Hasselblad has had a storied history in the camera business. Even today, they’re making some impressive cameras, such as the medium-format X1D II.
And then there’s the Hasselblad cell phone camera? Well, not quite. It’s the soon-to-released OnePlus 9, which has a camera that has been “co-developed” by Hasselblad. But what does that actually mean?
Tech YouTuber Dave Lee breaks down what that really means in a video that takes a hard look at the hardware and software powering the new camera in the phone.
At its core, the sensor is actually manufactured by Sony, and while the lens does a really good job of fixing distortion, especially at the wide angles, according to Lee, where the Hasselblad name really comes in is the “color science.” And that seems to be about it.
At the sound of that, this $150 million partnership between the two companies starts to sound like that time Hasselblad rebranded some Sony cameras by slapping some wood on them and calling them silly names such as “Stellar” and “Lunar.”
The press release from OnePlus doesn’t state much more either. It talks about a “Hasselblad Pro Mode” that lets you control things such as ISO, focus, exposure, white balance, and other settings, but that’s not a feature unique to OnePlus. Many Android phones have this feature built-in, and it’s a cheap app away on an iPhone.
Beyond that, the partnership will call for “color tuning” and “sensor calibration” over the next three years that will benefit all OnePlus phones going forward. That’s great and all, but I’m not sure that anyone really had any problems with the colors of existing iPhones and Pixels, but I suppose that since JPEG files are the primary mode of shooting on phones, this could be a benefit.
It’s sad to see Hasselblad lose their way a bit here. Putting the historic name on a camera phone without any real hardware from the company in there to speak of seems disingenuous. It’s like the way Polaroid or Kodak seems to slap their names on any product that a company will pay them for.
What do you think of a Hasselblad in a smartphone? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.