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Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: The 108-megapixel Nona Binning camera explained

Samsung recently launched the Galaxy S20 Ultra with a very unique 108-megapixel camera sensor. Here's what makes its performance praiseworthy.

  • Updated: February 13, 2020 6:00 PM IST
Galaxy S20 Ultra launch main

Smartphone camera quality, for some reason, has always been synonymous with the megapixel count for a lot of people. Further, the camera megapixel count wars were reignited when the 48-megapixel sensor came out and started going mainstream. Now the Galaxy S20 Ultra is out with a 108-megapixel camera and some crazy zooming capabilities, but what makes the phone take such good pictures?

Since then higher megapixel sensors have all started to use the Quad-Bayer technology that made these big lenses take good pictures. The trend started with the Huawei P20 Pro which had 40-megapixel sensors that could use 4-in-1 pixel binning to create stunning low light shots. Similar technology is in play in the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.

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Firstly, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra uses the 108-megapixel Samsung ISOCELL HM1 sensor. It is powerful and big enough to record 8K at 24fps. On top of that, it takes the 4-in-1 pixel binning further up a notch, combining the light of 9 pixels into one. The ‘Nona Binning’ technology produces 12-megapixel photos that are better than the Quad-Bayer 48-megapixel shots.

This provides you with 12-megapixel shots which have a pixel size of 2.4 microns. The approach allows the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra to get the best of both worlds with the same sensor. The sensor acts as a high-resolution camera sensor that can take 108-megapixel shots and also use Nona Binning to get good low-light shots.

With more smartphones churning out bigger camera sensors, we might have more phones soon with the 108-megapixel screen. The trend is already picked up by Xiaomi for its upcoming Mi 10 smartphone. Nona pixel binning is also proof that smartphone cameras are improving by leaps and bounds to bring in better camera performance. We might soon start seeing 64-megapixel sensors become more common because of the growth. Moreover, even higher megapixel sensors are expected to come out in the near future. These will further improve the performance of smartphone cameras.

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  • Published Date: February 13, 2020 5:59 PM IST
  • Updated Date: February 13, 2020 6:00 PM IST

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