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Gear Announcements

Samsung Lifts The Veil On The Tech Behind Their ‘Industry First’ 28MP BSI Sensor

By Anthony Thurston on September 17th 2014

A few days ago Samsung dropped some jaws with the announcement of their new flagship NX1, a camera headlined by an impressive ‘industry first’ 28 megapixel BSI APS-C sensor. Today, Samsung shared the tech behind their BSI (Back-Side Illuminated) APS-C sensor that serves as the base for the NX1.

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First, let’s talk about what sets this sensor apart from an industry standard image sensor. The sensor in the NX1, called the S5KVB2, features BSI or back-side illuminated technology. Other sensors in the industry utilize FSI or front-side illuminated technology. The main difference between these two technologies? 

According to Samsung, the BSI structure moves the metal layers to the rear side of the photodiode to reduce the loss of light. Thanks to the BSI pixel technology, Samsung’s new sensor improves the light sensitivity of each pixel, increasing light absorption in peripheral areas by approximately 30 percent, resulting in – according to them – crisper, sharper images compared to a FSI pixel-based image sensor.

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Samsung didn’t stop there though either. They also implemented a new 65nm low-power copper process, quite a bit ahead of the 180nm aluminium process, generally used in the camera sensor industry. The result is an image sensor that uses less power and puts off less heat, two big advantages for mirrorless cameras. 

Samsung also says that their new process reduces random noise from the sensor significantly.

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Overall, it sounds like some interesting tech. I am even more interested in getting my hands on the NX1 now so I can see if this sensor is really anything to write home about. A lot of people are saying they are not impressed by the sample images. The ones I saw didn’t blow me away or anything, but they were not bad by any stretch. I will withhold judgement though until I can use it myself.

If you are interested in giving it a try yourself, you can pre-order the NX1 now over on B&H.

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What are your thoughts on this new sensor tech from Samsung? Do you think that it will be able to hold up against popular sensors from Sony, Canon and Fuji? Leave a comment below!

[via Samsung Tomorrow]

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Austin Swenson

    This seems like it could be awesome. I hope they can come up with some good glass for this camera so we can see the difference in how it shoots versus other models, to maybe see if that 30 percent better statistic they were talking about is true. Good for Samsung if that’s true!

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  2. Herm Tjioe

    This impresses me: finding areas of energy conservation throughout the parts to a camera is more important as the juice-sucking mirrorless take root in today’s camera market. This hopefully will translate to a cooler running video mode DSLR shoots. Further, extracting details with increased dynamic range through sensor technology is what everyone is looking for anyway.

    Now Samsung as potential major sensor manufacturer should send shivers to Sony and Canon.

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  3. Scott Sheppard

    Less power and less heat should equal longer battery life. Always a plus.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      I agree, battery life is huge for mirrorless cameras. Curious to see how the battery holds up on these NX1 bodies.

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  4. Ant Motton

    It’s first generation tech, it will have it’s haters, it can only get better which is good news for photographers!

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    • Scottie Nguyen

      If the images are ok “because” they don’t have real “L glasses” or “G glasses” yet, and it’s still OK, imagine what it would be you can mount your L or G glasses on !!!!! I bet people didn’t consider that when they were hating on it. I just want to know what the dynamic range is on this sensor !!!

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