Samsung will source ToF (time-of-flight) camera modules for the Galaxy S11 from three different suppliers, according to a report from Korean tech publication The Elec. Two of these will be South Korean companies Namuga and Patron, who supplied ToF modules for the Galaxy Note 10, and the third will be Sunny Optical from China, which was responsible for the ToF cameras seen on the Galaxy S10 5G alongside Patron.
Samsung may have pulled out of China as far as smartphone manufacturing is concerned, but it is still sourcing components from the country. Sunny Optical has reportedly been getting a bigger and bigger share of the pie as a supplier of camera modules for Galaxy devices in the last year or so. None of this means anything for the end consumer, who will see the same performance from the phone’s ToF camera no matter who the supplier is, but Korean suppliers are said to be worried about the exponential rise of Sunny Optical.
The ToF camera on the Galaxy S10 5G and Galaxy Note 10+ is what makes features like 3D scanning and size measurement of real-world objects possible, but it doesn’t really help with photo and video quality in general. It should technically help add better background blur in photos and videos compared to what is possible with a single camera or dual cameras, but 2019 Galaxy flagships that don’t have a ToF sensor do just as well at bokeh through software tricks.
That said, Samsung is likely to continue equipping its flagship phones with ToF cameras just for consistency’s sake, and the Galaxy S11 should have it as well, at least on the plus-sized variant. The Galaxy S11 is also expected to have 5X optical zoom, along with a 108-megapixel camera for regular photos. Samsung doesn’t usually focus on a high megapixel count for its flagship phone cameras, but with its newest Exynos chip offering support for 108MP cameras, it’s possible the company could change that philosophy next year.