Smartphones with 200 MP cameras: will we see them in 2022?

The 200-megapixel sensor already exists, and it's manufactured by Samsung. All the same, it seems that she will not be the company to use it for the first time

The resolution of the cameras represents one of the parameters of a technical card that many consider most fascinating, and that sometimes make the purchase lean towards one or the other model. As we often repeat, however, a higher resolution and therefore a higher number of megapixels are not a guarantee of better photos: they help, but alone they are not enough.

It's true that a larger image lends itself better to pixel binning, i.e., that software feature through which a relatively small photo (currently no more than 40 MP, often less than 20 MP) is taken from a very large one, and this is particularly useful in low light conditions, but that number, which the marketing is pushing so hard, says nothing about color fidelity and all those aspects that make a photo beautiful. The moment Samsung announced the 200-megapixel smartphone sensor in September, many began to wonder when it would arrive on the market, and on board which smartphone. And especially if we will see one as early as 2022.

Motorola and Xiaomi in 2022, Samsung in 2023

The answer to the initial question is undoubtedly "yes", we will see smartphones with 200-megapixel cameras as early as 2022. At least that's what Ice Universe, a whistleblower who is usually in possession of reliable information, is sure of. According to his sources, the 200 MP sensor that Samsung made official in September will not be used for the first time by the same company that created it and not even by Xiaomi, which is usually very responsive to implement in its products these "bursting" innovations.

According to the informant, Xiaomi will be in the game: it will be among the first to request it from Samsung, but it will not be "the" first. It seems in fact that the main suspect to use the 200 MP camera of Samsung is Motorola, which could use it on a top of the range to be launched within the first half of the new year. So according to Ice Universe will be at least two smartphones coming in 2022 with a 200 MP camera, the first of Motorola and the second of Xiaomi. As for Samsung, which, in fact, that sensor is produced in its own factories, according to the informant will be used in 2023, presumably on board of Galaxy S23 Ultra.

It seems there is no margin in fact to see it on Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, whose specifications are chatted for some time and also in the last update refers to a 108 MP main sensor. After all, the new range of "top" will be launched in early 2022, and it seems now clear that Samsung has decided to implement an optimized version of the 108 MP sensor of Galaxy S21 Ultra.

What's the point of a 200 MP camera?

Samsung's 200 MP sensor is the Isocell HP1, which has an impressive resolution: 16,384 x 12,288 pixels, but don't make the mistake of thinking you can use all of them, if only for a matter of the space a photo would take up on the phone, perhaps over 100 MB. So why have such a resolved sensor if it is not advisable to shoot at 200 megapixels? At least for two reasons.

The first is a full exploitation of pixel binning, that system that "merges" several pixels to obtain a brighter one: in groups of 4 to obtain 50 megapixel images or in groups of 16 for 12.5 megapixel photos. The second reason why a sensor with such a high resolution can be useful is to zoom in without loss of quality. Being able to start from a 200-megapixel shot you can get lower resolution images with 3x or 4x zoom, which means you could get more than interesting results without having a dedicated zoom camera.