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OnePlus 9 update brings the Hasselblad XPan camera aesthetics to mobile

OnePlus is finally putting its camera partnership with Hasselblad to good use — by bringing the look and feel of Hasselblad’s cinematic XPan camera to the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro, via a software update.

This is a happy surprise because the 9 Series’ cameras did not initially live up to the hype surrounding OnePlus’ multiyear collaboration with the historic camera brand. Although Hasselblad’s contribution to these phones was limited to helping OnePlus tune its camera colors and providing input on its interface earlier this year, as Allison Johnson noted in her OnePlus 9 review, “the Hasselblad color tuning is fine but nothing remarkable.”

This update adds an XPan Mode for the OnePlus 9 Series camera, alongside some much needed practical patches. The XPan Mode replicates the focal lengths, colors, and processing of the original XPan camera for the phone, allowing you to capture wide aspect ratio images from your phone.

OnePlus 9 Pro and OnePlus 9 work with Hasselblad to fine-tune their cameras.
Photo by Becca Farsace / The Verge

The Hasselblad XPan was the first dual-frame 35mm camera on the market that lets photographers capture wide, panoramic shots at the time of capture. It has a physical switch that helped photographers switch seamlessly between shooting single frames and (wide) photos across two frames, so they don’t have to risk losing all their photos by changing film between different sizes.

Just like the camera, the XPan Mode will capture photos with a 65:24 (8:3) aspect ratio. “The images taken on XPan Mode are cropped from the [OnePlus 9 Series] 48MP main camera and 50MP ultra-wide camera instead of the default 12MP mode,” according to the press release. That should result in 20-megapixel-plus files, once the crop is applied.

There’s also the option to shoot panoramic photos at either 30mm or 45mm focal lengths, mimicking the Hasselblad camera’s classic lenses. You can, of course, compose and preview their shots by toggling between the two views within the OnePlus camera app. These images will be high resolution as well — 7552 × 2798 resolution on 30mm and 7872 × 2916 resolution on 45mm.

Taking advantage of the OnePlus 9 Series’ 2-megapixel monochrome camera, the XPan Mode will take black and white photos by default, but you will be able to switch to full color to capture images. Hasselblad has also created custom black-and-white and color profiles for the XPan Mode. These sample XPan images from OnePlus certainly look promising: cinematic black-and-white with plenty of drama, and expansive panoramas with a more natural color palette for which OnePlus is known.

In case these film camera touches aren’t enough for you photo aficionados, OnePlus even added in animation to mimic the negative film being developed into an image, when you press the shutter button.

If this is just the first glimpse of OnePlus’ partnership with Hasselblad, then I’m excited to see what else these companies can come up with in the future.

Other fixes that are included in this OTA:

  • Optimize the wireless charging experience
  • Update Android security patch to September 2021
  • Fix known issues and improved stability
  • Optimize HDR frame retrieving algorithms and reduced noise in multiple scenes
  • Fix the over-sharpening issues in auto mode scenarios
  • Improve stability of auto white balance in auto mode
  • Optimize auto white balance when shifting between the main and ultrawide camera
  • Reduce over-brightening of images on Nightscape Mode
  • Improve the dynamic range in low-light conditions
  • Improve success rate when shooting moving objects
  • Update the memory optimization solution and reduced the launch time of the native camera app by up to 50 percent
  • Reduce lag in camera preview and optimized the shutter lag in some scenarios

This update will be rolling out to OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro starting today, September 17th, 2021.

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