The OnePlus 9 series gets a $150M camera upgrade with Hasselblad on board

OnePlus 9 Launch Banner
OnePlus 9 Launch Banner (Image credit: OnePlus)

What you need to know

  • OnePlus and Hasselblad announce their partnership to co-develop better cameras.
  • The OnePlus 9 series will be the first smartphones to feature cameras from the collaboration result.
  • The launch date for the OnePlus 9 series is set for March 23rd at 10 AM EDT.

After a month of speculation, OnePlus has officially announced its partnership with leading camera manufacturer, Hasselblad. The two companies working to improve the camera performance of OnePlus smartphones, starting with the upcoming OnePlus 9 series, which launches later this month. As part of its investment towards better imaging, OnePlus is putting more than $150 million towards improving its devices' camera experience.

CEO Pete Lau believes that this partnership will be a huge leap for OnePlus smartphone cameras in the future:

OnePlus has always prioritized a premium user experience over everything else. 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.

This three-year partnership will see OnePlus smartphones adopting Hasselblad's imaging processing software, such as Hasselblad Pro Mode, which will give mobile photographers more control over their photos, particularly when shooting in 12-bit RAW format. OnePlus phones will also take advantage of Natural Color Calibration with Hasselblad, which should give images a more natural tone.

Source: OnePlus (Image credit: Source: OnePlus)

OnePlus shows its commitment to improving its cameras by launching four imaging R&D centers worldwide, including in the U.S. and Japan. The company hopes to develop its imaging technologies further and mentions its working on a 140° panoramic sensor and a selfie camera with T-lens coating for improved focus. The company also announced a freeform lens that will debut on the OnePlus 9 ultrawide sensor to eliminate edge distortion.

More tidbits about the OnePlus 9 series include a custom Sony IMX789 image sensor, which it claims will be the "largest and most advanced main camera sensor ever on a OnePlus device." There's also mention of support for 4K 120FPS and 8K 30FPS video capture.

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

The last time Hasselblad was widely mentioned in the mobile space was with the Moto Mod Hasselblad True Zoom accessory for the Moto Z. The company is now making its mobile comeback with a bang. It's a partnership that's somewhat reminiscent of the partnership between Nokia and Zeiss, which began in 2004 and was responsible for impressive shooters like the 808 Pureview and Nokia Lumia 1020.

Those were phones that arguably ushered in a new era of mobile photography. While it's unclear how this partnership with Hasselblad will pay off for OnePlus, it's undoubtedly a huge win for a company that already makes some of the best Android phones on the market. Last year's OnePlus 8 Pro already had a set of great cameras, so things can only go up from here, especially with the improvements that Hasselblad is promising on dynamic range.

Unfortunately, OnePlus was mum on any other details about the OnePlus 9 series, but we should know more when the phones launch later this month. We expect the series to launch with three phones, the OnePlus 9, OnePlus 9R, and OnePlus 9 Pro, each with a different set of specs and likely different camera setups as well. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 is expected to power at least one or two models.

The OnePlus 9 series will be officially launched on March 23rd at 10 am ET. You can catch the launch on the OnePlus website.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.