Smartphones appear to have taken over the camera sector in a different way. While pro cameras still stick to double-digit megapixel sensors, the likes of Samsung and Sony already play in triple-digit territory. If you thought it was already stretched by a 108-megapixel camera, your jaw could drop at the unofficial confirmation that Samsung is already working on a sensor that in the distant future will boast 600,000,000 pixels sitting on the back of some smartphone.
The idea of a 600MP camera sounds almost too absurd to be real, but the source of @Ice Universe indicates that Samsung is dead serious about it. Fortunately, it also comes with a more or less reasonable justification for that feature as well as an assurance that it won’t even available anytime soon.
Just as with 108MP sensors, you don’t really take pictures or capture videos at 108MP resolutions, although that is certainly possible. Instead, neighbouring pixels are compressed to a single one with higher light information density using pixel binning techniques such as the latest Samsung Nonacell technology. In practical terms, Samsung wants this 600MP sensor to allow for zooming without much loss of detail in 4K and 8K.
Although that might be fascinating to photographers, for smartphones, the effects of such a large sensor are more than just impractical. Samsung itself points out that the 1/0.57-inch 0.8-micrometre sensor will take up about 12% of the back of the smartphone. Perhaps even more ridiculous, it will also be about 13.2 mm thick, increasing the thickness of the handset by a whopping 22 mm.
Of course, Samsung is trying to solve that problem, but for next year’s flagships, it probably won’t be able to do so in time. Over the past few years, Samsung’s ISOCELL technology has undoubtedly evolved by leaps and bounds, but amid all the innovation, Samsung appears to fall short of reaching the top mobile photography benchmarks.