Friday, October 16, 2020

Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Uses ST AF Sensor instead of Sony iToF

TechInsights teardown reveals that Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra uses ST AF sensor instead of Sony Sony IMX516 iToF in the previous generation:

"Samsung introduced us to the Sony IMX516 i-ToF in Q4 2019 when it featured the new sensor alongside Galaxy Note10+ 5Gs rear-facing cameras. At the time we were impressed Sony had scaled its back-illuminated 10 µm ToF pixels, in use in the IMX316, down to 5 µm for the new IMX516. The IMX516, with its 640 x 480 resolution and 4.85 mm x 5.11 mm (24.8 mm2) die size, was predicted to have a strong showing in future products. It did indeed land in Huawei’s Mate 30 Pro (2019) and Samsung’s Galaxy S20+ (2020) and we expected it would be reused in Note20."

TheElec reports that "indirect ToF falls behind iPhone 12 Pro’s direct ToF in range. Apple has an exclusive contract with Sony for the direct ToF, forcing Samsung to buy indirect ToF from the Japanese tech giant.

If Apple introduces sufficient contents with its ToF, Samsung will likely reapply the modules for its smartphones as well."


  1. is ST AF sensor a ToF technology too ? or a different concept?

  2. You are mixing technologies and use cases.

    Sony dToF/iTOF are "area sensors" with 10s of thousands of depth points (30K for Apple dTOF and up to 300K VGA for iToF). The ST sensor is a few pixels used for ranging and AF only, and cannot be used for AR or computational photography beyond AF.

    So Samsung actually reduced the features/ability by going to ST dToF ranging sensors and is doing the basics at a lower cost. Will the Apple move force Samsung back up to an area sensor? We'll have to wait and see.

    ST has no area sensors on the market: right now it is Sony, Infineon and Samsung LSI, with a few bit players floating around.

    1. And ADI:

    2. And Panasonic, Brookman, Brainvision, etc.


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