OnePlus launched its OnePlus 9 in March with a focus on its Hasselblad partnership. As detailed in our reviews and by OnePlus, these first phones are provided with software tuning from Hasselblad with future OnePlus phones incorporating some hardware improvements too. We just received a fairly significant software update on our review devices with more Hasselblad goodies in the form of the XPan mode.
Hasselblad XPan was introduced in 1998 and provided dual-format capability that enabled photographers to switch between standard format to full panorama without having to change out the film. The new XPan mode on these two OnePlus 9 phones captures photos with a 65:24 aspect ratio that are cropped from the 48MP main camera and 50MP ultra-wide camera. You can tap to shoot in 30mm or 45mm focal length too with color and monochrome options. Monochrome is the default and after some initial testing we are very pleased with the results.
After updating the phones I took photos with the XPan mode enabled and with standard photo mode to see if cropping to the same aspect ratio produced the same shot. It's clear there is some software enhancements and special color and B&W modes when using the XPan mode as these images turn out better than simply cropping photos taken in auto mode. I applaud smartphone makers who provide ways to help you get creative with your photos and videos as it helps us provide new perspectives on the world around us while also educating us on ways to further our camera skills.
One other aspect that OnePlus provides with the XPan mode experience is a few second animation as the software "develops" your film into an image. This isn't a necessary function and maybe it would be nice to have an option to toggle it on and off, but it's fun to capture photos and watch the "processing" for a couple of seconds.
After updating your phone swipe over to Photo mode. Then swipe up from the bottom of the display to reveal the new XPan mode button. Toggles are found on the middle of the viewfinder for 30/45mm with mono set by default. The toggle for color is over on the far right side of the viewfinder. A scroll meter for exposure is positioned on the left side of the viewfinder.
In addition to the XPan mode that is now provided on both the OnePlus 9 Pro and OnePlus 9, we see the following included with this update and if you visit the OnePlus update site you can view a collection of before and after shots:
Optimize HDR frame retrieving algorithms and reduced noise in multiple scenes
Fix the over-sharpening issues in auto mode scenarios
Improve stability of auto white balance in auto mode
Optimize auto white balance when shifting between the main and ultrawide camera
Reduce over-brightening of images on Nightscape Mode
Improve the dynamic range in low-light conditions
Improve the fluency of the camera provewi and optimized the shutter lag in some scenarios
Improve success rate when shooting moving objects
Update the memory optimization solution and reduced the launch time of the native camera app by up to 50%
Optimize the wireless charging experience
Update Android security patch to September 2021
Fix known issues and improved stability
Even if you have no interest in the new XPan mode, the update is clearly designed to improve your overall camera and smartphone experience. If you install the update, we would like to know if you are enjoying shooting with the XPan mode too so leave a comment below.