The mother of all cat photos! Samsung shows what its 200MP sensor is capable of

Samsung uses its 200MP ISOCELL
(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung has got us excited for their new 200MP sensor with a printing stunt like no other! The image sensor engineers at Samsung Electronics accepted a challenge of printing a picture that was taken with Samsung’s 200MP mobile image sensor on an enormous 616 square meter-sized canvas. Just to be clear, we’re talking 28-meter-wide, 22-meter-high photograph, which is about one and a half times the size of a basketball court, and it came out great. 

“Our desire to truly test the limits of the high-performance 200MP image sensor and its image quality is what brought this challenge about,” said Changwan Kim, project manager from the Global Marcom Team of Device Solutions Division at Samsung Electronics.

Under development 

Given Samsung’s 200MP image sensor is still under development and the camera module is not yet fully optimized, it was a big enough demonstration already but to add to the pressure the team photographed a cat, rather than going with an inanimate object.

“Choosing a cat as our subject was a difficult decision. It gave us a lot of obstacles to overcome, such as capturing such an active subject with a test board,” said Minhyuk Lee. “However, the team concluded that the subject should be something that would show off a high level of detail and that was a popular photography subject at the same time.”

The team calculated several variables while preparing to shoot in an unstable environment. They even built a custom adaptor to allow them to attach various DSLR camera lenses to a test board. “In the end, we thought it was most important to capture the scene in the same conditions that smartphone users would be in,” said Kaeul Lee of the Sensor Solutions Team. “Because of this, we went with a smartphone camera module with no other aids. The results were very satisfying.”

How did they take the photo? 

(Image credit: Samsung)

The photo was taken using a test board with the photographer, Hyunjoong Kim, first checking the screen and adjusted the composition. Then, the engineers modified the settings to optimize exposure and focus. Then after observing the cat’s movements, the film crew then used different methods to take a series of pictures. 

“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the raw image enlarged to 100%,” said Hyunjoong Kim. “I was truly astonished by the degree of detail. In that moment, I knew any prejudices I previously had regarding smartphone photography had been proven wrong.”

A labor of love 

Samsung uses its 200MP ISOCELL

(Image credit: Samsung)

Printing a 616 square-meter image is quite a feat and obviously couldn’t be done at once – it was printed on twelve separate 2.3-meter-long pieces of fabric and then stitched together. The printout was then transported over on a truck and installed on the wall of a building using a crane. The detail is indeed incredible and a far cry from what most people would think achievable with even the best camera phone (opens in new tab)

“When the picture was unfurled for the big reveal, the true enormousness of it really struck me, and not just because of its actual size,” said Changwan Kim. “The moment I witnessed the 200 million pixels depicting the stunning detail of the cat’s eyes and fur, I was overwhelmed by all of the efforts that had gone into developing this final product.”

The stunt has certainly demonstrated the power of Samsung’s 200MP image sensor to capture images that can be zoomed in and cropped without degrading image quality. It’s certainly got us excited to test it – maybe there was something in Sony’s recent comment about smartphones being better cameras (opens in new tab) than DSLRs in two years after all… 

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Rachael is a British journalist with 18 years experience in the publishing industry. Since working on www.digitalcameraworld.com (opens in new tab), she’s been freelancing, and contributing to some of the world’s best-loved websites and magazines including T3.com and TechRadar.com and has also had a book, iPad for Photographers, published. She's currently acting as editor of 5GRadar.com - a website specializing in the latest cellular technology.