OnePlus 10 Pro’s Cameras Might Not Be Good Enough to Compete With Google

OnePlus 10 Pro’s Cameras Might Not Be Good Enough to Compete With Google

After announcing the OnePlus 10 Pro earlier this week, OnePlus has been slowly dribbling out more details about its upcoming flagship phone. Now we know what the OP10 Pro’s rear cameras have to offer, and we’re a little underwhelmed.

After revealing the design of the OnePlus 10 Pro on Monday, OnePlus then announced the phone’s specs, which include a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, 120Hz Fluid AMOLED display, 80-watt wired charging, 50-watt wireless charging, a new haptics motor, and dual stereo speakers among them. So far, pretty standard.

We already knew the OP10 Pro would have a 50-MP main cam, but today OnePlus is teasing some of the phone’s new camera modes and features. Some of them look promising, but also somewhat underwhelming given the competition.

As part of OnePlus’ ongoing partnership with camera maker Hasselblad, the company is adding a feature to the OnePlus 10 Pro that it calls a Billion Colour Solution, which works with Hasselblad’s Natural Colour Calibration so that the phone can shoot photos with full 10-bit colour. OnePlus claims this increase in colour processing allows the OP10 Pro to capture 64 times more colours than last year’s OnePlus 9 Pro, while also removing distracting elements like colour banding from photos. 

Here's a sample photo courtesy of OnePlus taken using its new Billion Colour processing (Image: OnePlus)
Here’s a sample photo courtesy of OnePlus taken using its new Billion Colour processing (Image: OnePlus)

With Hasselblad’s second-gen Pro Mode, the OP10 Pro can also capture RAW photos in 12-bit colour. A new RAW+ setting gives photographers greater control over their digital negatives, including data used for computational photography. This gives users the freedom to tweak and edit photos, which has become increasingly difficult with modern-day computational photography effects sometimes applied to RAW files with a user’s knowledge.

The OnePlus 10 Pro’s third big camera upgrade is a new 150-degree ultra-wide-angle lens, which OnePlus says is four times wider than the typical smartphone’s wide-angle lens. The 10 Pro is also adding a new fish-eye recording mode and a more traditional 110-degree wide-angle setting for times when you only need a slightly more expansive field of view compared to the phone’s main cam.

And here's another photo sample from the OP10 Pro.  (Photo: OnePlus)
And here’s another photo sample from the OP10 Pro. (Photo: OnePlus)

Finally, a new movie mode will give users greater control over ISO, shutter speed, and other manual settings during capture, along with support for a LOG format for enhanced editing in post.

All of these upgrades seem pretty good, right? But for a company that needs to compete with the cameras on phones from Apple, Google, and Samsung, I’m not sure it’s enough. Google is already way ahead when it comes to computational photography — see the Pixel 6’s advanced features like automatic Face Unblur, a Magic Eraser tool, and a long exposure mode, not to mention existing features like Super Res Zoom and more.

And maybe the cameras will absolutely blow us away. But there’s little context about the rest of the phone, the details of which have been dragged out over the course of a week, and the OnePlus 10 Pro doesn’t officially launch until Jan. 10 — and only in China. There’s still no official timeframe for launch in the U.S. or other regions.

And here's a sample taken using the OP10 Pro's 150-degree ultra-wide camera. (Image: OnePlus)
And here’s a sample taken using the OP10 Pro’s 150-degree ultra-wide camera. (Image: OnePlus)

Then there are some confusing elements, like the P2D 45 T label OnePlus stamped on the OP10 Pro’s camera module. The “2D” stands for second-generation Hasselblad camera, while the “45 T” denotes the phone’s 50-MP main sensor and triple camera array. Really? That’s some rather silly branding for relatively mundane specs, which makes it feel like OnePlus’ other camera features may end up being way less cool than the company is making them sound.

OnePlus wants — and needs — to make a phone that can hold its own against the latest Pixel, Galaxy, or iPhone, but the endless hype and needlessly dragged out reveal of the OnePlus 10 Pro feels extremely extra. Sure, the sample images OnePlus has provided look good, but the real proof is how the camera performs in the wild — and for OnePlus’s sake, we need to get a closer look sooner rather than later.