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Samsung Galaxy S7 Britecell vs Sony IMX260 sensors, Low Light Comparison

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NaimC

Senior Member
Apr 23, 2008
150
173
A few people asked for this, so here it is.

My personal thoughts. - They trade blows, neither one is always the best.

Now I should preface by saying that both sensors did far better than I expected them to. A lot of these images don't look very dark, but when I was actually taking them, sometimes I could barely even see what I was taking photo's of, especially the one's of the car exteriors and interiors. Both sensors brighten dark environments up considerably, more so than any other camera phone I've previously used.

Essentially, the truth is there is very little between these two sensors, and both perform very well. Unless you're really pixel peeping, often times it's hard to see differences in either one's favour. They trade blows shot to shot, as you will see from the following examples. In some shots the Britecell does better, in other shots the IMX260. Other times the one that ends up better is more of a case of which part of the photo you're looking at, and therein lies some of the differences that I did notice.


What are the differences? - The shot that is the notably larger file size is usually always the one with more detail.

As stated above, these sensors trade blows, sometimes one performs better, other times the other. I'm not actually sure how much of that is down to the sensor, and how much is down to the software or processing, as one alarming trend I've noticed is that every single shot that I prefer out of the two, is usually always the one with the much larger file size. If one photo of the two is larger in file size by a noteworthy amount, it's almost a foregone conclusion that it will be the more detailed, sharp and/or less noisy than the other.

How about differences beyond those dictated by image file size?

Consistency.
Neither one is consistently the better performer with respect to detail and noise, but I would say the IMX260 is ever so slightly more reliable with these two things. Again, I don't know if that's actually to do with the sensor, or to do with the software.

Focus priorities.
Another difference I've noticed is that background objects, e.g. those further behind your main object of focus, can sometimes be less in focus with the Britecell than they are in the IMX260 shots. It's almost like the Britecell now and again chooses to have a narrower focus range, which in shots looks as if it's using more depth of field or a higher aperture, though a quick look at EXIF data shows it's actually using the same aperture and settings as the IMX260. Conversely, the Britecell also now and again has up close or foreground objects, notably those closest to the camera user, even if they're closer than the thing you're focused on, looking more in focus than they do with the IMX260. This weird difference occurred several times during my comparison, and I thought it odd.

White balance.
Another difference I noticed is that on occasion, in very low light conditions, the Britecell sometimes pushed red in terms of white balance, whilst the IMX260 pushed more on the yellow side. Not really sure which is more accurate, I'd imagine something in-between. But most of the time the two are very similar in overall colour tone and balance.

Focusing speed.
Lastly, in extreme low light conditions, I found the IMX260 focused faster than the Britecell. Where the IMX260 focused reliably and efficiently, the Britecell would seek for just a split second or two before it took the shot. Neither ever actually failed to focus however, it's just that sometimes the Britecell took a little longer. In daylight or ordinary low light conditions, both focus ridiculously fast.


Comparison shots.

Anyway, on to some of the comparison shots. I've posted the shots in full, as well as links to crops of different parts of each shot, so you can get a close up of all aspects of the images, without zooming in yourself. For most shots I have links showing an up close crop of the right side, left side, top and bottom of each image.

Top is Samsung's Britetcell, bottom is the Sony IMX260.


1. Britecell - 3.8mb, IMX260 - 3.7mb.
Winner: Very close, Britecell more detailed in areas, Sony in others.

eDX5Jc.jpg

HGfFoJ.jpg

Comparison 1 - Focus area
Comparison 1 - Right
Comparison 1 - Left
Comparison 1 - Top

2. Britecell - 3.2mb, IMX260 - 3.1mb.
Winner: Also very, very close, Britecell a fraction more detailed in areas, Sony in others.


Comparison 2 - Focus area
Comparison 2 - Right
Comparison 2 - Top

3. Britecell - 3.9mb, IMX260 - 3.6mb.
Winner: Britecell easily takes this one. Just a lot more detail and sharpness overall.


Comparison 3 - Focus area
Comparison 3 - Right
Comparison 3 - Left
Comparison 3 - Top

4. Britecell - 4.7mb, IMX260 - 3.5mb.
Winner: Aside from the left gearstick, the Britecell again handily takes this. There's just more overall detail retrieval.


Comparison 4 - Focus area
Comparison 4 - Right
Comparison 4 - Left
Comparison 4 - Top
Comparison 4 - Bottom

5. Britecell - 6.2mb, IMX260 - 6.1mb.
Winner: Too close to call, though this does show off the added blur with background objects with the Britecell.


Comparison 5 - Focus area
Comparison 5 - Right
Comparison 5 - Left
Comparison 5 - Top

6. Britecell - 4.5mb, IMX260 - 4.8mb.
Winner: This one easily goes to the Sony. More detail and less noise.


Comparison 6 - Focus area
Comparison 6 - Right
Comparison 6 - Left
Comparison 6 - Bottom

7. Britecell - 5.2mb, IMX260 - 5.1mb.
Winner: Whilst I feel the colour balance is more true to life with the Sony, the Britecell wins it in being a bit more consistent with detail.


Comparison 7 - Focus area
Comparison 7 - Right
Comparison 7 - Left
Comparison 7 - Top
Comparison 7 - Bottom

8. Britecell - 4.3mb, IMX260 - 4.0mb.
Winner: This one's very close, but breaking the file size rule, the IMX260 edges it out with less noise and a slight sharpness advantage in areas such as the wheels.


Comparison 8 - Focus area
Comparison 8 - Right
Comparison 8 - Left
Comparison 8 - Bottom

9. Britecell - 3.5mb, IMX260 - 3.5mb.
Winner: Again, perhaps too close to call, though the colour balance is a touch more accurate with the Britecell.


Comparison 9 - Focus area
Comparison 9 - Right
Comparison 9 - Left
Comparison 9 - top
Comparison 9 - Bottom

10. Britecell - 3.6mb, IMX260 - 3.4mb.
Winner: The Brightcell takes this with less noise and sharper details.


Comparison 10 - Focus area
Comparison 10 - Left
Comparison 10 - top

11. Britecell - 4.9mb, IMX260 - 5.3mb.
Winner: The Brightsell has the sharper foreground (chairs), but the Sony has far more in focus, especially on the left side distant objects. Overall the edge goes to the IMX260.


Comparison 11 - Focus area
Comparison 11 - Right
Comparison 11 - Left
Comparison 11 - top
Comparison 11 - Bottom

12. Britecell - 4.9mb, IMX260 - 5.3mb.
Winner: Same situation here with the foreground focus versus the background focus, but overall with slightly more detail retrieval the IMX260 takes it.


Comparison 12 - Focus area
Comparison 12 - Right
Comparison 12 - top
Comparison 12 - Bottom

Thanks for viewing!
 
Last edited:

Willyman

Senior Member
Aug 26, 2015
415
162
i think it's to have anough in production. Yeah it's stupid.

It's not stupid, it's the standard process in this industry. Apple does the same with their displays and CPUs. Furthermore, the spec is exactly the same for both sensors. I'm assuming (i.e. I have no proof) that Samsung is paying a license fee which allows them to manufacture the Sony designed sensor.
 
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the Doctor

Retired Senior Moderator
Dec 15, 2011
4,590
4,520
In the TARDIS
It's not stupid, it's the standard process in this industry. Apple does the same with their displays and CPUs. Furthermore, the spec is exactly the same for both sensors. I'm assuming (i.e. I have no proof) that Samsung is paying a license fee which allows them to manufacture the Sony designed sensor.
^^^ This +1 It's a reality of the tech industry and has no impact on 99.9999% of all end users. The only truly negative consequence is that it gives trolls an opportunity to troll.

Thank you, it should reassure everyone that they are very close and shouldn't matter whether you have Britecell or IMX.
Also +1

@OP, great job, thanks! Suggestion: Put the pictures in hide tags so the page will load better for people on mobile devices or with slow internet :good:
 
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xxaarraa

Senior Member
Aug 8, 2008
419
229
Thanks for the very good comparison. I have had 3 different S6E's and the isocell variant produced better photos than the Sony sensors. On the S7, it looks like britecell versus sony is negligible. Good to know.
 

Ausboy 2011

Senior Member
Oct 31, 2011
2,209
498
got the sammy sensor in my exynos s7 edge photos are so amazing i looked for difference in wifes s7 with sony sensor and they have about ~2% difference if that. both are great camera sensors.
 

dmitrimpe

Member
Mar 11, 2016
10
13
I am pretty certain "Sony's" IMX 260 sensor is just a custom order placed by Samsung for the S7 line (according to Samsung's design and spec-sheet), therefore I would actually consider it a Samsung sensor fabricated in Sony's fabs just as Apple's A9 is fabed both in TSMC's and Samsung's fabs. The Samsung S5K2L1 part is just the same sensor fabed in Samsung's own fabs. It's NOT by chance that both sensors are labeled with the same "signature ending" IS->Isocell (SONY_IMX260_FIMC_IS and SLSI_S5K2L1_FIMC_IS). Any (IF any AT ALL) differences that presumably are "observed" are as minute and inconsistent as it would be expected and considered 100% NORMAL even between two same sensors coming off out of the same fab (Sony's or Samsung's).
A possible confirmation of the hypothesis above can/will be made once we see IF "Sony's" IMX 260 sensor pops up inside any other OEM's flagship phone. Since it's such a GOOD sensor it would only make sense for other OEMs to employ it in their products too. If "Sony's" IMX 260 sensor HOWEVER does NOT pop up anywhere else (besides Samsung's products), it basically means it's NOT available to anyone else BESIDES Samsung, therefore it's Samsung's "child".
Besides, I am willing to bet that if someone cared to make an A-B photo test using TWO S7 units BOTH employing the SAME sensor (Sony's or Samsung's), he/she would realize that the "results" wouldn't be "identical" in that case either.
One last thought, Samsung announced two days ago their new S5K2L1 sensor disclosing it's already in mass production, Sony on the other hand never announced an IMX260 sensor ;) and YET it's out there ...
Pay attention to the following extract from ChipWorks:
"...We were expecting to find TSV arrays around the periphery of the active pixel array, corresponding to Sony’s stacked chip (Exmor RS) technology platform. Sony hasn’t publicly announced the IMX260, but based on what we’ve been reading, we assume that is the part number. It’s a bit of a surprise that the IMX260 isn’t an Exmor RS sensor, as we’ve been documenting a lot of Sony design wins based on its 1st and 2nd generation Exmor RS..."
Source: dpreview.com
Article tittle: Samsung Galaxy S7 teardown reveals Sony IMX260 Dual-pixel sensor
 
Last edited:

CLARiiON

Senior Member
Apr 10, 2013
925
617
I am pretty certain "Sony's" IMX 260 sensor is just a custom order placed by Samsung for the S7 line (according to Samsung's design and spec-sheet), therefore I would actually consider it a Samsung sensor fabricated in Sony's fabs just as Apple's A9 is fabed both in TSMC's and Samsung's fabs. The Samsung S5K2L1 part is just the same sensor fabed in Samsung's own fabs. It's NOT by chance that both sensors are labeled with the same "signature ending" IS->Isocell (SONY_IMX260_FIMC_IS and SLSI_S5K2L1_FIMC_IS). Any (IF any AT ALL) differences that presumably are "observed" are as minute and inconsistent as it would be expected and considered 100% NORMAL even between two same sensors coming off out of the same fab (Sony's or Samsung's).
A possible confirmation of the hypothesis above can/will be made once we see IF "Sony's" IMX 260 sensor pops up inside any other OEM's flagship phone. Since it's such a GOOD sensor it would only make sense for other OEMs to employ it in their products too. If "Sony's" IMX 260 sensor HOWEVER does NOT pop up anywhere else (besides Samsung's products), it basically means it's NOT available to anyone else BESIDES Samsung, therefore it's Samsung's "child".
Besides, I am willing to bet that if someone cared to make an A-B photo test using TWO S7 units BOTH employing the SAME sensor (Sony's or Samsung's), he/she would realize that the "results" wouldn't be "identical" in that case either.
One last thought, Samsung announced two days ago their new S5K2L1 sensor disclosing it's already in mass production, Sony on the other hand never announced an IMX260 sensor ;) and YET it's out there ...

Welcome to the forum!
You speak more sense in your 1st post than many people who would have posted 1000 times. Yes, what you say is absolutely correct. Both sensors use ISOCELL technology. Both are are CMOS. ISOCELL is just some additional tech embedded into them, Apple also uses this - deep trench isolation.

ISOCELL is actually the commercial name of what Samsung calls 3D-Backside Illuminated Pixel with Front-Side Deep-Trench Isolation (F-DTI) and Vertical Transfer Gate (VTG).

Both sensors have exact same spec, just manufactured by different vendors - SLSI and Sony. You won't find IMX260 on Sony site, because they can't sell it to other customers like they sell IMX298/IMX377 etc.,
 

dmitrimpe

Member
Mar 11, 2016
10
13
Thank you CLARiiON, I edited my post adding an interesting and revealing extract as proof of my hypothesis from a teardown ChipWorks did on an S7 unit. Unfortunately since I am a new member I can't post the article's link, I would encourage EVERYONE though to search for that article and read it CAREFULLY
 
Last edited:
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Cst79

Senior Member
Oct 5, 2013
697
379
Thank you for the detailed review.

To be honest, I like the Britecell colors a lot more. Sony has a typical green cast (specific to many of their sensors) that I hate.
 

CLARiiON

Senior Member
Apr 10, 2013
925
617
Both sensors are very good - I see no reason why anyone would be unhappy with either of these. Let's discuss more about other important issues like batterylife, throttling etc.,
 

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  • 55
    A few people asked for this, so here it is.

    My personal thoughts. - They trade blows, neither one is always the best.

    Now I should preface by saying that both sensors did far better than I expected them to. A lot of these images don't look very dark, but when I was actually taking them, sometimes I could barely even see what I was taking photo's of, especially the one's of the car exteriors and interiors. Both sensors brighten dark environments up considerably, more so than any other camera phone I've previously used.

    Essentially, the truth is there is very little between these two sensors, and both perform very well. Unless you're really pixel peeping, often times it's hard to see differences in either one's favour. They trade blows shot to shot, as you will see from the following examples. In some shots the Britecell does better, in other shots the IMX260. Other times the one that ends up better is more of a case of which part of the photo you're looking at, and therein lies some of the differences that I did notice.


    What are the differences? - The shot that is the notably larger file size is usually always the one with more detail.

    As stated above, these sensors trade blows, sometimes one performs better, other times the other. I'm not actually sure how much of that is down to the sensor, and how much is down to the software or processing, as one alarming trend I've noticed is that every single shot that I prefer out of the two, is usually always the one with the much larger file size. If one photo of the two is larger in file size by a noteworthy amount, it's almost a foregone conclusion that it will be the more detailed, sharp and/or less noisy than the other.

    How about differences beyond those dictated by image file size?

    Consistency.
    Neither one is consistently the better performer with respect to detail and noise, but I would say the IMX260 is ever so slightly more reliable with these two things. Again, I don't know if that's actually to do with the sensor, or to do with the software.

    Focus priorities.
    Another difference I've noticed is that background objects, e.g. those further behind your main object of focus, can sometimes be less in focus with the Britecell than they are in the IMX260 shots. It's almost like the Britecell now and again chooses to have a narrower focus range, which in shots looks as if it's using more depth of field or a higher aperture, though a quick look at EXIF data shows it's actually using the same aperture and settings as the IMX260. Conversely, the Britecell also now and again has up close or foreground objects, notably those closest to the camera user, even if they're closer than the thing you're focused on, looking more in focus than they do with the IMX260. This weird difference occurred several times during my comparison, and I thought it odd.

    White balance.
    Another difference I noticed is that on occasion, in very low light conditions, the Britecell sometimes pushed red in terms of white balance, whilst the IMX260 pushed more on the yellow side. Not really sure which is more accurate, I'd imagine something in-between. But most of the time the two are very similar in overall colour tone and balance.

    Focusing speed.
    Lastly, in extreme low light conditions, I found the IMX260 focused faster than the Britecell. Where the IMX260 focused reliably and efficiently, the Britecell would seek for just a split second or two before it took the shot. Neither ever actually failed to focus however, it's just that sometimes the Britecell took a little longer. In daylight or ordinary low light conditions, both focus ridiculously fast.


    Comparison shots.

    Anyway, on to some of the comparison shots. I've posted the shots in full, as well as links to crops of different parts of each shot, so you can get a close up of all aspects of the images, without zooming in yourself. For most shots I have links showing an up close crop of the right side, left side, top and bottom of each image.

    Top is Samsung's Britetcell, bottom is the Sony IMX260.


    1. Britecell - 3.8mb, IMX260 - 3.7mb.
    Winner: Very close, Britecell more detailed in areas, Sony in others.


    Comparison 1 - Focus area
    Comparison 1 - Right
    Comparison 1 - Left
    Comparison 1 - Top

    2. Britecell - 3.2mb, IMX260 - 3.1mb.
    Winner: Also very, very close, Britecell a fraction more detailed in areas, Sony in others.


    Comparison 2 - Focus area
    Comparison 2 - Right
    Comparison 2 - Top

    3. Britecell - 3.9mb, IMX260 - 3.6mb.
    Winner: Britecell easily takes this one. Just a lot more detail and sharpness overall.


    Comparison 3 - Focus area
    Comparison 3 - Right
    Comparison 3 - Left
    Comparison 3 - Top

    4. Britecell - 4.7mb, IMX260 - 3.5mb.
    Winner: Aside from the left gearstick, the Britecell again handily takes this. There's just more overall detail retrieval.


    Comparison 4 - Focus area
    Comparison 4 - Right
    Comparison 4 - Left
    Comparison 4 - Top
    Comparison 4 - Bottom

    5. Britecell - 6.2mb, IMX260 - 6.1mb.
    Winner: Too close to call, though this does show off the added blur with background objects with the Britecell.


    Comparison 5 - Focus area
    Comparison 5 - Right
    Comparison 5 - Left
    Comparison 5 - Top

    6. Britecell - 4.5mb, IMX260 - 4.8mb.
    Winner: This one easily goes to the Sony. More detail and less noise.


    Comparison 6 - Focus area
    Comparison 6 - Right
    Comparison 6 - Left
    Comparison 6 - Bottom

    7. Britecell - 5.2mb, IMX260 - 5.1mb.
    Winner: Whilst I feel the colour balance is more true to life with the Sony, the Britecell wins it in being a bit more consistent with detail.


    Comparison 7 - Focus area
    Comparison 7 - Right
    Comparison 7 - Left
    Comparison 7 - Top
    Comparison 7 - Bottom

    8. Britecell - 4.3mb, IMX260 - 4.0mb.
    Winner: This one's very close, but breaking the file size rule, the IMX260 edges it out with less noise and a slight sharpness advantage in areas such as the wheels.


    Comparison 8 - Focus area
    Comparison 8 - Right
    Comparison 8 - Left
    Comparison 8 - Bottom

    9. Britecell - 3.5mb, IMX260 - 3.5mb.
    Winner: Again, perhaps too close to call, though the colour balance is a touch more accurate with the Britecell.


    Comparison 9 - Focus area
    Comparison 9 - Right
    Comparison 9 - Left
    Comparison 9 - top
    Comparison 9 - Bottom

    10. Britecell - 3.6mb, IMX260 - 3.4mb.
    Winner: The Brightcell takes this with less noise and sharper details.


    Comparison 10 - Focus area
    Comparison 10 - Left
    Comparison 10 - top

    11. Britecell - 4.9mb, IMX260 - 5.3mb.
    Winner: The Brightsell has the sharper foreground (chairs), but the Sony has far more in focus, especially on the left side distant objects. Overall the edge goes to the IMX260.


    Comparison 11 - Focus area
    Comparison 11 - Right
    Comparison 11 - Left
    Comparison 11 - top
    Comparison 11 - Bottom

    12. Britecell - 4.9mb, IMX260 - 5.3mb.
    Winner: Same situation here with the foreground focus versus the background focus, but overall with slightly more detail retrieval the IMX260 takes it.


    Comparison 12 - Focus area
    Comparison 12 - Right
    Comparison 12 - top
    Comparison 12 - Bottom

    Thanks for viewing!
    11
    Hi all, I'm posting this here as well. Hope it's ok ;)

    ---

    So, I got a chance today - with the help of xda member @MarsLights - to compare my Samsung S7 Edge with Isocell sensor and his Samsung S7 Edge with Sony sensor. We did a short test, with auto and manual mode and I'll post details of each shot before each set. I also did a Juxtapose of the two images so you can have a feel of the whole picture the two sensors take -> So please see those Juxtapose comparisons by clicking the link and opening them in a new tab (XDA doesn't seem to allow me to embed them with their iframe)

    Al shots were take with the phones on a tripod. First one in each set is woth the Isocell Sensor and the second one with the Sony sensor.

    1. Auto, HDR auto (even with the HDR turned off it still got the same result so I won't bother posting that too)

    Isocell - ISO 250, 1/10 sec,
    Sony - ISO 250, 1/10 sec

    Comparison here: https://cdn.knightlab.com/libs/juxt...html?uid=039ac898-e7c3-11e5-a524-0e7075bba956

    NOTE - in the Isocell photo the withe balance tends to be more red-ish. Just look at the sky in the background.

    awrPozz.jpg


    e1EQaGm.jpg


    2. Manual/Pro Mode - ISO set to 100, Exposure time to 1/6 and auto WB:

    Comparison here: https://cdn.knightlab.com/libs/juxt...html?uid=546b1980-e7c3-11e5-a524-0e7075bba956

    NOTE - Again, the Isocell photo is more warmer and darker than the Sony one.
    ---
    9kCnySB.jpg


    gYQHaj0.jpg


    3. Manual/Pro Mode - ISO set to 100, Exposure time to 1/6, WB set to 3700 K (because both sensor would return previous photos a little to red-ish/yellow-ish seeing as how the lights in the square are actually white led lights)

    Comparison here: https://cdn.knightlab.com/libs/juxt...html?uid=95109a14-e7c3-11e5-a524-0e7075bba956

    NOTE - Although both are set to the same white balance (3700 K), there is a clear difference between the two.
    ---
    ljLdNZ0.jpg


    7UmJGZR.jpg


    4. Auto, HDR on auto
    ISOCELL - ISO 1250, 1/10 sec
    Sony - ISO 1600, 1/10 sec

    Comparison here: https://cdn.knightlab.com/libs/juxt...html?uid=454bca16-e7c4-11e5-a524-0e7075bba956

    NOTE In this scene the phones captured more light that we could actually see with our own eyes. Again, the Isocell delivered a more warmer image, but it did actually get more crisp details if you zoom in on each photos.

    ---
    Tl14FcE.jpg


    1MnUdCI.jpg


    5. Manual/Pro Mode - ISO set to 200, exposure to 1/4 sec

    Comparison here: https://cdn.knightlab.com/libs/juxt...html?uid=2a6cdc76-e7c4-11e5-a524-0e7075bba956

    NOTE - In this setting the Isocell managed to gather more light than the SOny sensor.
    ---

    RKkr0wI.jpg


    CUHw6mQ.jpg


    6. Manual/Pro Mode - ISO set to 100, exposure to 1/2 sec

    Comparison here: https://cdn.knightlab.com/libs/juxt...html?uid=657688c6-e7c4-11e5-a524-0e7075bba956

    NOTE Again, in this setting, the Isocell managed to pull in a bit more light.

    SaUVIS3.jpg

    adFkmq7.jpg


    ---

    My small conclusion is that both sensor deliver similar performance and the difference between the two are negligible. With that being said, I do think that the Isocell sensor needs more calibrating on the white balance front...

    What do you think?

    P.S. If it's ok with the Admins around here, I'll post this on the thread regarding the Isocell VS sony too. If not, please feel free to delete one of them.
    6
    I am pretty certain "Sony's" IMX 260 sensor is just a custom order placed by Samsung for the S7 line (according to Samsung's design and spec-sheet), therefore I would actually consider it a Samsung sensor fabricated in Sony's fabs just as Apple's A9 is fabed both in TSMC's and Samsung's fabs. The Samsung S5K2L1 part is just the same sensor fabed in Samsung's own fabs. It's NOT by chance that both sensors are labeled with the same "signature ending" IS->Isocell (SONY_IMX260_FIMC_IS and SLSI_S5K2L1_FIMC_IS). Any (IF any AT ALL) differences that presumably are "observed" are as minute and inconsistent as it would be expected and considered 100% NORMAL even between two same sensors coming off out of the same fab (Sony's or Samsung's).
    A possible confirmation of the hypothesis above can/will be made once we see IF "Sony's" IMX 260 sensor pops up inside any other OEM's flagship phone. Since it's such a GOOD sensor it would only make sense for other OEMs to employ it in their products too. If "Sony's" IMX 260 sensor HOWEVER does NOT pop up anywhere else (besides Samsung's products), it basically means it's NOT available to anyone else BESIDES Samsung, therefore it's Samsung's "child".
    Besides, I am willing to bet that if someone cared to make an A-B photo test using TWO S7 units BOTH employing the SAME sensor (Sony's or Samsung's), he/she would realize that the "results" wouldn't be "identical" in that case either.
    One last thought, Samsung announced two days ago their new S5K2L1 sensor disclosing it's already in mass production, Sony on the other hand never announced an IMX260 sensor ;) and YET it's out there ...
    Pay attention to the following extract from ChipWorks:
    "...We were expecting to find TSV arrays around the periphery of the active pixel array, corresponding to Sony’s stacked chip (Exmor RS) technology platform. Sony hasn’t publicly announced the IMX260, but based on what we’ve been reading, we assume that is the part number. It’s a bit of a surprise that the IMX260 isn’t an Exmor RS sensor, as we’ve been documenting a lot of Sony design wins based on its 1st and 2nd generation Exmor RS..."
    Source: dpreview.com
    Article tittle: Samsung Galaxy S7 teardown reveals Sony IMX260 Dual-pixel sensor
    5
    I was playing with IMX260 and ISOCELL for entire day today. After a lot of testing in daylight (sunny) and low light of both sensors my thoughts looks like these ones:

    IMX260
    1. Marginally sharper across the frame - for pixel peepers
    2. Overprocessed photos - too much sharpening, too strong color saturation
    3. A lot of post processing artifacts, for example: NOISE, halos, strange looking edges
    4. Fast but unreliable auto focus in all conditions
    5. Sometimes AF fails in macro shots
    6. F1.7 is not the same as F1.7 from ISOCELL
    7. Limited dynamic range in sunny weather conditions
    8. Awful HDR photos - HDR mode adds a lot of noise and smears a lot of fine details too.
    9. Really bad white balance... Even my old S4 had better Auto WB than IMX260...
    10. Good for social media (Facebook, Instagram) because of "processed" look of original photos

    ISOCELL
    1. Post processing that looks like it was taken from Galaxy S6 IMX240. That's good to be honest.
    2. Excellent color reproduction - color in the photos are very similar to the real ones.
    3. A tad slower than IMX260 AF but more precise
    4. Isn't as sharp as IMX260 but I don't think it's an issue because sensor gets the same amount of details
    5. The real F1.7 lens - means that you can really get beautyful bokeh in macro photography. I don't know why but bokeh from IMX260 isn't that nice...
    6. Lower noise than IMX260 in all lighting conditions
    7. Very good HDR implemantation... HDR photos are less noisy than photos taken by IMX260 in HDR. It's to be honest really huge difference regardless of the situation
    8. Better low light noise control and colors. Seriously IMX260 sucks badly at night photos.
    9. OIS dosn't work that good like it does on IMX240... That's really strange.
    10. Better for videos because of less amount of noise and superior dynamic range

    Because I bought 2 different Galaxy S7 phones just to perform tests I need to sell one of them. And I decided to keep ISOCELL version of Galaxy S7. Photos taken by ISOCELL sensor looks much better than from IMX260. They look like they were taken by Galaxy S6 IMX240 sensor. I think that's the best recomendation. :)

    Performers:
    - Black Onyx - ISOCELL
    - Platinum Gold - IMX260

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    5
    I am pretty certain "Sony's" IMX 260 sensor is just a custom order placed by Samsung for the S7 line (according to Samsung's design and spec-sheet), therefore I would actually consider it a Samsung sensor fabricated in Sony's fabs just as Apple's A9 is fabed both in TSMC's and Samsung's fabs. The Samsung S5K2L1 part is just the same sensor fabed in Samsung's own fabs. It's NOT by chance that both sensors are labeled with the same "signature ending" IS->Isocell (SONY_IMX260_FIMC_IS and SLSI_S5K2L1_FIMC_IS). Any (IF any AT ALL) differences that presumably are "observed" are as minute and inconsistent as it would be expected and considered 100% NORMAL even between two same sensors coming off out of the same fab (Sony's or Samsung's).
    A possible confirmation of the hypothesis above can/will be made once we see IF "Sony's" IMX 260 sensor pops up inside any other OEM's flagship phone. Since it's such a GOOD sensor it would only make sense for other OEMs to employ it in their products too. If "Sony's" IMX 260 sensor HOWEVER does NOT pop up anywhere else (besides Samsung's products), it basically means it's NOT available to anyone else BESIDES Samsung, therefore it's Samsung's "child".
    Besides, I am willing to bet that if someone cared to make an A-B photo test using TWO S7 units BOTH employing the SAME sensor (Sony's or Samsung's), he/she would realize that the "results" wouldn't be "identical" in that case either.
    One last thought, Samsung announced two days ago their new S5K2L1 sensor disclosing it's already in mass production, Sony on the other hand never announced an IMX260 sensor ;) and YET it's out there ...

    Welcome to the forum!
    You speak more sense in your 1st post than many people who would have posted 1000 times. Yes, what you say is absolutely correct. Both sensors use ISOCELL technology. Both are are CMOS. ISOCELL is just some additional tech embedded into them, Apple also uses this - deep trench isolation.

    ISOCELL is actually the commercial name of what Samsung calls 3D-Backside Illuminated Pixel with Front-Side Deep-Trench Isolation (F-DTI) and Vertical Transfer Gate (VTG).

    Both sensors have exact same spec, just manufactured by different vendors - SLSI and Sony. You won't find IMX260 on Sony site, because they can't sell it to other customers like they sell IMX298/IMX377 etc.,