Here’s the difference between Samsung and Sony camera sensors on the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge

Yesterday, there was a report stating that Samsung is shipping some units of the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge with its homegrown ISOCELL camera sensor instead of the Sony IMX240. The report was true as we found out that one of the Galaxy S6 edge unit that we own had an ISOCELL camera sensor. The reason behind this could be the shortage of Sony sensors, forcing Samsung to use its own sensor. By now, you would be wondering whether the final image quality out of the ISOCELL sensor is similar to the IMX240 or inferior to it.

Luckily we got a chance to play around with both sensors, and here we’ve captured some images in varying lighting conditions. All these images (except the last pair, which were captured with HDR set to be always on) were clicked in the Auto Mode to replicate how a normal consumer generally takes photos.

After a first glance, we think that the images shot using the IMX240 display vibrant and warmer colors than the ones clicked using the ISOCELL sensor. Also, the images captured using the Sony sensor appear to have more depth in them. In bright conditions, the IMX240 captured original colors, but it was the opposite otherwise - the ISOCELL sensor captured truer-to-life colors during low-light conditions. We’ve also thrown in 1:1 100 percent crops of images below for all the pixel-peepers out there to analyse. Also, the file size of images shot with the IMX240 was higher than those captured using the ISOCELL sensor.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge ISOCELL Camera Sensor Image Quality - 01ISOCELL

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge IMX240 Camera Sensor Image Quality - 01IMX240

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge - Samsung vs. Sony - 01

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge ISOCELL Camera Sensor Image Quality - 02ISOCELL

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge IMX240 Camera Sensor Image Quality - 02IMX240

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge - Samsung vs. Sony - 02

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge ISOCELL Camera Sensor Image Quality - 04ISOCELL

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge IMX240 Camera Sensor Image Quality - 03IMX240

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge - Samsung vs. Sony - 03

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge ISOCELL Camera Sensor Image Quality - 04ISOCELL

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge IMX240 Camera Sensor Image Quality - 04IMX240

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge - Samsung vs. Sony - 04

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge ISOCELL Camera Sensor Image Quality - 05ISOCELL

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge IMX240 Camera Sensor Image Quality - 05IMX240

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge - Samsung vs. Sony - 05

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge ISOCELL Camera Sensor Image Quality - HDR On 07ISOCELL – HDR On

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge IMX240 Camera Sensor Image Quality - HDR On 07 IMX240 – HDR On

Generally, a consumer would expect to have the same out-of-the-box experience from the product as their friend’s, but it is not true in this case. Is it Samsung’s fault that it couldn’t manage to obtain enough camera sensors from Sony, or is it Sony’s fault because they weren’t able to produce the required amount?

In the end, it’s the consumers that are affected, as they are getting varying experiences. If Henry and John buy the same car from Honda, they need to perform exactly the same. It shouldn’t be that one of the cars has a Fiat engine which has the same amount of horsepower but drives slower by 30 miles an hour.

We’ve asked for a statement about this from Samsung Benelux, and we will update this post once we get a response. As to which camera sensor is better, we will let you be the judge. What do you think? Fire off your thoughts in the comments section below.

Official statement Samsung Benelux.
“The Galaxy S6 and S6 edge utilize camera sensors from several different vendors. Like all of the technology used in our products, they meet our strict global quality and performance standards.”

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robertslejasmeijers
10 months 6 hours ago

Recently I bought Samsung Galaxy S6 (in Latvia, Europe). I got Samsung Isocell (SLSI_S5K2P2_FIMC_IS) camera sensor. When I film using 60fps mode at low light conditions, i got vibrating blue violet video noise on every black place. My friend got Sony sensor in his device, and there is not such a problem.
Here is original video file: https://www.dropbox.com/s/gzehespioo2lhg7/20160202_153607.mp4?dl=0
Can anybody check this 60fps filming mode on your Galaxy S6 series phone, especially if you got Samsung Isocell camera sensor?

yecca69
9 months 10 days ago

for me, the same issue….only with 60fps…

Lucidmike78
11 months 4 days ago

I was disappointed when I found out I had the ISOCELL sensor because Sony seems to always have the best sensors but, looking at these examples, except for the first picture, Samsung wins at all other examples. It seems like the IMX240 has the white balance off in every shot. The shadows are not as well exposed which leads to more noise reduction and more muddy details. Samsung wins this comparison hands down. The deal with side by side comparisons is that they highlight the most minuscule details. The sensors are incredibly similar to a point where the differences don’t matter.

roijjer
1 year 15 days ago

There are some white balance differences, but, I can’t tell difference other than that

wmupchurch
1 year 5 months ago

Thanks for posting this!
In the HDR picture, what was the real color (to your eye) of the accent light on the bridge? Blue or Purple?

11 months 4 days ago

It was Blue….

mudassarfa
1 year 6 months ago

i used both s6 phones which was having sony and samsung sensor in it. sony sensor has more depth and clarity in them, especially when taking pics of people rather than landscape. very disappointed with samsung move. looks the the company is taking customers for granted.

David Jin
1 year 6 months ago

sony is better overall.

johncourt
1 year 5 months ago

@David Jin Oh PLEASE shut up, you butthurt Sony Fanboy. The Samsung Isocell is clearly superior overall, not the Sony. Period.

EricG70
1 year 6 months ago

I personally like the Samsung sensor. I find the warning sign letters and the leaves before the high voltage mast (both on the zoomed pictures) sharper then the Sony ones. Also the colours of the water and bridge pictures are more natural for me than the Sony (more blueish) ones.
The question why Samsung uses the Sony can also be because the Sony sensors can be cheaper due to the higher production quantity. But that’s guessing.

oracle01642
1 year 6 months ago

They thought it was the SONY sensor, but we have all since found out some units come with the SONY sensor, and some with the ISOCELL sensor. I bet money on it that some of those review phones from the various review websites had ISOCELL sensors.

It would be interesting to contact all the different review sites and ask them to check which sensor their review phone has, if they still have it. I bet there would be some surprises.

trenzterra
1 year 6 months ago

You can easily check via the EXIF data. Samsung sensors have ‘LL’ and Sony sensors have ‘LS’ under the Image ID tag. I’ve checked a couple of sites and all of them have the Sony sensors. Even on Flickr, almost all Galaxy S6 photos are from the Sony sensor, except 1 or 2 using the Samsung.

If I’m not wrong the Samsung sensors are only prevalent on later units.

Svenna
1 year 6 months ago

You are correct, Samsung has tried to sneak there own camera sensor in for more earnings! A dirty game with a phone that is very very expensive to buy!

TrueTenacity
1 year 6 months ago

I guess there is no way to tell on the packaging / box what sensor is used on the phone, only once you break the seal and turn it on…

HOPEFULLY getting my 128gb S6 next week. Though from comments above it appears it will most likely have the Samsung sensor.

oracle01642
1 year 6 months ago

Trust me, having the Samsung sensor isn’t a bad thing! I have taken some amazing pictures with my S6. Infact, I don’t think I have taken a single bad picture so far. They all seem to turn out great. Great colour, great detail, and great low light shots. Just because the SONY sensor looks better on paper, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is in reality. Just look at the above pictures for proof! The ICOCELL sensor more than holds it’s own, and I think almost all of the ICOCELL pictures from the samples taken by Martin look better and are more natural than the SONY one’s.

Svenna
1 year 6 months ago

But all the reviews used the Sony sensor… No one had the Samsung one, no hard to guess why…

thegeneral2010
1 year 6 months ago

even is the isocell produce the same pic like sony (it’s obviously not) but this is considered cheating no doubt about that, that more important thing here for this ppl who says its not a problem i like isocell bla bla bla i really didnt know that this world contains all of this amount of sheeps.

edyboyster
1 year 6 months ago

What is clear here is that Samsung sent review units with Sony sensors to get excellent reviews from tech sites. Every single video reviews in YouTube I watched claims to have Sony sensor. S6 also secured the top spot of DxOMark. All for deception. I hope consumer law will look into this unfair market practice.

atifsh
1 year 6 months ago

funny i see better colors with isocell
funny i see majority on sony sensors
funny i dont see anywhere samsung claiming sony sensors
funny demand and supply issues are real.

Svenna
1 year 6 months ago

My blue S6 64 GB has the Samsung sensor, not glad for that! Paid extra for the 64 GB version, get a worse camera then all the 32 GB version. Almost all 128 GB have Samsung sensor too… All the review phones had Sony sensor, almost a scam according to me on behalf of Samsung…

infuriated
1 year 6 months ago

I have a 64G black & blue S6 with a Sony camera.

thyttel
1 year 6 months ago

That would imply that the Sony sensor is better which if you look around there is a lot of different opinions on. From where I stand I see about half preferring the Sony and the other half the Samsung isocell. I prefer the isocell myself as it takes better low light pictures and they are a lot brighter than the Sony and the Sony is a bit sharper in daylight but its negligible compared to the isocell and then I prefer the better lowlight.
Don’t know where people got the idea that just because its Sony then that’s the better deal.
Look at the pictures ….

oracle01642
1 year 6 months ago

I am from the UK, and my S6 has the ISOCELL sensor. I was a bit disappointed at first, but after looking at these comparison pics, I actually think the ICOCELL sensor is better. The colours look more natural (especially the blues and greens), and the night shots are brighter with more detail. I’m happy with my ICOCELL. :)

Hey Martin, do you or anyone else have any recommendations for a good phone case for my S6? One that looks good, and is not slippy in the hand?

atifsh
1 year 6 months ago

glad youre not one of the blind haters, and that detail could be post processing or a camera firmware/software update away.

atifsh
1 year 6 months ago

but what nobody is talking about and im not sure about..
does ISOCELL get OIS this time?

harryisme
1 year 6 months ago

Atleast now I know it wasn’t just down to my photo taking stills that the photo’s I took were a bit dissapointing, and not as good as the ones seen in reviews.

Yesterday when I read the news I was slightly disspointed, after seeing the difference in photos I’m disapointed a bit more and slightly upset. These phones are not cheap, you’d expect Samsung to make the experience the same across the board. I did not think the difference was that much.

Honestly if Samsung keep this kind of crap up, I might be tempted to move to the apple phones next time around and I have never owned a single Apple device in my life.

If the units sent out for reviews turn out to be all Sony Sensors, Samsung could find themselves in court for deliberately misleading consumers.

Wilksie
1 year 6 months ago

Nope.

They stated there’s a 16mp camera inside the device. Samsung never specified the brand of component In their marketing. There’s nobody at fault. This is standard manufacturing. They don’t have a case to answer as they have delivered what they set out to do. The different sensors was used as they have an equal spec.

Also, remember all the pics are subjective. Look how many prefer the Sony and look how ,any prefer the ISOCELL. It’s level almost!

Secondly, Apple source components from different suppliers. You know three different manufacturers supply screens for the iPhone? You won’t get consistency there either. I’ve also never seen anyone threaten to defect to a different product because of a screen issue on an iPhone. I think it’s far fetched that it would also be the same over a camera.

Remember we had the same over processors only a couple of years ago? Exynos vs Snapdragon!

Lng101010
1 year 6 months ago

Yes, of course. It’s the phone’s fault.

alongmann
1 year 6 months ago

Actually I’m more worried about the displays because on more of half the units I’ve seen, there are serious color shifting. For example, if you close all the windows on the stock browser and you look at the grey background, you’ll see that not everywhere is grey… I home my Egde which is coming is ok… As for the cameras I like the ISOcell better actually…

trenzterra
1 year 6 months ago

Okay the FV-5 camera crashes when you try to set a custom shutter speed… I wonder if there’s any alterntive to Manual Camera?

1 year 6 months ago

There isn’t bothbwere shot in automode… The last picture has been shot with only HDR on the rest of the settings were on auto…

We just made the pictures the way people would get the phones out of the box.

trenzterra
1 year 6 months ago

I agree, but it doesn’t make for an objective quality comparison in that case…

trenzterra
1 year 6 months ago

Hi, I was wondering if it’s possible for you to test using the FV-5 camera app, and standardising the shutter speed and ISO used? I notice in your images, they have different shutter speeds and ISO, thus affecting the comparison.

For the first image, the photo snapped by the Sony has a faster shutter speed as compared to the Samsung, so the Samsung could be a little overexposed and thus dynamic range does not show that well. For the last image, the Samsung is at ISO400 whereas the Sony is at ISO500, and for the middle picture the Samsung uses a slower shutter speed.

Wilksie
1 year 6 months ago

Sony here on the edge.

Honestly, the difference is negligible and was only just noticed after nearly a month of being out.

Do some people actually believe car companies use the same components per model? How deluded.

A Toyota car made in the UK in Derby will look the same but not have 100% the same components as the same car built in Japan or the USA.

Car manufacturers use different sources depending on which country they are manufactured in or destined. Also the time of year and product demand are a factor… that’s right, DEMAND!

Anyone thought the S6 is a surprise runaway success for Samsung? Strains on manufacturers cause component supply issues and was even noted there is another curved screen manufacturing plant being set up to cope with the demand. Think these will be identical? Think again.

Ever noticed the words printed on EVERY instruction data sheet? The ones that quite clearly state “specifications subject to change without notice”? All manufacturers do this.

Now if you had a 12mp sensor in your S6 you’d have a case…

chekole
1 year 6 months ago

I got Sony

HomerS66
1 year 6 months ago

How is the ISOCELL sensor with white balance in low light conditions? As the IMX240 makes it way to warm, white looks like orange.

1 year 6 months ago

Tell me how to test and Ill update if I manage to take pictures…

hot_spare
1 year 6 months ago

From where did they find the “HUGE” difference?

95% of them look same. Maybe just 5% difference. I doubt when shown to people who don’t know which sensor is which, they will be able to identify.

Looks just fine to me, both these sensors should be fine for anyone.

1 year 6 months ago

So what you are saying if we both buy the same car with the same specs but different engines and you drive 300 miles an hour and I drive 270 I can’t complain because I already drive fast? That is BS we should both get the same experience…

nx7010
1 year 6 months ago

Hi, many cars comes with same specs different brand tires, or even ecu brand controllers. I’m sure if it is within tolerable specs a car manufacturer would hold back production because Michelin could not supply enough. The car manufacturer will just source for Bridgestone or Goodyear or Pirelli. Whatever that meet their specs for the said car.

And we can unanimously agree that tires are one of the if not the most important part of the car. As it is this 4 contact patch which affects handling, braking and acceleration while also providing feedback to the driver.

In car brochures, it usually states engine type, displacement and HP and torque outputs. They don’t deviate you from its intended specs. So no it’s not as if the ISOCELL differs in specs and performance of the S6s. I’m sure both are within parameters of each other.

hot_spare
1 year 6 months ago

That’s is a useless reply. If you want me to do pixel-peeping I will find you difference between 2 Sony IMX sensors in 2 different S6 models. Every device will have certain tolerance levels, where the output may different by certain degree. What matters is whether there is appreciable difference in customer satisfaction. If the photos coming from both sensors differ this much, I doubt any sane customer would be angry.

What is more concerning is what is causing such high gap in battery performance. Some people getting above 6Hrs, others struggling to get 3Hrs will daily usage. You people should be more concerned about that battery performance as this is something much more imporant issue. This 5% difference (and I’m being generous) will hardly matter in real life.

BTW, if you see NX1 reviews, you will find that Samsung LSI has created the most advanced sensor in APS-C market. So, it’s not like Samsung doesn’t have the know-how to make good sensors.

Cicerone
1 year 6 months ago

Please stop stating this car comparative. You say that Sony cam is better than Samsung. My taught is Sony is more vibrant on day sun light but Samsung is way better on normal and low light. So you will take your photos only on the beach and only in summer time? IMO Samsung camera can be used, with better results, on much more life situations than Sony. I will be happy if my green S6 edge will be equiped whith Isocell camera.

1 year 6 months ago

It doesn’t matter when or how I would tke pictures or which Camera is better. The fact remains yu have two different experiences out of the box. Which one is better doesn’t matter. If the Isocell ia better than it would equaly as bad.

FreeSlow
1 year 6 months ago

That’s a terrible analogy. You’re comparing miniscule electronics to a huge car.

I’m pretty sure aside from the camera sensor, you’re also getting different manufacturers for the resistors, capacitors, transistors and other electronic components between each phone. That’s just the reality of dual/triple sourcing in electronics which is done by ALL manufacturers to all electronic products. It is now the job of the design engineer to make sure that whatever they use, they are within their claimed specs and the quality difference is minimal.

Samsung never advertised Sony for its rear camera sensor. The only claims that they made for the camera were the resolution, aperture and OIS.

Judging from the comparison, I see very little deal-breaking difference between the two sensors. The difference only becomes apparent when you put them side-by-side and even that takes effort. In fact an interesting experiment to consider would be taking pictures from two S6 phones both using the same Sony rear camera and watch people (who wouldn’t know it came from the same sensor) go OC in finding every miniscule difference between the camera quality. And as someone who has worked before with a camera sensor module, you will definitely see some slight differences across different batches of the same model of camera sensor.

Basing from the sample pictures in this article, you could easily take away the ISOCELL and SONY sensor labels from those pictures and I’m pretty sure most customers will be happy with the results of either sensors. Both results look good and that’s what matters the most.

atifsh
1 year 6 months ago

also the fact, most people are happy with what others have, they dont care what they have is good or bad.
here i see little detail loss on full crops on isocell but better colors, yet people will cheer for sony. yes detail does matter, but believe me if i remove the names no one will care.

1 year 6 months ago

Well I think its the same we both bought the same car/phone so we should get the same experience and the Sony sensor in Daytime has the better pictures. The file size difference is striking IsoCell is 4 MB and IMX is 8 MB. So the IsoCell misses 4 MB of data and that is a lot of pixels or detail missing.

In my opinion is doesn’t matter what they advertised as long as both pictures are on par and as above is shown that is not the case.

So I find it our duty to report on this.

FreeSlow
1 year 6 months ago

It matters what they advertised because those are the only claims a customer can hold against them.

Based on the pictures, both sensors are pretty much up to par IMO in terms of delivering good pictures. Any differences that we’ve seen so far in terms of which one does better than the other one is quite minimal.

If one sensor does better slightly than the other at some aspects and vice versa, then what exactly do you want from Samsung? What is your “duty” and what are you hoping to achieve? Are you asking that Samsung or Sony suddenly develop a camera sensor at this point and release an S6 phone with a camera sensor that does all things better?

At this point, you either take it or you leave it. If you’re not satisfied with knowing there are two different sensors out there for S6 despite both delivering quality pictures, then just exchange it for another comparable phone in terms of camera quality like G4. Maybe you can now sleep better at night knowing it’s sourcing only one (probably) sensor.

ph00ny
1 year 6 months ago

What are you guys crying about now?
This has been the norm since day1. Based on the result, it seems like what they said about isocell being able to capture more light is true. Did samsung claim that s6 used sony exclusively? They said 16mp sensor with a low F stop lens element with OIS.

nkolsen
1 year 6 months ago

Im one of those with the isocell. And it is a bit annoying, knowing that there is a small difference. But then again, they are almost equal. And it looks like the isocell is just a little bit better in low light conditions, so i guess it levels it out just a little bit. But samsung shouldnt be doing stuff like this, on a component as important as the camera. This could make them loose customers….

erick.kenzi
1 year 6 months ago

As htc said, samsung is on mobile business for money, they don’t care for a good and constant experience for their clients, like other person said SHAME ON YOU SAMSUNG!

jozefrockz
1 year 6 months ago

Wow and you really believe on HTC?

Let’s take it M9 as an example, hows the user experience out there? Did HTC listen to you? HTC only care about the mega and “ultra” pixel and is nowhere near the quality of the pics posted on this blog.

All they care is money, they want to sell their One series w/o having too much changes from the previous model.

ghedelacruz610
1 year 6 months ago

What are you talking about? The sensor in M9 is a lot worse then any of these S6 sensors.

erick.kenzi
1 year 6 months ago

I’m not talking about m9, I just making a reference about something that HTC said is true. If samsung was more concern about user experience and post sale support they should try to make same hardware device to everybody. Have you ever read what I write, I never said anything about M9, I was talking about user expirience.

nkolsen
1 year 6 months ago

Its not as HTC got anything to brag about with the one M9…It is way worse than any of these images…

erick.kenzi
1 year 6 months ago

I’m not talking about m9, I just making a reference about something that HTC said is true. If samsung was more concern about user experience and post sale support they should try to make same hardware device to everybody. Have you ever read what I write, I never said anything about M9, I was talking about user expirience.

Emthor
1 year 6 months ago

let me get this right… You’re saying that Samsung doesn’t care about post sale support?

alongmann
1 year 6 months ago

First of all everyone i here for the money, don’t you think? And second the M9 is more expensive than the S6 aaand worse… So HTC shouldn’t be speaking too much when their product is basically a robbery… ;)

praths360
1 year 6 months ago

How to know which camera I have?

ScottC442
1 year 6 months ago

Dial on your phone *#34971539#

 
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