“[W]e as an industry still have a long way to go to be able to match human perception capabilities,” said Park.
The common misconception is that the higher the megapixel count on a sensor, the better the image. This is not strictly true, as many phones released recently with 48Mp or 64Mp sensors won’t necessarily take better images than a 12Mp sensor. The latter might (and in the case of the Google Pixel 4, does) have better software processing that creates a better image in tandem with the hardware.
Indeed, we found the advanced camera system on Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra wanting in our review, with inconsistent results and ongoing autofocus issues. The phone costs £1,199/$1,399.
The Ultra can technically output 108Mp images with its main sensor, but the real advantage of that number is it doing what is known as ‘pixel binning’ – collecting tons of image data to produce a more detailed 12Mp or 27Mp shot.
At the end of Park’s blog there is a paragraph titled ‘Aiming for 600Mp for All’, and is the only mention of the 600Mp figure. He says:
“To date, the major applications for image sensors have been in the smartphones field, but this is expected to expand soon into other rapidly-emerging fields such as autonomous vehicles, IoT and drones. Samsung is proud to have been leading the small-pixel, high-resolution sensor trend that will continue through 2020 and beyond, and is prepared to ride the next wave of technological innovation with a comprehensive product portfolio that addresses the diverse needs of device manufacturers. Through relentless innovation, we are determined to open up endless possibilities in pixel technologies that might even deliver image sensors that can capture more detail than the human eye.”
This pledge implies Samsung isn’t necessarily aiming to produce a 600Mp sensor for phones. In fact, a sensor this big probably couldn’t fit in a phone. But it shows the company’s determination to lead when it comes to imaging and pushing its technology beyond the confines of its current market segments.