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OnePlus 8 Pro's color filter camera is now almost useless indoors

OnePlus (and our own testing) confirmed that the OnePlus 8 Pro's color filter camera still works. In the right conditions.

Published onJuly 8, 2020

OnePlus 8 Pro Color Filter Camera
  • OnePlus has tweaked the behavior of the OnePlus 8 Pro color filter camera.
  • The phone now combines data from the special camera and main camera.
  • The effect isn’t as strong in mixed lighting though.

The OnePlus 8 Pro’s color filter camera is one of the more gimmicky features we’ve seen in recent times, shooting low-resolution images with grey and copper colors.

Unfortunately, OnePlus had to temporarily disable the camera due to its ability to see through certain materials (i.e. thin plastics and certain articles of clothing). The feature returned to the OnePlus 8 Pro with the Oxygen OS 10.5.10 update. As first reported by XDA-Developers, some users claimed the updated Photocrom mode no longer uses the color filter camera.

Read: OnePlus 8 Pro review — What the OnePlus 7T Pro should’ve been

Now, OnePlus has told Android Authority that this isn’t actually the case and it’s still using the color filter camera to create these effects. “The updated Photochrom filter uses data about the lighting conditions collected by the Color Filter camera to generate photos with the main camera,” the firm noted in its response.

Our own testing does indeed confirm that the color filter camera is still being used to generate the effect. It just requires plenty of light to actually get the desired result. “For better effects, try shooting outdoors under bright conditions,” reads a message when in the Photochrom mode.

OnePlus 8 Pro New Color Filter Toast

Our testing shows that the Photochrom effect is practically gone when not in direct sunlight. This suggests that the color filter camera is still being used in conjunction with the main camera in mixed lighting, but that the effect simply isn’t as strong.

Evidence of OnePlus using the color filter camera can be seen in our comparison below, which shows a shot taken without covering the special camera (L) and one while covering the camera (R).

Images shot in less than ideal lighting definitely don’t look as striking as the original implementation. In fact, you’d think that this was simply taken with standard camera, with no additional software tweaks. Check out these shots below, with the original shot on the left and the updated mode on the right.

The shots seen below also highlight the difference before and after the update. The original shot (L) gives the phone screen, plant, and even the trees in the background an otherworldy hue that just isn’t present in the other shot.

What happens if you cover the color filter camera while indoors though? Well, you can make out slight color differences between the blocked image (L) and the unblocked picture, lending credence to this effect not simply being an on/off switch.

It’s clear to see then that the OnePlus 8 Pro color filter camera is still working after the Oxygen OS 10.5.10 update. However, you’ll likely need to go outdoors to get the best results. But combining data from the special camera with the main camera definitely seems like the way to go, owing to the superior detail captured by the 48MP shooter.

Have you noticed this change on your phone? Let us know below.

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