Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra May Skip the Rumoured 200MP Camera, But Xiaomi is Still on Track

According to reports, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra may feature the company’s existing 50MP or 108MP camera sensors instead.

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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Representative image of a Samsung Galaxy S22 render, featuring Olympus branding and a 200MP primary rear camera. (Image: Let's Go Digital)

Samsung is all but certain to become the world’s first commercial vendor of a mobile imaging sensor that hits the golden marketing mark of 200 megapixels. So far, reports have pretty strongly claimed that Samsung is building a 200MP smartphone camera, and that Xiaomi may become the first OEM to license it from the Korean giant for its upcoming flagship phone series, the Mi 12. However, according to a new report, while the above may still hold true, Samsung is unlikely to feature this 200MP camera in its own upcoming outright flagship device, the rumoured Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.

According to a post on Twitter by fairly reliable tipster Ice Universe, Samsung is now considering a move to not use the upcoming 200MP camera sensor on its next generation flagship, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. While the exact reasons behind this may only come to light after Samsung introduces the latter next year, there are a fair few that we can guess at. The most popular reason being that Samsung might instead choose to focus on larger pixel sizes than megapixel count with the Galaxy S22 Ultra. This would be an interesting move, since from a marketing point of view, a 200MP camera phone is certainly an interesting hook.

However, in terms of the sheer physics behind camera sensors, smartphones have very limited space and are mandated to remain within a certain form factor in terms of slimness, length and breadth. This limits how big a camera sensor that can reside inside a smartphone alongside its other components, while making sure that the device does not become too ungainly or large to hold. It is this size limit that acts as an engineering barrier, in the sense that the sensor size remains the same even when manufacturers increase megapixel count. Hence, to accommodate more pixels, the only way to go about this is by reducing the pixel size.

Reducing pixel size, in turn, has a major trade-off in terms of low light photography – and while Samsung has marketed various software based technologies such as enhancements to HDR and its own Dual Pixel Pro, the absolute image quality will still take a hit. It is likely this that may cause Samsung to stick to its older sensors with larger pixel sizes. While Samsung did spark off rumours by teasing 200MP and “six cameras” in an Exynos teaser post on Twitter, the latter may just have showcased what the new SoC is capable of – rather than representing what the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra will come with.

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