Samsung shows its gigantic 200MP sensor by photographing a cat

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Samsung officially unveiled its massive 200MP camera sensor last year. The ISOCELL HP1 promised a lot with its all-new ChameleonCell technology and massive pixel count, but we’ve yet to see a device with this sensor on board.

Rumor has it that Motorola will be launching the Frontier model in July, which will feature the aforementioned sensor, and some of the leaked images showing the camera bump designation somewhat confirmed that.

utilities, Samsung has taken matters into their own hands and launched a promo video of the new sensor in action, which involves photographing a cute cat and then printing a huge billboard based on the image captured with the ISOCELL HP1.

Samsung and cats

As we all know, the online space just loves cats, and you shouldn’t mess with them (shameless Netflix plug here). The cat starring in the video is a cute cat, and the end result – stunning.

However, it is worth noting that the sensor itself was mounted on a special stand with two printed circuit boards with many elements (we do not know what algorithms are involved here), and besides – the professional optics involved in this PR stunt is real far removed from anything you could ever see in a smartphone.

The image was also captured in a controlled environment with studio lighting and a bunch of professionals doing their magic. All the disclaimers during the video clip also leave the idea that the result will not be easily replicated with a cell phone (if at all).

That said, using a cell phone camera sensor to print a 28 x 22 meter billboard is impressive in its own right. The level of detail and colors are amazing. Let’s see what this magic sensor is all about.


The 200MP number stands out on the spec sheet, but it’s not the only trick up the HP1’s sleeve. ChameleonCell technology is a new way of grouping pixels together to make larger ones. The technology is known as “pixel binning”, and Samsung has used it in just about every sensor in recent years.

By combining the information from multiple pixels into one, Samsung effectively increases the pixel size of the sensor. The ISOCELL HP1 has 0.64 micron pixels, which is small by modern standards (for example, the iPhone 13 Pro Max has a camera with 1.9 micron pixels).

That’s where pixel binning comes into play. While previous iterations of the idea allowed only 4 pixels to be combined into one, ChameleonCell technology can group 4, 8 and 16 pixels together to behave like a larger size.

This means that the ISOCELL HP1 (and possibly all phones equipped with it) can shoot 200MP images with 0.64-micron pixels, 50MP images with 1.28-micron pixels, or 12.5MP images with 2 .56-micron pixels. In perfect (studio) conditions, the 200MP mode can deliver great results – as can be seen in the cat poster video. But in everyday situations, it’s much more practical and useful to shoot 12.5 MP shots with huge pixels, especially in low light.

Last but not least, the ISOCELL HP1 should enable smartphones to record 8K/30fps videos, using the quad-pixel binning mode.

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