pixels, reducing ''crosstalk'' between pixels by up to 30% - producing purer, crisper colors.

The press material also states the sensor ''enhances the user experience of premium smartphones and tablets'' and ''demonstrates Samsung's technology leadership in image sensors for mobile devices.'' Nice work Samsung, not bad performance at all for a sensor that hasn't even been released yet! I look forward to having my user experience enhanced by a camera sensor. I'd settle just for better color in dark photos.

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This could be the camera sensor to rule them all. Sooner or later. / © Samsung

The sensor is slated for release in Q4 devices this year, and as the quotes above indicate, it will only appear in premium devices, so don't hold your breath unless you're in the market for a nice, new expensive smartphone or tablet. All kidding aside though, this is a very welcome improvement in smartphone camera functionality, and should see you moving beyond auto mode in a flash.

How important to you is low light photography on your smartphone? Will you buy a new device with an ISOCELL sensor?

Via: Engadget Source: Samsung

2 comments

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  • I hear you Amy, in fact, low-light phorography is pretty much the main reason I use my smartphone camera. If I'm going to be in the great outdoors near things worth photographing I tend to take my DSLR, but in bars etc it's always smartphone photos! So the better low-light performance my smartphone can deliver the better.

  • Amy R. Sep 25, 2013 Link to comment

    Low lighting in photography is very important to me. It sets a particular mood when photography is done in this method. It's quite a dilemma. My cell phone is NOT the device to use for this unless you want every picture to be in many shades of black (or just black). Forget trying to take pictures indoors. Even a flash doesn't help. The only time my phone camera is any good is in broad daylight.

    I admit, Samsung is taking an interesting turn in multifunction. It's still a little out of my price range, for now.

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