OnePlus launched its OnePlus 9 in March with a focus on its Hasselblad partnership. As described in our reviews and by OnePlus, these first phones will be equipped with software tuning from Hasselblad, with future OnePlus phones also containing some hardware improvements. We have just received a rather extensive software update on our test devices with further Hasselblad goodies in the form of the XPan mode.
Hasselblad XPan was introduced in 1998 and offered a dual format function that enabled photographers to switch between standard format and full panorama without having to switch films. The new XPan mode on these two OnePlus 9 phones takes photos with an aspect ratio of 65:24, which are cropped by the 48 MP main camera and the 50 MP ultra-wide camera. You can tap to also shoot at 30mm or 45mm focal length with color and monochrome options. Monochrome is the standard setting and after a few initial tests we are very happy with the results.
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After updating the phones, I took photos with XPan mode enabled and standard photo mode to see if cropping to the same aspect ratio resulted in the same shot. It is clear that there are some software improvements and special color and black and white modes when using XPan mode as these images are better than simply cropping photos taken in automatic mode. I applaud the smartphone manufacturers who offer you opportunities to get creative with your photos and videos as they help us open new perspectives on the world around us and also educate us on how to improve our camera skills.
Another aspect that OnePlus offers with the XPan mode is an animation of a few seconds while the software “develops” your film into an image. This is not a necessary feature and maybe it would be nice to have an option to toggle it on and off, but it’s fun to take photos and watch the “processing” for a few seconds.
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After updating your phone, swipe to photo mode. Then swipe up from the bottom of the display to reveal the new XPan mode button. The switches are in the middle of the viewfinder for 30/45 mm with standard mono setting. The toggle switch for color is on the far right of the viewfinder. There is a scroll meter for exposure on the left side of the viewfinder.
In addition to the XPan mode now provided on both the OnePlus 9 Pro and OnePlus 9, we see the following included in this update and if you visit the OnePlus update site you can see a collection of before and after footage Show:
- Optimize algorithms for retrieving HDR images and reduce noise in multiple scenes
- Fix the over-sharpening issues in scenarios in automatic mode
- Improve the stability of the auto white balance in auto mode
- Optimize the automatic white balance when switching between the main and ultra-wide angle cameras
- Reduce over-brightening of images in night landscape mode
- Improve the dynamic range in poor lighting conditions
- Improve camera inspection fluency and optimize shutter release delay in some scenarios
- Improve the success rate when shooting moving objects
- Update the storage optimization solution and reduce the startup time of the native camera app by up to 50%
- Optimize the wireless charging experience
- Update the Android security patch to September 2021
- Fixed known issues and improved stability
Even if you’re not interested in the new XPan mode, the update is clearly designed to improve your overall camera and smartphone experience. When you install the update, we’d like to know if you’re into XPan mode too, so leave a comment below.