OnePlus announced today that it has entered into a long-term partnership with Hasselblad to significantly improve its smartphone camera experience. We’ll see the first results from this partnership in the upcoming OnePlus 9 series of handsets.
“OnePlus has always prioritized a premium user experience over everything else,” OnePlus founder and CEO Peter Lau says. “Beginning in 2021, we are making a concerted effort to significantly improve the smartphone camera experience for our users, with the expertise of a truly legendary partner in Hasselblad. With OnePlus’ top-of-the-line hardware and computational photography and Hasselblad’s rich aesthetic knowledge in traditional photography, I am confident that the OnePlus 9 Series will be a major leap forward in our ability to deliver a premium, flagship camera.”
We don’t know a lot about the OnePlus 9 series yet, but the firm says it’s set to launch globally on March 23 and that it will feature a revamped camera system that OnePlus calls the Hasselblad Camera for Mobile. That camera system will feature a custom Sony IMX789 sensor for the main camera sensor that is up to 64-times more colorful than before. It will also offer improved HDR video recording, as well as support for capturing 4K video at 120 FPS and 8K video at 30 FPS.
OnePlus appears to be serious about improving the quality of its smartphone camera systems. The company is investing $150 million over the next three years to “further build out its mobile imaging capabilities in its ongoing pursuit of delivering the best smartphone camera experience for its users.” And OnePlus and Hasselblad will work together to deliver “vastly improved camera systems” on future OnePlus smartphones, starting with the OnePlus 9.
The first step, it says, is to improve color tuning and sensor calibration. The Hasselblad Camera for Mobile will feature Natural Color Calibration with Hasselblad, with the goal of bringing more perceptually accurate and natural-looking colors to photos taken with OnePlus flagship cameras. It will also include a new Hasselblad Pro Mode, with a new user interface that’s based on Hasselblad’s image processing software, that will help the cameras deliver an authentic Hasselblad look and feel. Professional photographers will be able to fine-tune their photos, with the ability to adjust ISO, focus, exposure times, white balance, and more, and access a 12-bit RAW format for even richer color and higher dynamic range.
Beyond that, OnePlus plans to deliver premium, cutting-edge camera technology over the next three years, including a panoramic camera with a 140-degree field of view, T-lens technology for faster focus with the front-facing camera, and a freeform lens, which arrives first in the OnePlus 9 series, for eliminating edge distortion in ultra-wide photos.
I am delighted by this news. Based on years of experience, OnePlus builds the very best smartphones in the world, but their Achilles Heel has long been their unreliable camera performance. If OnePlus can get this right, I would switch to OnePlus immediately and never look back.