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Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra could skip this new camera

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra rear and cameras
(Image credit: Future)

A reliable tech tipster has claimed the Samsung Galaxy S23 may not get the latest camera sensor from the South Korean electronics giant, but if older rumors hold up, then we could still see a big upgrade when the phone arrives.

Samsung has just announced a new ISOCELL HP3 camera sensor (opens in new tab), a 200MP sensor that has previously been tipped for use in the Galaxy S23 Ultra's main camera. It's slated to start mass production later this year, but according to leaker Ice Universe (opens in new tab), the Galaxy S23 Ultra won't be using this sensor.

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After missing out on 200MP with the Galaxy S22 Ultra (it stuck with Samsung's existing 108MP main camera), that may be disappointing to hear. But the fact is we may still get a 200MP sensor on the Galaxy S23 Ultra, just not this model.

Samsung has already produced one 200MP sensor before, the ISOCELL HP1 in late 2021, which it recently showed off with an impressive video demonstrating the detail of an image blown up to billboard size. This has the same resolution as the HP3, but it uses larger 0.64μm (micrometre) pixels, instead of 0.56μm ones, allowing it to capture more light and therefore better color and detail.

As the more mature and larger sensor, it would make more sense for Samsung to use the HP1 instead of the newly released HP3 in the Galaxy S23 Ultra. A refined sensor often takes better photos than a brand-new one with superior specs, as we see in our best camera phones guide, where the iPhone 13 Pro Max remains our top performer despite using 12MP sensors like several previous iPhones. 

Even if the Galaxy S23 Ultra sticks with a 108MP main camera, there's still room for improvement on the software side, with better image processing able to build upon the success of the Galaxy S22 Ultra's impressive main lens. The latest Samsung flagship phone often delivers some stunning shots, but there's space for some tweaks when it comes to colors and handling challenging photography scenarios, say brightly lit outdoor areas with a lot of shadows as sunlight is broken up by trees or buildings. 

We also heard recently that the standard Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus would get their own camera upgrade in the form of 12MP selfie cameras. That's good news for anyone who won't be able to afford the likely very expensive Galaxy S23 Ultra, and prefers great selfies to super-detailed main camera shots.

We're probably not going to see the Galaxy S23 series until next year, possibly around February, the month the Galaxy S22 series launched. For now, you can keep up to date with the latest Galaxy S23 rumors on our hub page. And check out the Google Pixel 7, another upcoming Android flagship that set the phone photography standard for the Galaxy S23 to beat.

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, gaming, audio and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.