Before the product manager, Jimmy Z, gets into the specs, he explains several of the hurdles the company had to overcome to use such a large sensor in the smartphone. He says that while a larger sensor is needed to capture high-quality images, the company also needs to design the lens and other optics components around the larger sensor to fight against distortion, chromatic aberrations and soft edges.
The OnePlus 9 Pro uses Sony’s IMX789 sensor, which has a size of 1-inch by 1.35-inch and can capture 52-megapixels images. It’s quad Bayer design, which means it features a very high density of microscopic colour squares placed in front of the sensor. This is pretty much the industry standard for high-end smartphone cameras since the launch of the Huawei P20 Pro.
Another interesting thing about the design OnePlus went with is that parts of the sensor are blocked off to create a 4:3 aspect ratio when taking pictures. This knocks the sensor down to only being able to snap 48-megapixel photos. When you want to take a video, the full sensor is used to snap cinematic 16:9 aspect ratio files. Jimmy Z says that large camera companies like Panasonic also use this sensor shifting tech to balance aspect ratios.
After touching on the camera’s 12-bit RAW mode and ultra-fast focus, the blog post breaks down the video components.
Video performance is a feature that impressed me a lot when I reviewed the phone, but I didn’t place that much emphasis on it since I didn’t think it was that important to consumers — the performance was more than good enough for me, and that was that. OnePlus says that it’s starting to see sharp uptake in its customers shooting video over the last few years.
The company notes that the OnePlus 9 Pro’s camera can shoot at 4K 120fps, allowing users to snap really high-quality slow-motion shots. It also features support for DOL-HDR. While the ‘DOL’ part of this name might make you think it’s Dolby related, it’s not. It stands for Digital Overlap Range, which is tech that allows the camera to shoot in HDR with minimal artifacts.
The blog post doesn’t mention anything about the smartphone’s mic, but I found it really great in my testing. It’s not going to replace an actual external microphone, but it’s above average in the smartphone space.