Samsung ISOCELL HMX vs IMX686 – Specs Comparison

    To present detailed image output, the sensor in your smartphone should have a large pixel size. The Samsung ISOCELL HMX and IMX686 sensors have large pixel dimensions to deliver precise and sharper image output.

    Also Read: Samsung ISOCELL HMX vs IMX686

    Moreover, both of them come with excellent light absorption efficiency. Despite boasting several similarities, there are specific noticeable differences between these two image sensors. Let’s first look at the details of each of them and then look at the comparison:

    Samsung ISOCELL HMX:

    Samsung ISOCELL HMX is a unique ultra-high 108 MP mobile image sensor implemented with cutting-edge pixel technologies like Smart-ISO and ISOCELL Plus. These technologies let the sensor generate sharp images with excellent color fidelity.

    With 108 million pixels, this sensor captures and produces well-defined images showcasing fine details. These many pixels contribute to a single image so that a photo can remain sharp, although cropped or zoomed in. The sensor uses tiny 0.8 μm -sized pixels to incorporate such a huge number of pixels (1.6 μm when binned together).

    This Samsung sensor is the first mobile image sensor that adopts a huge 1/1.33-inch size. So, it can absorb more light compared to smaller sensors. The light absorption efficiency is high, although there is dim light around. This is why this sensor is an ideal choice for those who are looking to capture professional-grade photography.

    To capture and generate color appropriately, all small 0.8 μm-sized pixel needs to absorb adequate light information without getting tainted by adjacent pixels. The ISOCELL HMX pixels are implemented with Samsung’s ISOCELL Plus technology for precise color reproduction. It is a cutting-edge pixel isolation technology that reduces cross-talk and optical loss by applying a barrier across each pixel.

    List of phones with Samsung ISOCELL HMX sensor:

    • Xiaomi Mi Note 10
    • Mi Mix Alpha (Draco)
    • Mi Note 10 Pro (Tucana)
    • Mi 10 (umi)
    • Mi 10 Pro (cmi)


    • The gain assists in enhancing picture quality, specifically in low-light environments, but a fixed single native ISO comes with its limits. So, this sensor is designed with two native ISOs -a low and a high ISO. So, more flexibility is offered in the amount of gain provided.
    • Smart-ISO technology smartly chooses the level of amplifier gains per the environment’s illumination. It works on the optimal light-to-electric signal conversion, giving your camera more versatility in different light settings.
    • Once the light information is obtained by the pixels, it passes through a signal amplifier or a fixed amount of analog gain. Subsequently, it is transformed into a digital signal through ADC (analog-digital converter).
    • For improved low-light photography, this sensor transforms the 0.8 μm pixels into 1.6 μm pixels through Tetrapixel technology. This technology blends adjacent four pixels to function as a single pixel. Though merging decreases to 27 MP from 108 MP, the converted 1.6 μm pixels enhance the sensor’s light sensitivity. So, output appears better in dim light conditions.
    • Super-PD autofocus, the latest phase detecting autofocus solution, provides accurate and fast focusing on still or swift-moving objects, although the light setting is dim.
    • The shutter type is electronic rolling shutter and global reset.
    • ADC accuracy is 10-bits.
    • The range of operating temperature is -20 to +70.
    • The output format is RAW10.
    • The analog gain is x32.

    Sony IMX686:

    The Sony IMX686 is a 64 MP camera sensor having a pixel resolution of 9248 x 6944. It can capture images with real-time HDR support. Moreover, it measures 1/1.7-inch in size and is paired with a 1.6 μm pixel dimension. Some of the features of IMX686 are identical to Samsung’s GW1 sensor that was available on Redmi Note 8 Pro and several other phones.

    This Sony sensor supports image plane phase-difference AF and HDR imaging. It owns the ability to capture vivid, low-noise photos and videos during dim light conditions. The IMX686 boasts a four times higher dynamic range compared to previous sensors.

    In low light conditions, this sensor may not be efficient. But, because the superpixels of the IMX686 chiefly rely on efficient algorithms to reduce noise, noticeable advances in software will be observed in the near future.

    List of phones with Samsung ISOCELL HMX sensor:

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


    • Total effective pixel, i.e., 64 MP, is based on the image sensor effective pixel specification technique.
    • The Quad Bayer color filter array creates a 16 MP high-resolution binned image with a pixel size of 1.6μm.
    • High resolution and high sensitivity are offered with the Quad Bayer array.
    • The Quad Bayer color filter combines 2×2 adjacent pixels to create a single large pixel. Hence, pictures with 12 MP and 16 MP resolution are created.
    • The 4-in-1 pixel-binning process amplifies the actual edge length of each pixel, from 0.8 µm to 1.6 µm. This means more light absorption that leads to detailed image capturing.
    • 2×2 On-Chip Lens (OCL) solution uses a condenser lens at the top of four neighboring pixels arranged in a Quad Bayer color filter array. This system enhances phase detection and offers high accuracy for tiny objects. Also, this increases the focus performance in low-light environments.
    • The latest sensor technology allows the sensor to enhance low-light capturing ability. It does this by increasing the light utilization factor.

    Comparison of Samsung ISOCELL HMX vs IMX686:

    FeaturesSamsung ISOCELL HMXSony IMX686
    Resolution12,032 x 9,024 (108M)64 MP (9248 x 6944)
    Pixel size0.8 μm0.8 μm to 1.6 μm (pixel binning)
    Pixel typeISOCELL PlusExmor RS sensors
    Color filterTetrapixel RGB Bayer PatternQuad Bayer color filter
    Optical format1/1.33″1/1.7″

    9.3 mm



    Normal frame rateUp to 10 fps @ fullUp to 240 fps @ full
    Video frame rateUp to 148 fps @1080pUp to 60 fps @4K
    Shutter typeElectronic Rolling Shutter
    and Global Reset
    ADC accuracy10-bits
    InterfaceMIPI 4 Lane RAW
    AutofocusSuper-PD (PDAF)PDAF
    Output formatsRAW10Bayer RAW (Quad Bayer


    Analog gainx32

    Concluding Note:

    When it comes to low-light photography, Samsung ISOCELL HMX is more suitable than the IMX686 sensor. In terms of high dynamic range, high-resolution video recording, and high absorption ability, IMX686 is a better choice.

    In terms of accurate color reproduction, low optical loss, and fast autofocus performance, ISOCELL HMX is a better choice.

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