Some Samsung Galaxy S6 Phones Are Shipping With Sony's Fantastic IMX240 Camera Sensor... And Some Are Not

One key reason for all of the buzz surrounding Samsung's new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge is the terrific results that users (myself included) are getting from the onboard 16 megapixel rear camera. Lightning-fast boot up and response, sharp images loaded with vibrant color, remarkable low-light performance...the GS6 camera has taken its rightful spot at the top level of cameras fitted to a mobile phone device up until now. Clouding that rosy picture, though, is the revelation that not all Samsung S6 rear-facing cameras are the same. 


Not the same? I'll explain.

Galaxy S6 owners might be shooting with the very impressive Sony IMX240 camera sensor, or they might just be snapping off pics using Samsung's own Isocell unit.

The specifications that Samsung has published for the GS6 and the GS6 Edge don't offer any particular details with regard to either of the camera sensors, front or rear, simply offering "16MP OIS(rear), 5MP (front)". The two sensors being used in the construction of the Samsung devices, though, are actually quite different according to tests run by Samsung fan site Specifically, the tests show the Sony sensor delivering pictures that are sharper, more realistic, and which provide greater depth than the homegrown Samsung sensor (the photos from which are somewhat more vivid).

Of course, the second-sourcing of components is not unusual in manufacturing, though typically quality control demands that there be no significant differences.

In response to the camera sensor issue, Samsung offered the following rhetorical statement:

The Galaxy S6 and S6 edge utilize camera sensors from several different vendors. Like all of the technology used in our products, they meet our strict global quality and performance standards.

At this point there is no easily discernible way for a Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge buyer to know which of the two camera sensors they are getting when purchasing their new pocket pal. No label on the box, no mention in the documentation, no sticker on the device itself. Curious GS6 and GS6 Edge owners, however, can identify the camera sensors being rocked by their shiny new smartphones by dialing *#34971539# to call the CameraFirmware Standard diagnostic and then tapping ISP VER CHECK.