Samsung has unveiled a 200MP camera that could come to the Xiaomi 12 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (Image credit: Aakash Jhaveri)

As well as being one of the biggest players in smartphones, Samsung is also one of the big companies when it comes to supplying camera components for phones, and it’s just unveiled two very exciting new sensors.

One of these – dubbed the ISOCELL HP1 – is the industry’s first 200MP sensor. The sheer number of pixels means that unsurprisingly individual pixels aren’t enormous, at 0.64 microns, but Samsung claims this camera allows for ultra-high-definition photography in well-lit environments.

But what about when the lighting isn’t so good? Well, the HP1 can use pixel-binning technology to combine pixels for 12.5MP shots, using much bigger 2.56-micron pixels. The tech it uses to do this is called ChameleonCell, and it should allow for much brighter, clearer photos when the lights go down. Additionally, the ISOCELL HP1 can shoot 8K video at 30fps.

Alongside the HP1, Samsung has also unveiled the ISOCELL GN5, which is perhaps less exciting but has chunky 1.0-micron pixels. It’s the first image sensor with pixels that large to integrate Dual Pixel Pro – a tech which improves the speed of autofocus.

This is a 50MP sensor, and notably in terms of pixel size it’s a step down from the 50MP GN2, which the company previously announced with 1.4-micron pixels. That sensor uses bigger pixels than just about any other smartphone one though (other than the new HP1 in pixel-binning mode), so the GN5 still sounds like a solid option.

A close-up of the camera on the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra went big on camera hardware (Image credit: Aakash Jhaveri)

Analysis: the Samsung Galaxy S22 probably won’t get a 200MP sensor, but the Xiaomi 12 Ultra might

While Samsung’s new 200MP camera sensor sounds promising, we wouldn’t expect to see it on the Samsung Galaxy S22 range.

Samsung hasn’t been afraid of packing in high megapixel counts, with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra for example having a 108MP camera, but rumors so far suggest that the Galaxy S22 Ultra will get a 108MP one again, while the rest of the range might top out at 50MP – so the new ISOCELL GN5 is a possibility there.

What might well get this 200MP camera though is the Xiaomi 12 Ultra, as it’s been specifically rumored to. Beyond that, Xiaomi also tends to pack in high megapixel counts in its phones, and has used Samsung sensors before, so it's a likely candidate.

Chinese companies in general seem keen to chase ever higher megapixel numbers, so the likes of Realme, ZTE and others are also possibilities.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.