The Galaxy S9’s camera is one of the biggest highlights of the phone after Samsung moved to a dual-camera setup this year. Though Samsung primarily makes its own camera sensors for its phones, it appears the company has also partnered with Sony for the S9/S9+’s sensors.
Sony still supplies the second sensor for the smartphone. As revealed in a teardown courtesy of TechInsights, the dual-lens setup on the Galaxy S9/S9+ consists of a single IMX345 lens from Sony, as well as an S5K2L3 sensor from Samsung.
On paper, the two sensors are thought to be the same, with each of them offering HDR and the fabled 960 frames per second slow-motion output. The Sony IMX345 sensor is similar to the IMX400, previously used in its Xperia XZs a phone which also supports 960 fps slo-mo output.
The main difference comes in the arrangement of the components used in each camera, both cameras come with a CMOS sensor on the outside, an image signal processor (ISP), and an LPDDR4 DRAM chip built right in for immediate processing of data that the 960 fps video generates.
But while the Samsung sensor uses a more traditional 2-layer setup with a combined CMOS and image processor connected to module externally, the Sony system used a 3-layer setup with DRAM sandwiched between the CMOS and ISP.
While Samsung may be a global leader in the smartphone business, it is still playing catch-up to Sony when it comes to imaging, especially given the Japanese company’s reputation in the sector.
This is shown aptly in a timeline provided by TechInsights, which shows Sony first coming up with a double-stacked sensor, followed by Samsung shortly. The prowess showed by Sony could be why the Korean company is reluctant to use its own sensors exclusively for its flagship.