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Teasers reveal impressive OnePlus 9 Pro camera upgrades

OnePlus 9 Pro
(Image credit: OnePlus)

OnePlus is making big claims about the cameras on the OnePlus 9 series. In a follow-up development, it detailed what other features will feature on the new flagship, beyond the partnership with Hasselblad.

The OnePlus 9 series will launch on March 23 across the world, including India. The big talking point this time will be the cameras, which has historically been the company’s Achilles heel. While Hasselblad has been onboarded to take care of the processing and tuning, the phones will also bring significant innovations on the hardware front — at least on the OnePlus 9 Pro. The company has not mentioned if these upgrades will make it to all the phones, but we expect them to be present on the top model of the family.

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OnePlus 9 Pro camera

Ultra-wide shot without distortion (Image credit: OnePlus)
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OnePlus 9 Pro camera

Panorama (Image credit: OnePlus)
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OnePlus 9 Pro camera

Editing possibilities with 12-bit RAW (Image credit: OnePlus)

The OnePlus 8 Pro also had a custom image sensor – the Sony IMX689

In a post on Weibo, OnePlus said that custom Sony IMX789 image sensor development cost amounted to CNY 100 million (~Rs 112 crores), making it the highest investment in the company’s history. While the sensor’s size and resolution have not been mentioned, it did reveal that it will be a large one with a 16:11 aspect ratio, allowing for higher sensor coverage for photos (4:3) and videos (16:9) both. 12-bit RAW image capture will enable the sensor to identify 6.87 billion individual colours, which is 64 times the standard on most smartphones.

Borrowing a feature from its high-end cameras, Sony’s new DOL-HDR (Digital Overlap-High Dynamic Range) will also make the cut. Unlike conventional HDR shooting where multiple frames are shot one after another, it will capture the frames simultaneously and then stack them, reducing the artefacts that may be caused due to movement in the scene. The sensor will also be capable of 4K recording at a whopping 120fps along with 8K videos. Other features include dual native ISO and full-pixel omnidirectional focusing technology.

It’s not just the primary camera that got upgraded, as the OnePlus 9 Pro will also bring an innovative free-form lens that allows for wider shots with the ultra-wide lens sans the distortion. The approach involves placing two prisms side by side to bend the light by 90-degrees before hitting the image sensors. The two images are then stitched together to create a panorama-like shot with a 140-degree field-of-view (most ultra-wide lenses are in the whereabouts of 120-degrees) with only about 1% distortion as opposed to the usual 20%.

The selfie camera learns new features too, with a new lens stack allowing for faster autofocus that is claimed to need only 1 ms. The minimum focus distance is also much lower at 6-inches.

There’s no mention of what the fourth lens’ function will be, but we expect it to be a short telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom. OnePlus has already confirmed that Hasselblad’s iconic colour science will be present on all the phones, creating a more natural and consistent look.

Building up to the OnePlus 9 India launch, we expect to hear a lot more about the phones in the coming days via official channels. It will be one of the many upcoming smartphones in India launching in March, taking on other flagships.

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