Samsung has published a video that details how its Smart-ISO Pro technology works. The company explains that unlike how traditional ISO functions, its tech can capture two ISO ranges at the same time in the same photo to dramatically expand the dynamic range and color accuracy.
Smartphone image sensors have massive limitations when compared to the larger sensors found on dedicated cameras, and as a result, smartphone companies like Samsung have to rely on various computational photography techniques in order to produce photos that look remotely acceptable in comparison. Samsung’s latest 108-megapixel sensor found on the Galaxy S21 Ultra, its ISOCELL HM3, has much better dynamic range than its previous sensors thanks mainly to a technology it details in the video above: Smart-ISO Pro.
The above is clearly designed to explain to those unfamiliar with photography terms and technology how sensors capture light and actually does an excellent job breaking that process down.
In digital photography, the conversion gain determines the light sensitivity of the image sensor and is utilized to convert light into voltage. When shooting in low-light environments, details in dark areas can be lost if the conversion gain is too low. By contrast, the image sensor may not be able to retain sufficient color information if the conversion gain is too high in brighter environments.
Most mobile image sensors have a fixed conversion gain. This makes it challenging for smartphones to consistently capture high-quality photos across different lighting environments. The problem can then become even more pronounced in mixed lighting environments with extreme lighting discrepancies, such as backlit portraits.