The Samsung Galaxy S11 would bring a series of significant innovations in photography: Samsung would opt for larger sensors with an increased definition. Also, a new variable aperture system using a “liquid” lenses, an enhanced optical zoom, and probably a new set of time-of-flight (ToF) sensors. All these should push the smartphone’s photographic capabilities to the forefront of what can be done today.
These are only rumors at this stage, but some well-informed tweets suggest that the Samsung Galaxy S11 will make an unprecedented leap forward in photography. Unique in its scope, but also to the competition: Samsung would adopt a series of innovative technologies this year, the result of its acquisitions and research and development work in recent years.
Galaxy S11: will it be the smartphone camera leader?
First, there would be a change in the variable aperture system: until now, the latest Samsung smartphones only proposed to switch from f/1.5 to f/2.4. Note 10 was supposed to add a third f-ratio, but in the end, this wasn’t the case. What we suspect, is that Samsung is finally choosing to adopt a new “liquid” lens system, allowing more aperture without using a more complex mechanical system.
The idea is to use a liquid as an optical element and vary its curvature by applying an electrical voltage. This suggestion does not come from anywhere: Samsung has been working for years with a company called Varioptics, to develop this type of optical device. Varioptic was acquired in 2017 by Corning (which manufactures Gorilla Glass and other lenses) – while Samsung announced a strategic partnership at around the same time.
The video below shows how this device works: a drop of oil is deposited in an aqueous conductive phase on an insulating material, which itself covers a metal electrode. When a voltage is applied to the electrodes, the curvature of the oil drop changes predictably. This drop can thus serve as a variable element whether to enlarge an image or to bring more or less light into the sensor.
Also, Samsung will use its new 64 Mp and 108 Mp sensors. Larger sensors using downsampling and pixel binding – algorithmic methods that allow creating brighter and quieter shots – especially in low light conditions.
Finally, Samsung is reportedly building a production line dedicated to ToF sensors. They are used to provide an accurate depth of field information and thus improve automated image processing. A sensor that is already found in Note 10+. Do you think Samsung can regain the advantage over its competitor Huawei in terms of photography? Will the S11 reach the Huawei P30 Pro’s camera?