Last year, Samsung released the world's first 200MP camera sensor, and it is already being used in multiple smartphones, including the beloved Galaxy S23 Ultra. However, all phones that are using those 200MP sensors are only using them as the primary sensor, but that is set to change soon, according to Samsung.
Samsung has announced that its 200MP camera sensors, including the ISOCELL HP2 and the ISOCELL HP3, can also be used as telephoto cameras. According to the company, 200MP sensors can be used as telephoto cameras in two ways: in-sensor crop and with a dedicated optical zoom lens. Smartphones that are very thin or have an affordable price tag, such as the HONOR 90, can use a 200MP sensor as their primary camera and use the same sensor to offer an in-sensor crop mechanism. This mechanism provides up to 4x optical zoom-like image quality from the primary camera.
200MP ISOCELL cameras can also be great for shooting portrait images at 2x or 3x zoom levels, offering a good amount of natural bokeh and good details, thanks to the in-sensor crop zooming feature. Using such sensors can be better than using a wide-angle primary camera to capture portrait images, as the 200MP camera can capture images with less distortion in its in-sensor crop zoom mode.
Additionally, high-end smartphones can use a 200MP ISOCELL camera paired with an optical zoom lens, offering unprecedented details and zoom range. The ISOCELL HP2 and the ISOCELL HP3 have 1/1.3-inch and 1/1.4-inch sensor sizes (optical format), respectively. In comparison, most current-generation high-end phones have 1/2.76-inch or 1/3-inch telephoto cameras with 5x or 10x optical zoom lenses. A 200MP ISOCELL camera with a 5x optical zoom lens could offer even better image quality. These sensors have one more advantage: they can capture up to 4K 120fps or 8K 30fps videos, while telephoto camera sensors on other phones can't capture 4K 60fps videos.
It is rumored that Vivo's upcoming flagship smartphone, the Vivo X100 Pro, has a 200MP telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom. It could offer image quality that surpasses the Galaxy S23 Ultra. However, Samsung has stayed mum on implementing a 200MP camera sensor for the telephoto camera on the Galaxy S24 Ultra. It is rumored that the Galaxy S24 Ultra has a 50MP telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom and a 10MP telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom. If that's the case, Samsung may lose its zoom camera crown next year to phones from other brands.