Samsung’s 50MP GN1 camera sensor promises faster autofocus and better low-light snaps

Samsung has announced a new camera sensor for phones that potentially offers faster autofocus and better low-light photography.

The Samsung Isocell GN1 is a 50-megapixel sensor with 1.2μm-sized pixels – larger than usual. This, combined with Dual Pixel and Tetracell technology (for the first time in a single Samsung sensor), allows for more sensitive light capture and “DSLR-style autofocus speeds”.

Tetracell technology effectively improves a pixel’s ability to capture and process more light by binning four pixel signals into one. It therefore increases the pixel size to 2.4μm and enables much brighter 12.5-megapixel images – a quarter of the usual resolution but better low-light pics.

Dual Pixel technology utilises two photodiodes sitting side-by-side in a single pixel, with each able to receive light from different angles for phase detection. That means, when all pixels are deployed for focusing, it snaps into focus much more quickly that previous Samsung camera sensors.

As well as the two technologies, the GN1 comes with Smart-ISO technology for auto ISO selection, real-time HDR, and electronic image stabilisation.

It supports video recording in up to 8K 30fps.

The chip, which is seen as a direct rival to Sony‘s IMX689 alternative – found in the OnePlus 8 Pro and a few other recent handsets – will be going into mass production this month. We should see it in phones later this year.