The ISOCELL Vizion 33D is Samsung’s answer to Apple’s LIDAR

Samsung introduces its new ISOCELL Vizion 33D, a 3D ToF (‘Time of Flight’) sensor that allows you to capture distance information and track fast-moving objects to improve autofocus and depth in video.

It is a proposal similar to that offered by Apple with the LIDAR sensor (‘Light Detection and Ranging or Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging’) of the new iPhone 12 Pro, which in turn continues the trend of incorporating ToF sensors to complement the mobile camera. With the Galaxy S20 Ultra , Samsung already added one of these depth sensors, but it was from Sony, the main manufacturer of this type of sensor . Now, Samsung presents its alternative.

Samsung targets ToF sensors

The new ISOCELL sensor produces an image with 640 x 480 pixel resolution, at a distance between 0.2 centimeters and up to 5 meters . The sensor comes equipped with four-touch demodulation technology and can receive images up to 120 fps, for low-latency tracking.

When used in automatic mode, the sensor will require 200 mW of power (160 mW only for the sensor and the rest for the infrared), while for continuous tracking it is increased to 400 mW. It will be this last mode that we will use when using video rendering with ‘bokeh’ or games in augmented reality.

Samsung adds ‘Deep Trench Isolation’ technology to try and improve pixel isolation, which translates into an improvement when it comes to cleanly separating the subject from the background .

The Vizion 33D also works to activate the face unlock functions , so we may see it both on the back of the phones and on the front.

Despite its minimum resolution of 0.3 megapixels and a size of 7 micrometers, this sensor comes with the intention of replacing laser focus , promising a better result in low light conditions.

At the moment no details are known of which mobile will be the first to release this new sensor, but all eyes point to the possible Samsung Galaxy S21 in some of its advanced versions. It is not ruled out that they are other brands, such as Xiaomi that has already released the 108 megapixel sensor , who bet first on this new Samsung ToF sensor.

John Hartshorne
Senior IT engineer by the UPM of training and technical editor by profession, I have been writing in print and online media since the late 90s.