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OnePlus is going big on its future smartphone cameras, starting with the OnePlus 9. After consumer feedback and criticisms from some media on the camera performance of some of its previous devices, the company wants to show it’s taking photography seriously.

The OnePlus 9 series will be unveiled on March 23, but that hasn’t stopped the smartphone company teasing out information on its next smartphone, specifically around its next-gen camera. We know the sensor in the OnePlus 9 Pro (Sony’s IMX789), we know there’s a new partnership with Hasselblad and we know a variety of smaller features around the OnePlus 9 camera.

TechRadar spoke to Pete Lau, CEO of OnePlus, on how the company is focusing its efforts on improving the camera, what challenges appeared in this process and how it plans to continue to innovate in the camera space beyond the OnePlus 9 series.

“When we asked our community last year where they would like to see product improvements, they told us they wanted to see upgrades to our camera system” Lau told TechRadar.

“So, at the end of last year, I told the team and the OnePlus community that 2021 is our year of the camera. We’re continuously making great strides in terms of computational software with features like our ever-improving Nightscape, and now we’re also investing much more in top-of-the-line hardware like the custom IMX789 sensor.” 

What improvements are coming? 

Lau spoke to TechRadar about the camera you can expect to see on the new OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro. Those smartphones are rumored to be paired with a OnePlus 9 Lite, but the company has yet to confirm the exact makeup of the OnePlus 9 series. 

The company confirmed earlier in March that it would use a custom Sony IMX789 sensor on the OnePlus 9 Pro, marking the first time it’s collaborated directly with Sony on a sensor.

Lau said, “Working directly with Sony meant we were able to collaborate on a number of custom features for the IMX789. 

“We were also able to significantly improve video performance and possibilities, resulting in the ability to shoot in 4K at a very high 120fps, which is something very few smartphones today offer, and DOL-HDR, which ensures subjects are always clear in backlit environments.”

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