Galaxy S8 Camera Has Significant Upgrade – Forbes

With the launch of Galaxy S8 nearly upon us, reports are still coming through of some exciting new features we might be able to expect from Samsung’s forthcoming flagship.

A render of the Galaxy S8 based on multiple leaks.

Veniamin Geskin

A render of the Galaxy S8 based on multiple leaks.

Of particular interest to photography fans is a post spotted by Sammobile on the Korean search portal Naver, which claims the Galaxy S8 will be able to record video at “close to” 1,000 frames per second, resulting in super-smooth slow-motion clips. The report claims this has been made possible by incorporating fast DRAM storage directly into the sensor chip, enabling image data to retrieved from the sensor more quickly in readiness for the next frame of video.

The report goes on to claim the new technology will make the Galaxy S8 eight times faster at capturing video than the iPhone 7, which captures 4x slow-motion at 120 frames per second.

This would put the Galaxy S8’s maximum frame rate at 960fps, providing slow motion at 32 times slower than standard 30fps video.

Of course, Sony’s recent Xperia XZ and Xperia XZ Premium smartphones offer a very similar trick, also capturing slow-motion video clips at up to 960fps. However, this super slow-motion mode doesn’t come without compromise: clips recorded in this mode are limited to 720p resolution and a maximum capture duration of only one second which translates into about 32 seconds of slow-motion footage depending on your desired playback frame rate.

While the report suggests that Samsung won’t be using the Sony IMX400 sensor found in the Xperia XZ (it’s a 19 megapixel model, compared to the S8’s expected 12 megapixel sensor), the fact that the high-speed capture relies on an on-chip memory buffer suggests that the Galaxy S8 would also operate with similar restrictions on resolution and duration. The size and speed of the buffer will ultimately determine these limiting factors.

Should the report turn out to be true, I would expect very similar functionality from the Samsung and Sony sensors. It’s not unusual for Samsung to design functionally equivalent sensors to Sony models which can then be used interchangeably in Samsung phones at will.

The Galaxy S7, for example, used both Samsung’s own ISOCELL S5K2L1 and Sony’s IMX260 sensors interchangeably, with some users preferring the results of one type over the other. It would make sense then for Samsung to be able to match Sony feature for feature on a similar chip to be used in the Galaxy S8.

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