Samsung ISOCELL HM3 vs HM2 vs Sony IMX686 Specs Comparison

    The following article highlights the comparison between Samsung ISOCELL HM3 vs HM2 vs Sony IMX686 and objectively looking at its specs. The former two are 108 MP sensors, whereas the third one from Sony is a 64 MP sensor. Let’s first look at their details and then carry out a comparison:

    Samsung ISOCELL HM3:

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    ISOCELL HM3 from Samsung conveys pro-grade photo capabilities to smartphones. It is designed for excellent color reproduction and low-light performance—the advanced pixel technologies aid you in capturing significant life moments.

    All 108 million pixels combine to create superior quality pictures with refined detail. The 0.8 μm sized pixels are optimized to improve the clarity of images. The optical format of 1/1.33″ is analogous to a massive canvas regarding image sensor size. So, this sensor can absorb more light to assist you in capturing clear photos whenever you press the shutter button.


    • With the Smart-ISO Pro, this sensor is built to capture various brightness levels within the frame accurately. It blends two images in which one highlights vivid areas, and another conveys details in dark regions.
    • With the low-noise mode, this sensor helps you to capture clear and bright images with less noise in a dim light environment.
    • Each shot expresses more colors because this sensor supports 12-bit color depth that elevates color reproduction in mobile photography to the next level.
    • More than 68 billion colors are expressed, suggesting that image output shows 64 times more colors than the 10-bit color depth.
    • This sensor virtually transforms pixel patterns based on the amount of available light. In bright light conditions, this sensor maximizes details through its enhanced remosaic algorithm, leading to brilliant 108MP photos.
    • During low-lit environments, nine pixels absorb more light and produce vivid 12MP images.
    • With the use of the AF-optimized micro-lenses, the Super-PD Plus increases the AF speed in low-light settings. This is done while simultaneously boosting its accuracy. The fast autofocus equips you with the ability to capture blur-free photos of any fast-moving object.
    • This sensor transforms everyday scenes into amazing videos through 8K and 4K video recording support.
    • 8K video recordings @ 30fps are optimized to improve and convey all details in the frame.
    • While recording in 4K, this sensor records at a speed of 120fps. Hence, you can create slow-motion videos.

    Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra comes with a Samsung ISOCELL HM3 sensor.

    Samsung ISOCELL HM2:

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    ISOCELL HM2 guarantees pro-grade performance right in your hands. Designed with first-class image sensor technology, this sensor improves the effectiveness of mobile photography. Packed with 108 million pixels each of size 0.7μm, this sensor is the world’s slimmest, ultra-high resolution image sensor.

    Despite boasting a slim design, this sensor conveys all details with high-resolution images. True-to-life detail is captured in all shots, and your pictures stay sharp even when cropped or zoomed in. A pro-level camera can capture or shoot 8K video when equipped with pro-level camera optics. Furthermore, this image sensor is perfectly designed for use in today’s lighter, thinner smartphones. Hence, you can easily carry a pro-grade camera in your pocket on the move.

    Samsung’s latest ISOCELL Plus technology makes all pixels more powerful and equips them with the ability to generate a bright, lifelike color. This technology utilizes special materials to divide pixels and decrease interference between them. So, light sensitivity and color fidelity are increased. Hence, every shot appears bright and realistic.

    List of phones with Samsung ISOCELL HM2 sensor:

    • Honor 60 (8 GB/ 128 GB)
    • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro (8 GB/256 GB; 6 GB/128 GB)
    • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro+ (8 GB/256 GB; 8 GB/128 GB; 6 GB/128 GB)
    • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro (Max) (8 GB/128 GB; 6 GB/64 GB; 6 GB/128 GB)
    • Honor 50 SE (8 GB/256 GB; 8 GB/128 GB)
    • Xiamoi Redmi Note 9 Pro 5G (8 GB/128 GB; 8 GB/256 GB)


    • The nine-pixel binning technology lets the sensor combine nine tiny 0.7μm pixels into a big 2.1μm pixel to absorb more light. So, this technology guarantees outstanding low-light performance and enables the sensor to generate excellent output in all lighting conditions.
    • This sensor can capture bright, clear 12MP photos in low light conditions. On the other hand, the sensor makes the most of the full 108MP resolution to capture highly detailed photographs. Hence, the best results are guaranteed in any light environment.
    • The high-dynamic range captures stunning images and video, although there is mixed-lighting condition.
    • Three images captured at varying exposure levels are combined to generate HDR images in real-time.
    • The output images are realistic through unique highlights, contrast, and shadows.
    • This sensor finds the optimal ISO setting through Smart-ISO technology. So, noise is reduced, and picture quality is optimized.
    • The high ISO is automatically selected to obtain clearer, brighter images in a dim light environment. No extra noise was added.
    • The sensor shoots in low ISO in a bright light environment to present color-accurate images with high fidelity.
    • With the Gyro Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS), this sensor ensures steadiness in your footage while you shoot a fast-moving scene on the go.
    • The ability to shoot in 8K @ 24fps makes sure all videos you shoot will show cinematic, ultra-high-resolution detail.

    Sony IMX686:

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    The 64 MP camera sensor, i.e., Sony IMX686, can capture lifelike images with real-time HDR support. There is support for image plane phase-difference AF and HDR imaging. In low-light conditions, this sensor can capture bright photos and videos with reduced noise. When compared to previous generation image sensors, it is found that the IMX686 presents a four times higher dynamic range.

    Sony IMX686 vs Samsung ISOCELL GW1

    ModelSony IMX686Samsung ISOCELL GW1
    Pixel Size0.8um to 1.6um (pixel binning)0.8um to 1.6um (tetra cell)
    InterfaceMIPI 4 Lane RAW
    Auto FocusPDAFSuper-PD
    Frame Rate4K@60fps21fps

    The superpixels depend on efficient algorithms to decrease noise. So, significant advances in software will be seen in the future.

    List of phones with Sony IMX686 sensor:

    • Xiaomi Redmi K30
    • Xiaomi Redmi K30 5G
    • Oppo Reno 3
    • Oppo Reno 3 Pro


    • 64 MP effective pixel resolution is dependent on the image sensor effective pixel specification technique.
    • The Quad Bayer color filter array helps the sensor to create a 16 MP high-resolution binned image with a pixel size of 1.6μm.
    • Quad Bayer array provides high sensitivity and high resolution.
    • The Quad Bayer color filter merges 2×2 adjacent pixels to generate a single large pixel. Therefore, pictures with 12 MP and 16 MP resolution are created.
    • The 4-in-1 pixel-binning process increases the original edge length of every pixel. This increment is from 0.8 µm to 1.6 µm. So, it facilitates improved light absorption that shows all details in an image.
    • 2×2 On-Chip Lens (OCL) solution utilizes a condenser lens at the uppermost part of four neighboring pixels that are organized in a Quad Bayer color filter array. This arrangement improves phase detection and ensures high accuracy for small objects. Moreover, it raises the focus performance in dim light environments.
    • The cutting-edge sensor technology enables the sensor to improve low-light capturing ability by improving the light utilization factor.

    Comparison of Samsung ISOCELL HM3 vs HM2 vs Sony IMX686 Specs:

    FeaturesSamsung ISOCELL HM3

    Samsung ISOCELL HM2

    Sony IMX686

    Resolution108 MP108 MP64 MP
    Pixel size0.8 μm0.7 μm0.8 μm to 1.6 μm (pixel binning)
    Color filterNonapixel RGB Bayer PatternRGB Bayer PatternQuad Bayer color filter
    Optical format1/1.33″


    Normal frame rateUp to 10fps @ full 108MP, 90fps @12MPUp to 10fps @full 108Mp,
    90fps @12Mp,
    30fps @12Mp (3D HDR)
    Up to 240 fps @ full
    Video frame rate30fps @ 8K, 120fps @4K, 240fps FHDUp to 24fps @8K, 120fps @4K,
    240fps @FHD, 360fps @HD
    Up to 60 fps @4K
    Shutter typeElectronic rolling shutter and global resetElectronic rolling shutter
    and global reset
    ADC accuracy10 bits10 bits
    Interface4 lanes (6.5Gbps per lane) D-PHY /
    3 lanes (3.5Gsps per lane) C-PHY
    4 lanes (4.5Gbps per lane) D-PHY /
    3 lanes (3.0Gsps per lane) C-PHY
    AutofocusSuper-PD Plus (PDAF)Super-PD (PDAF)PDAF
    WDRSmart-ISO Pro (iDCG),
    Staggered HDR
    Real-time HDR
    Output formatsRAW8 (using DPCM/PCM compression),
    RAW10 and RAW12 output formats
    RAW8 (using DPCM/PCM compression)
    and RAW10 output formats
    Bayer RAW
    Operating temperature-20℃ to +85℃-20℃ to +85℃
    Analog gainx16 (in full 108MP mode and iDCG 12MP mode) and x48 (in other modes)x40 (except in full mode 108Mp)
    Supply voltage2.8V for analog, 1.8V for I/O,
    and 1.05 V for digital core supply
    2.8V for analog, 1.8V for I/O,
    and 1.05 V for digital core supply

    Concluding Note:

    When it comes to capturing bright and clear images with reduced noise, the Samsung ISOCELL HM3 is a better choice in any light condition. To capture true-to-life detail for HDR images in real-time, the ISOCELL HM2, which is the world’s slimmest image sensor, is a better choice.

    To benefit from high-resolution video recording, high dynamic range, and high absorption ability, you can choose the Sony IMX686 image sensor.

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