Skip to main content

Samsung’s 600MP smartphone camera has leaked, but it faces big problems

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
(Image credit: Future)

Samsung is seemingly looking to take the megapixel war to another level, as the company appears to have a 600MP camera in the works.

That's not new information, as earlier in the year we learnt that the South Korean company had been busy developing a 600MP sensor, but a leaked presentation slide suggests it's still in development - and outlines some of the issues Samsung is facing.

Shared by Ice Universe (a leaker with a reasonable track record), the slide, which appears to have come from an internal Samsung presentation, reveals that the massive new sensor could allow for zooming in on 4K and 8K videos while retaining video quality.

See more

A big problem

But packing that many megapixels in is easier said than done, as based on this leak the camera module would currently occupy around 12% of a smartphone's rear, and worse still there would be a 22mm protruding camera bump. For reference, the Samsung Galaxy S20 is only 7.9mm thick, so such a bump would more than triple the overall thickness.

As such, Samsung will have to work to reduce the size of this camera module, as that's just not practical – but the slide states that "ISOCELL will evolve to solve the problem of camera bump," so it sounds like the company thinks it will be able to get around the issue eventually.

And Samsung has form in this area, as it's the only company that has developed a 108MP ISOCELL camera sensor that's being used on commercially available smartphones. Still, 600MP is a big leap from there, so we're not sure how soon we'll see this.

Of course, as ever with leaks we'd take this slide with a pinch of salt, but whether the slide is real or not, we know it's an idea Samsung is or was at least exploring.

Do we need a 600MP sensor? 

The megapixel battle has raged on for a few years now as smartphone makers try to outdo each other in the hopes of standing out. Today, 48MP and 64MP cameras are becoming the norm, even on mid-range and budget devices. 

Now at the top end we're seeing 108MP cameras, with rumors even coming in about 256MP devices in the works.

So more megapixels can help devices stand out, and as noted above they can help with zooming without a noticeable reduction in image or video quality.

But these cameras also require far smaller pixels than, say, a 12MP camera could offer, which means the end results when you're not zooming aren't always as good, especially in low light. This is likely why companies like Apple and Google haven't chased endless megapixels.

So not only might 600MP smartphone cameras be a long way off (if they happen at all) but it also remains to be seen whether they'll be worth waiting for.

That said, a 600MP sensor could really come in handy for products like surveillance drones, satellites, self-driven vehicles, and other internet-enabled gadgets that we may see in the near future.