Samsung Galaxy S11 to feature Samsung's 108MP sensor, 6K video, 10x optical zoom

Samsung Galaxy S11 to feature Samsung's 108MP sensor, 6K video, 10x optical zoom
(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung has officially announced its new 108-megapixel image sensor – the week after it had already been revealed by Xiaomi. Even more curiously, the sensor will debut in a Xiaomi camera phone before it makes its first appearance in a Samsung product – the Samsung Galaxy S11. 

The Samsung Isocell Bright HMX is the first mobile image sensor to exceed 100 million pixels – offering resolution equivalent to a high-end full-frame or medium format camera.

Xiaomi broke the news last week at its Images of the Future Conference, announcing that it would introduce a 108MP camera phone powered by a new Samsung sensor. 

 Read more: Best camera phones

The Chinese company has taken a deliberate lead in this strange arrangement; its South Korean partner will not apparently implement the sensor into its own products until 2020, starting with the Samsung Galaxy S11. 

"Starting from S11, Samsung camera will be a new beginning," tweeted always-on-the-money leakster Ice universe. However, it's not just the new camera that will make the S11 special, as the tipster also posted that we can expect 10x optical zoom as well.

Both Xiaomi (first) and Samsung (second) will release 108MP camera phones using the Samsung sensor

Both Xiaomi (first) and Samsung (second) will release 108MP camera phones using the Samsung sensor (Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung Isocell Bright HMX: 108 megapixels, 6K video

The sensor announcement included carefully synchronized statements from Xiaomu co-founder Lin Bin and Samsung executive Yongin Park using the phrase "close collaboration", suggesting that the companies share some degree of ownership of the new sensor technology.

As with other Isocell sensors, the new HMX will benefit from Samsung's Tetracell technology, which enables four sensors to act as a single photosite (for greater sensitivity to illumination) in order to produce 27MP images in low light conditions. 

In addition, the HMX supports video recording "without losses in field-of-view" at 6K resolution up to 30 frames per second. Again, this is a technology that only a few high-end digital cameras can offer – such as the just-announced Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K

While we don't know when the Xiaomi 108MP phone will be released, Samsung's announcement stated that, "Mass production for Samsung ISOCELL Bright HMX will begin later this month." 

We expect the Samsung Galaxy S11 to be announced in the company's traditional slot for the S line, that being February 2020. Expect plenty more leaks between now and then…

Read more: 

Medium format camera phone: Xiaomi's 108MP sensor out-pixels Fujifilm GFX 100
Xiaomi to launch the world's first 64MP camera phone?
The best camera phone in 2019: ultimate smartphone cameras compared

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.