Samsung announces 50MP ISOCELL GNK sensor with improved HDR and video performance

The ISOCELL GNK is a new 50MP sensor from Samsung, and it’s the successor to the very popular and capable ISOCELL GN1 sensor. Some of the best camera systems on the market use the GN1 as the primary camera sensor, like the Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro. Vivo has its version of the GN1, the GNV.

The X70 Pro Plus also had the GN1 sensor. The Google Pixel 6 Pro was the first to get a major camera hardware improvement, and it shipped with the 50MP GN1 as its primary sensor. While the Pixel 8 Pro was rumored to get the 1/1.12″ GN2 sensor, it was probably postponed to next year since the Pixel 8 Pro still uses the ISOCELL GN1 sensor.

The GN1 has very good autofocus, a good sensor size of 1/1.31″, and a strong 50MP resolution. This sensor can go toe-to-toe with the Sony IMX803 sensor that Apple uses for the iPhone 15 Pro Max. The IMX803 is a 1/1.3″ 48MP sensor with an effective pixel size of 1.22um.

The GN1 and the new GNK sensor match the S23 Ultra’s 200MP HP2 sensor. It has a 200MP resolution but a tiny effective pixel size of 0.6um and nearly the same sensor size as the GN1, at 1/1.3″. The ISOCELL GN1 has an effective pixel size of 1.2um.

ISOCELL GNK Specs

Since the GNK is built on the GN1, the improvements are mostly to the video recording capabilities. For still photos, it’s a more notable improvement to the Dynamic Range of photos from the hardware end. According to the marketing materials, the new GNK has less noise and better dynamic colors and colors.

Note that the GNK has the same 1/1.3″ size, 50MP resolution, and effective pixel size of 1.2um, the same as the GN1. This is like the update from the IMX766 to the IMX890. The changes are subtle since the sensor is already capable enough. Samsung has new technology like Dual Pixel Pro, which massively improves the autofocus. It can focus on moving objects quickly.

The GNK sensor can handle HDR videos and footage up to 240FPS slow-mo. It can record videos in 8K at 30FPS without cropping in much. The sensor can capture photos with 120dB and also 14-bit RAW images. It reduces motion blur and weird artifacts and works in three different ISO modes to achieve this. According to the marketing, this sensor is all about dynamic range and autofocus.

The GNK allegedly has better low-light performance, too. It clusters neighboring pixels together for a 2.4um effective pixel size. This allows more light, and you can get crisp photos. This is similar to Apple’s 24MP binning and the Photonic Engine.

Samsung didn’t disclose which phones will get the GNK sensor. However, we can expect it in many entry-level flagships in 2024 and 2025. The Omnivision OV50H currently has a 1/1.3″ size and 50MP resolution. This aims to compete directly with that. It also competes with some of the new LYTIA sensors from Sony.

About: Ankan

Ankan is a tech enthusiast with a particular passion for Samsung gadgets. He has extensive hands-on experience testing out the latest Samsung smartphones, tablets, wearables, and other devices. At SamInsider, he provides reliable coverage of everything happening in the Samsung world. Email: techblizpro@gmail.com (Follow on X/Twitter)

Leave a Comment