OnePlus 9 Pro renders suggest it could see a significant camera downgrade

OnePlus 8 Pro
OnePlus 8 Pro (Image credit: Future)

We've started seeing OnePlus 9 renders leaked ahead of the phone's release, and the latest images we've seen suggest the Pro version of the handset might bring something of a camera downgrade compared to the OnePlus 8 Pro.

LetsGoDigital has just published new OnePlus 9 Pro renders, based on various leaked details about the phone. These are slightly updated images compared to earlier OnePlus 9 Pro renders we've seen, although the differences are limited (read: almost indiscernible).

These images show a phone with a similar screen to the 8 Pro, which is curved at the edges and has a 'punch-hole' selfie camera cutout in the exact same position as before. The button positions, with the volume rocker on the left edge of the handset and the power button and alert slide on the right, are the same as on prior handsets from the company.

The main difference between these OnePlus 9 Pro renders and earlier ones, and between what these images show and the 8 Pro, is in the camera department. While the OnePlus 8 Pro has a camera bump that's central on the rear of the phone, the renders suggest that on the 9 Pro the block will be at the top-left, and also show the camera module being bigger and thicker than in previous images.

OnePlus 9 Pro camera downgrade

Looking at the new OnePlus 9 Pro renders, we can see four cameras. Two have large lenses, which could be a main camera and a telephoto or ultra-wide snapper, and two have smaller lenses, which could be macro, time-of-flight (ToF), depth-sensing or monochromatic cameras.

It's worth noting that the OnePlus 8 Pro had both telephoto and ultra-wide cameras, but this render implies there will only be one or the other of those in the 9 Pro, alongside the main snapper – telephoto, ultra-wide and wide (used in 'main' cameras) lenses all tend to be relatively large, and this render only shows two that look big enough.

LetsGoDigital seems to think the 9 Pro will have improved zoom capability over its predecessor, so one of the lenses we can see could be a telephoto one, implying perhaps that the ultra-wide shooter is missing – or maybe OnePlus has decided to drop the main camera and utilize the ultra-wide one for 'standard' pictures.

As for the smaller lenses, OnePlus could be kitting out the 9 Pro with some of the auxiliary lenses of the OnePlus 8, like its macro snapper. However, in our review we didn't find that camera terribly useful, certainly no more so than the macro mode of older OnePlus phones, which used the ultra-wide camera.

This leaked render suggests that OnePlus is forgoing the typical 'main + telephoto + ultra-wide' combo many smartphones use to offer robust photography potential, so we'll have to see what the brand decides to do here. It's also possible, of course, that this leaked image isn't accurate.

We're expecting to see the OnePlus 9 Pro in the first few months of 2021, alongside the non-Pro version (and maybe a OnePlus 9E too), and we'll need to wait until then to know for sure about the phone. Stay tuned for more leaks and rumors in the meantime.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist.