Along with the reveal that the OnePlus 9 Series launch is happening on March 23 at 10 AM Eastern (7 AM Pacific), OnePlus has also announced a multi-year partnership with renowned camera brand Hasselblad.
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If you've been keeping up with our coverage you'll know that the OnePlus 9 Pro has been spotted with Hasselblad branding on its rear camera, so the existence of a partnership between the companies isn't a surprise, but the exact nature of the partnership was unknown.
This isn't simply a one-off deal, OnePlus is committed to investing $150 million into its camera development over the next three years with Hasselblad as its key partner. OnePlus flagships will now feature the Hasselblad Camera for Mobile, which will seek to bring Hasselblad's vast knowledge of image processing to bear on the OnePlus hardware and computational image processing.
In the short term this means that Hasselblad has had a hand in working with OnePlus on the color and sensor calibration for the OnePlus 9, but going forward the two companies will be working closely on R&D including the camera hardware itself. That should maybe make users temper expectations a bit for the OnePlus 9 camera performance, although it's worth saying that hardware has rarely been the problem for OnePlus cameras, so software intervention could go a long way.
One feature that is touted as coming with the OnePlus 9 Series is a freeform lens that the company claims "practically eliminates edge distortion in ultra-wide photos." The announcement also confirms the use of the Sony IMX789 sensor as the primary sensor for the phone, although the precise specifications for that sensor have not been revealed yet, it would certainly be the highest-end sensor ever used by OnePlus.
The camera will be able to capture 12-bit RAW images for those that like to do their own image editing and video will reportedly be getting a boost as well with improved HDR video, 4K 120fps and 8K 30fps video capture.
OnePlus has definitely succeeded in getting me more excited for the OnePlus 9, the camera has been the biggest sticking point for OnePlus phones for some time now, including last year's OnePlus 8T, so if it can address that with this partnership it will be a much more formidable foe for Samsung and Apple in 2021 and beyond.