Samsung’s Galaxy S7 teardown confirms Sony IMX260 Camera Sensor

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It was already revealed during MWC that the image sensor inside Samsung’s latest flagship duo was Sony’s IMX260. The recent teardown by chipworks has confirmed it to be the one.

While the Korean manufacturer did not provide any inner detail about the camera lying within the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge at the launch, it was revealed right at the event by AIDA64 app installed on the phone itself in the display zone. After a couple of weeks here we have a lab confirmed detail about the dual-pixel image sensor sported in the latest Galaxy siblings.

The folks at chipworks have confirmed that it’s indeed the Sony IMX260 image sensor which offers 12 megapixels, 1.4μ (microns) pixel size and dual-pixel autofocus across the sensor. It’s the Exmor R CMOS image sensor and the measured die size of the sensor is 6.69 mm x 5.55 mm (37.1 mm²۔)

Samsung-Galaxy-S7-Camera-Module-die

Image Property of chipworks. Check source below

This is the 12MP camera sensor which Samsung decided to go with, while the competitors have boarded to the 16 and 20 megapixels bandwagon. Sure the larger pixels on almost the same sensor size will give lower resolution count but in fact the larger pixels can record more light data and can give better photos in result.

Bits from chipworks

Our lab staff have removed the imaging chip from the 12 MP camera module and have found a Sony back-illuminated (Exmor R) CMOS image sensor. We were expecting to find TSV arrays around the periphery of the active pixel array, corresponding to Sony’s stacked chip (Exmor RS) technology platform. Sony hasn’t publicly announced the IMX260, but based on what we’ve been reading, we assume that is the part number. It’s a bit of a surprise that the IMX260 isn’t an Exmor RS sensor, as we’ve been documenting a lot of Sony design wins based on its 1st and 2nd generation Exmor RS technology. It seems the full chip PDAF functionality, which requires dual readout from each pixel, was implemented with a multi-chip solution rather than a stacked (CIS + ISP) solution.

Larger or smaller pixel size has always been in discussion along side the resolution count on the image sensor. In fact Nokia brought both of the factors two years ago into Nokia 808 PureView with the larger pixel size of 1.4 as well as higher resolution count with 38 million effective pixels but for that they had to build a larger sensor format which was 1/1.2″ – still biggest in a smartphone today. So what’s new in camera in Samsung’s latest Galaxy S7, is the Dual-Pixel Auto Focus. It’s same as the Phase Detection Auto Focus in digital SLRs since found in Canon EOS 70D. 80% of the active pixel array in 70D DSLR contained dual pixel CMOS AF functionality. This is the concept which Samsung adapted to introduce first time in a smartphone. But going beyond with it, Samsung committed 100% of the active pixel array in 12 million pixels sensor to provide data to the AF system.

The teardown has quite more than just the camera sensor. If you are interested to checkout what other components the Galaxy S7 smartphones use, you head over to the source below.

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