MediaTek Dimensity 1080: 200MP cameras for all


MediaTek introduced its Dimensity 1080 system on a chip (or SoC), which will power affordable smartphones (mid-range). These phones have much higher sales volumes than your high-end, expensive handset and can affect the balance of power of various underlying OS or app platforms.

Dimensity 1080 takes the slot previously occupied by the 6nm Dimensity 920 launched last year. Overall, not much has changed from the 920: there’s a small CPU frequency bump (~4%), but we’re still looking at a CPU cluster made of two ARM Cortex-A78 2.6GHz (2.5Ghz before) and six ARM Cortex-A55 2.0GHz The Mali-G68 MC4 GPU remains cadenced at 950MHz.

However, MediaTek announces “significantly upgraded camera features compared to its predecessor.” We think the foundation for this statement comes from the announced 200 Megapixel camera support. MediaTek has either upgraded or optimized its ISP (Image Signal Processor) design.

If we go back to the official Dimensity 920 specifications, it says, “Max Camera ISP 20MP + 20MP, 108MP”. If you aggregate the throughput, this means 148 Megapixels at maximum speed. To be precise, this is the number of raw pixels that can be practically processed from the sensor in photography. That’s before processing (stacked photography, filters etc.) that happens after the initial ISP work.

Committing to supporting a 108MP camera to a 200MP one is quite a jump. We’ll assume that no other cameras run simultaneously – that’s expected.

This announcement tells us that the megapixel war is alive and that 200 MP cameras will soon enter the mid-range market segment. Users benefit because these extra pixels can bring additional sharpness to the photos in broad daylight.

Unfortunately, most OEMs hide the full-resolution mode deep in the camera app settings (what a mistake!), and nearly no one uses it. We’ve seen that Samsung has a full-resolution option in “auto” mode. Xiaomi used to have an excellent 27MP “auto” mode but has removed it.

Either way, our Ubergizmo CAMERA HW benchmark isn’t swayed by the megapixel marketing alone and manages to correctly classify camera power based on all relevant technical details, so the megapixel war doesn’t affect it much. We’re planning an upgrade based on measurements we’ve taken with the latest sensors to make it even better. Stay tuned!

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