By Stephen Schenck | September 29, 2011 3:23 PM
We’ve heard about plans for a 16-megapixel smartphone camera from HTC, one that would end up as a WP7 device, but we’ve yet to see that puppy materialize. Sharp’s AQUOS 007SH features such a sensor, but they’re far from common at the moment. We may be ready to see a whole lot more smartphones step-up their cameras to this kind of megapixel excess, thanks to Samsung’s development of a new 16-megapixel sensor.
Samsung announced its S5K2P1 chip that will bring 16-megapixel performance to stand-alone cameras, camcorders, and most importantly smartphones. The sensor itself is a 1/2.3-inch component and uses backside illumination for extra-low-noise performance. The chip is capable of taking a full-frame, 16-megapixel shot at 30fps, and can handle 60fps video at a still-very-impressive 8.3-megapixel resolution; keep in mind, 1080p video is only 2.1-megapixel.
It’s no secret that there’s a whole lot more contributing to image quality than just megapixel count, and pictures taken with a high-resolution sensor that’s too small, or one that isn’t paired with a good-quality, large lens, will fail to impress. As a result, it’s easy to accuse the manufacturers of these higher-and-higher resolution sensors as just perpetuating the “megapixel myth”, but that’s not entirely fair; so long as we let smartphone companies know that we want handsets with quality optics, in addition to high-res sensors, there’s no reason a 16-megapixel can’t be a welcome addition to a phone.