Everything we know about the OnePlus 9’s Hasselblad cameras so far

OnePlus is stepping up its smartphone camera game in big ways on the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro. Here’s how the Hasselblad cameras will improve photos and videos.

OnePlus 9 Hasselblad camera system: Everything we know

The OnePlus 9 series (presumably the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro) is launching on March 23. But we don’t need to wait until then to unpack the cameras on the cameras — easily the most anticipated feature we’re all waiting for.

To nobody’s surprise, OnePlus and CEO Pete Lau have been drip-feeding details about the cameras on the OnePlus 9 series on Twitter. Here’s everything we know about the cameras so far.

Co-developed by Hasselblad — We know that the OnePlus 9 phones will come with cameras co-developed by Swedish photography company Hasselblad. OnePlus announced earlier this week that it’s signed a three-year long-term partnership with Hasselblad to develop new camera technologies for its phones.

OnePlus says the OnePlus 9 series will have a “Hasselblad Pro Mode” with a "revamped user interface based on Hasselblad's image processing software." Confirmed settings in this Hasselblad Pro Mode include controls for ISO, focus, exposure times, white balance, 12-bit RAW format, and more.

What image sensor does the OnePlus 9 camera use?

Sony’s IMX789 — Camera specs haven’t mattered much in the last few years, but the spec sheet is starting to get noteworthy again. The OnePlus 9 series will use a custom Sony IMX789 image sensor — the largest sensor OnePlus has ever put in a phone. The larger sensor not only means better photos at higher resolution, but also improved photos in low-light thanks to more light being absorbed.

The 48-megapixel sensor will be cable of shooting 4K video at 120 fps and OnePlus has confirmed 8K resolution video recording at 30 fps as well, though that may be exclusive to the OnePlus 9 Pro camera.

How will image quality on the OnePlus 9 camera get better?

More realistic colors — Android phones are not known for their color accuracy. While OnePlus has toned down the saturation on its phones compared to the more vibrant colors you get on Samsung’s Galaxy phones, they’re still not as natural or lifelike as colors coming from an iPhone camera.

The Hasselblad teamup will fix things according to Lau. “A camera should always let you see the world in its natural colors,” Lau tweeted. “And that’s one of the first things we worked on by developing a new Natural Color Calibration with @Hasselblad.”

Included with the tweet is a photo he alludes was taken with the OnePlus 9 cameras. The photo is colorful and vibrant, but it’s hard to tell how much editing was done and how much of the environment’s lighting was controlled to produce this photo. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to testing out the OnePlus 9 series cameras for myself to see how natural the colors really are in a non-professional shooting scenario.

A sample photo taken with a OnePlus 9 series camera.Pete Lau

How much resolution will the ultra-wide camera on the OnePlus 9 have?

50-megapixel ultra-wide camera — It was only a few years ago that ultra-wide cameras became a staple on smartphones. Since then, it’s been a slow march towards image quality improvements with phone cameras improving the processing for sharper pics (especially at the corners and edges); increasing the aperture to allow for better ultra-wide shots in low-light; and some ultra-wide cameras even have autofocus.

The official OnePlus Twitter account confirmed the ultra-wide camera on the OnePlus 9 series will have 50 megapixels of resolution. Lau followed up with a tweet and sample image taken with said high-res ultra-wide. Lau said the OnePlus 9 ultra-wide is “clearer and truer to the world around you.”

A 50-megapixel ultra-wide photo sample taken with the OnePlus 9 series ultra-wide camera.Pete Lau

Fifty megapixels is an insane jump in detail. Compare that to the 12-megapixels on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, 12-megapixels on the Galaxy S21 Ultra, and 48-megapixel sensor with 12-megapixel image out by default on the OnePlus 8 Pro.

How will the ultra-wide camera be improved on the OnePlus 9?

The ultra-wide is a “freeform lens” that reduces distortion significantly from 10-20 percent to about 1 percent, according to GSMArena. Below you can find a video showing the distortion reduction in the Sony IMX789 image sensor.

Lau also confirmed the OnePlus 9 series ultra-wide camera will have the Sony IMX766 sensor but it will still have IMX789’s reduced distortion. Check out these two photos he shared on Twitter:

On the left is a typical ultra-wide photo with distorted lines (the building looks like it’s bulging) and on the right is a photo of the same building taken with the OnePlus 9 Series’ ultra-wide lens with far less distortion.

Will the OnePlus 9 camera take better photos at night and in low-light conditions?

We sure hope so. OnePlus’ Nightscape mode has been steadily getting better with each new flagship phone and with the new Sony IMX789 sensor and Hasselblad image processing we’re expecting night photography to get even better. It’ll be a big step backward if it gets worse.

What are the OnePlus 9 camera specs?

The full specs for the cameras on the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro haven’t been confirmed yet. Rumors suggest the OnePlus 9 will have a triple-lens rear camera and the OnePlus 9 Pro will have a quad-lens rear camera.

The OnePlus 8 Pro has a triple-lens camera with a main wide lens, ultra-wide lens, 3x telephoto lens. It also came with a “color filter” sensor. The OnePlus 8, on the other hand, has a camera system with a main wide lens, ultra-wide lens, and 3x telephoto lens.

OnePlus might include an updated color filter sensor or a macro lens for the OnePlus 9 Pro’s camera.

How many megapixels will the OnePlus 9 selfie cameras have?

There’s even less info on the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro’s selfie cameras. From what we’ve seen floating around, OnePlus will stick with a 16-megapixel selfie camera on the front via a hole-punch cutout just like on the OnePlus 8 series.

When will we know everything about the OnePlus 9 camera?

OnePlus will officially unveil the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro on March 23 at 10 a.m. E.T. We’ll have all of the Hasselblad camera specs and features then.

Where can I find a camera review for the OnePlus 9 cameras?

As always, Input will have a review with in-depth comparisons as soon as we get our hands on the phones for testing. We’ll be sure to compare the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro cameras iPhone 12 Pro Max, Galaxy S21 Ultra, and OnePlus 8 Pro. Stay tuned.