Actually, not “nearly the same”, it’s actually the human eye resolution
Smartphones today, even budget ones, have ultra high megapixel counts. These days, a 13mp camera would be considered “budget” unless it’s a Pixel or an iPhone. The higher resolution helps in generate better detail especially for periscope cameras, where zooming in is its main factor. This periscope cameras are frequently used for astrophotography, such as moon shots and taking a photo of the stars.
In the smartphone market, there are three major manufacturers of CMOS sensors: Samsung, Omnivision and Sony. These companies have supplied multiple popular brands such as Xiaomi and Apple, their camera technology not just for phones, but also in different products such as dash cams and IoT products.
Samsung has released multiple sensors, each one increasing the MP count and challenging the boundaries: “How much MP can we fit in a tiny tiny sensor without compromising light information, dynamic range and quality of the photos?” The most recent releases of the company are the 50mp Samsung ISOCELL GN5 with 50mp resolution and the main star, the ISOCELL HP1 with 200mp resolution! Not even the highest-megapixel DSLR camera would compare (The DSLR with the highest MP count is the Canon EOS 5DS R, with a total of 50.6mp resolution). However, let’s not forget professional cameras with resolutions as high as 400mp, such as the Hasselblad H6D-400C.
Samsung is actually going higher than 400mp, they are going straight for the resolution of the human eye. As you may have heard, the human eye has 576mp resolution. Samsung wanted to leverage this and challenge themselves even further. For now, having that high MP on a smartphone is difficult to do. In order for this to work, the sensor either needs to be bigger or depend on a quad-bayer pixel binning process, which is taking a low resolution image and then combining them to turn them into a super high resolution image.
Haechang Lee, Senior VP Automotive Sensor, Samsung Electronics, has presented a PowerPoint slide that reveals their plan of a higher MP camera. By 2025, the company wanted to manufacture a 576mp camera. There are also reports that the company is planning a 600mp CMOS sensor as well. There are also reports saying that this may not be used for smartphones but rather for drones, autonomous vehicles or medical equipment. However, we can’t say things are impossible, considering they managed to fit 200mp on a cramped smartphone space.
In related news, the ISOCELL GN2 are thought of to be used for the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S22 series. This sensor is capable of 8K@30fps video, 4K@120fps video, dual autofocus and has a high 2.8µm pixel size that allows more light information for the sensor to process.