OnePlus 9 series will be launched globally—including in India—on March 23 with a ‘revamped’ camera system that OnePlus is making in cooperation with Hasselblad.
OnePlus is making two big announcements today. OnePlus 9 series will be launched globally—including in India—on March 23 with a ‘revamped’ camera system that OnePlus is making in cooperation with Hasselblad. We don’t know the extent of this cooperation just yet; all we know is that the OnePlus 9 series phones—presumably the OnePlus 9 Pro—will come with a ‘Hasselblad Camera for Mobile’ as part of the brand’s newly announced three-year partnership with the iconic Swedish camera maker.
The idea is to “co-develop the next generation of smartphone camera systems for future OnePlus flagship devices.” Again, what that entails as far as visible improvements go, we can’t say for sure yet. What we do know—and this is something that OnePlus co-founder and CEO Pete Lau is making immensely clear—is that starting this year, OnePlus is “making a concerted effort to significantly improve the smartphone camera experience for our users.”
OnePlus says it is kicking off the proceedings with software improvements by way of new colour tuning—Natural Colour Calibration with Hasselblad—for more accurate and natural-looking photos and a new pro mode with “an authentic Hasselblad look and feel and an unprecedented amount of control for professional photographers to fine-tune their photos.” The partnership will eventually extend to more dimensions over the next three years. OnePlus also makes a mention of close R&D. The $150 million investment will see OnePlus setup four major research and development labs around the world, including two imaging labs based in the United States and Japan.
OnePlus wants to pioneer new areas of smartphone imaging technology such as a panoramic camera with a 140-degree field-of-view, T-lens technology for fast focus in the front camera, and a freeform lens which is said to help take distortion-free ultra-wide photos—this will feature on the OnePlus 9 series confirming that at least one of its phones will have an ultra-wide-angle camera.
Speaking of which, OnePlus is also dropping some extra camera specifics of its upcoming flagship. The phone(s) will come with a custom Sony IMX789 sensor with 12-bit RAW capture.
As for the Hasselblad tuning—or whatever it is the two brands have been doing together—it would be interesting to see how that pans out in the near future. It is something to be excited about surely, but it is not something that really means anything at this point of time unless the OnePlus 9 series cameras ‘actually deliver.’ Hasselblad has previously partnered with Motorola on a 10x optical zoom MotoMod for the Moto Z. While it was innovative, it didn’t exactly set the stage on fire. One can argue that this is the first time Hasselblad is associating with a phone—not some accessory—so things could be different. Hopefully they are because if there’s one thing that OnePlus phones need to get right now more than ever, it is the camera output. With phones like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and iPhone 12 Pro/Pro Max raising the bar so high, let’s just say, it won’t be easy.