New Samsung image sensors use dual pixel for fast AF and fake bokeh

Samsung Electronics has launched a couple of new image sensor—both intended for use in mobile devices—under its ISOCELL sensor brand—the ISOCELL Fast 2L9 and the ISOCELL Slim 2×7.

As the model name suggests, the ISOCELL Fast 2L9 is part of the Fast line-up, providing fast autofocus speeds, even in low light conditions. To achieve this, the chip is using dual-pixel technology with two photo diodes at each pixel location. This not only speeds up autofocus but, according to Samsung, also allows for creation of a software-based bokeh-effect without the need for a dual-Kamera, which is more or less what Google’s new Pixel 2 devices do.

The 12MP sensor comes with a 1.28µm pixel size, which is slightly smaller than the 1.4µm currently used in Samsung flagship phones.

At 0.9µm, the pixel size is even smaller on the second new sensor, the Slim 2X7. Like the Fast 2L9, it is designed to fit into even very thin devices without the need for a Kamera bump, but this one comes with a higher 24MP pixel count. In low light, the sensor combines the image information captured by four neighboring pixels to increase sensitivity and reduce image noise, a process which Samsung calls Tetracell.

Like in other ISOCELL sensors, Deep Trench Isolation technology is applied to improve dynamic range and reduce color crosstalk on both sensors.

Looking at the technologies used in these new sensors it is evident that as a maker of both hard and software, Samsung is an excellent position to design its sensors with computational imaging applications already in mind. Unfortunately, there is no information yet on when we’ll see the new sensors integrated in actual devices.

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