Hasselblad Xpan Mode Review: This Classic Is Great News For OnePlus 9 Series Users

·5-min read

The OnePlus 9 and the OnePlus 9 Pro phones are now getting the latest OxygenOS update which brings a bunch of tweaks and improvements, as well as the cool Hasselblad Xpan Mode to your phones. The camera focused update also brings improvements with improved white balance accuracy, tweaks to how photos are sharpened in auto mode and high-res modes, reduction in noise in low-light photos as well as improved clarity and dynamic range for Nightspace Mode and Portrait Mode photos. Do not forget to check out the Hasselblad Xpan Mode, which will now show up as one of the photography modes in the camera app on your OnePlus 9 Pro and OnePlus 9 phones. Spoiler alert: OnePlus has a trump card on their hands.

The idea behind the Hasselblad Xpan Mode is to recreate the classic experience that was first introduced back in 1998 when Hasselblad introduced the then revolutionary Xpan camera in partnership with Fuji. I’ll allow Hasselblad to describe what the Xpan camera over the years and dual-format is all about—” The XPan was an extremely unique camera, providing the advantages of the 35mm format but also the ability to swiftly change to full panorama format without having to change the film. The XPan utilized a dual-format, producing both full panorama 24x65mm format in addition to conventional 24x36mm format on the exact same film.” Eliminate the film from the mix, and you get the same dual-format photography options now on your OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro phones.

OnePlus 9 Hasselblad Xpan Mode
OnePlus 9 Hasselblad Xpan Mode

You’ll get access to two focal lengths—30mm and 45mm, much like the classic camera. The way this works on your OnePlus 9 series phone is that for the Hasselblad Xpan Mode, the aspect ratio remains the same 65:24 as before. Instead of the default 12-megapixel photo mode on the OnePlus 9 and the OnePlus 9 Pro phones, this mode uses the 48-megapixel main camera and 50-megapixel ultra-wide camera for the crops, which means you’ll get to see the world in a much wider view with a 20-megapixel image. The resolution, OnePlus confirms, is 7552 x 2798 for the 30mm mode and 7872 x 2916 for the 45mm mode. Basically, you get the option for a variety of shots and take a call on which framing looks better for a landscape shot, for example.

That’s not all. You can choose the effects of a colour film or a black and white film. It really doesn’t get much more realistic than this modern take on the classic cameras from a different era. A really nice touch, when you tap the shutter button in the camera app, you’ll see what looks like a negative film that’s being developed. This is momentary, and in a way completes the walk down the memory lane. You can access the Hasselblad Xpan Mode in the OnePlus Camera app > swipe up (or left depending on how you’re holding the phone) to open the modes menu > select XPAN. Once you are in the Hasselblad Xpan Mode interface, you can change focal lengths and choose between colour or black and white modes. That’s all, no further settings are available at this stage.

From what I have been able to experience with the Hasselblad Xpan Mode on the OnePlus 9 Pro specifically, a lot of thought has definitely gone into trying to recreate the experience of the simpler times while taking full advantage of the extremely capable camera hardware that’s available on the OnePlus 9 series phones. In both focal length photos, the details that come through are pristine. That’s where the 20-megapixel crops help, with more pixels presenting finer details you’d otherwise not get with a 12-megapixel photo. Mind you, when you are using the Hasselblad Xpan Mode, you’re also a bit more careful with the panning and framing as well as that extra second you take to ensure a good photo.

OnePlus 9 Hasselblad Xpan Mode
OnePlus 9 Hasselblad Xpan Mode

In the different focal lengths capturing the plants against a brick wall and the sky in the background, the realism of colours, how the shadow areas are well distinguished and the outline of the cloud in the sky come through really well. Photos uploaded on this website, and the image size limitations that are in place, you may not be able to see exactly the finer details as you’d on an original size image. In the Hasselblad Xpan Mode photos of the plants, the black and white mode completely changes the sense of place—it looks more like a winter morning shot, than the bright summer’s day that the colour version of the same photo replicates. I am particularly impressed by the shot of the late evening sky, and how every ripple in the clouds are replicated with pristine brilliance—and mind you, there’s inconsistent lighting to contend with as well as a light source looking at the camera. And you get the sense the sun is going down for the day, with the way the trees look.

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