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Tilt Shift: We tested the OnePlus 9 Pro's new photo mode

The Tilt Shift effect in the OnePlus 9 Pro needs a bit of practice, but it can then create nice miniature effects and guide the viewer's focus.
The Tilt Shift effect in the OnePlus 9 Pro needs a bit of practice, but it can then create nice miniature effects and guide the viewer's focus.
Not only has the camera of the OnePlus 9 series been optimized in cooperation with Hasselblad, but a new mode has also been added: Tilt Shift. We took a look at what you can do with it.
Florian Schmitt (translated by Stephanie Chamberlain), 🇩🇪
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Professional photographers have been familiar with Tilt Shift for a long time. Initially, it involved special lenses that could be used to straighten building contours in architectural photography. But it quickly became clear that there was also great creative potential in Tilt Shift photography: With the right subject and a viewing angle from above, sceneries suddenly look like miniature worlds due to the visual characteristics of our eyes.

Especially in recent years, Tilt Shift photography has experienced a boom because the effects can now be emulated even more precisely with image-editing software.

Smartphone manufacturer OnePlus now wants to offer its users the possibility to capture Tilt Shift effects directly with their smartphone. There's a special mode for this in the OnePlus 9 Pro and OnePlus 9, and we decided to give it a try.

In contrast to the rather complicated lens technology in SLR or system cameras, Tilt Shift photography works with a relatively simple filter on a smartphone: The top and bottom areas of the picture are simply put out of focus, while the middle remains sharp. The intensity of the blur can be adjusted relatively smoothly, and the camera's color filters can be combined with the effect, so that you can take Tilt Shift photos in black and white, for example.

Tilt Shift effect at 100% with a black-and-white filter.
Tilt Shift effect at 100% with a black-and-white filter.

It's actually quite difficult to find a suitable subject, especially since large gatherings of people aren't possible at the time of testing due to the Corona pandemic, but these work particularly well for Tilt Shift shots.

The classic Tilt Shift picture is taken from an elevated point of view, and you can actually achieve quite passable effects here if you zoom in before the photo is taken. The effect is lost much faster in panorama shots.

However, photos of objects often look more interesting even without the miniature effect, and individual parts of the image can also be highlighted well with the help of the blur effect. The blurring is actually even stronger than in Portrait Mode, where everything on that's on the same level as the main subject is brought into focus. With Tilt Shift mode, you can guide the viewer's attention even further.

However, the technique is of little use for close-ups, especially if there are areas in the lower or upper part of the image that are relatively of the same color; the blur effect is lost in these cases. A little help is provided here by setting the effect to a very strong intensity.

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Tilt Shift photo
Tilt Shift photo
Portrait Mode photo
Portrait Mode photo
Tilt Shift photo
Tilt Shift photo
Tilt Shift photo
Normal photo
Tilt Shift photo
Close-up of an object

It takes some practice to achieve good results with Tilt Shift mode. This could lead to frustration for amateur photographers at first, but if you enjoy experimenting, Tilt Shift gives you another way to let off some creative steam. The adjustment options are more limited than with digital post-processing, but with the right subject, it can produce some pretty nice effects.

Here are a few tips if you want to try Tilt Shift mode for yourself:

  • Make sure that the upper and lower sections of the image don't contain too many areas of the same color, such as in the case of the sky, since the blur effect isn't noticeable enough to the eye there.
  • A top-down viewing angle emphasizes the model nature of the scene, because our brains are used to looking at models from this perspective.
  • The subject should be relatively far away, and you should zoom in to take the shot.
  • Large crowds of people look especially good when a large part of them disappears in the blur.

If you want to learn more about the camera technology in the OnePlus 9 Pro and OnePlus 9, we recommend our reviews, which will be online soon.

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Florian Schmitt
Editor of the original article: Florian Schmitt - Managing Editor Mobile - 851 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2009
I initially wrote about gaming laptops when I joined Notebookcheck in 2009. I was then involved with the setup of the comparison portal Notebookinfo and worked with social media concepts for large companies like BMW and Adidas, while also returning to work for Notebookcheck in 2012. Nowadays, I focus on smartphones, tablets, and future technologies. Since 2018 I have been Managing Editor for mobile device reviews, working alongside my colleague Daniel Schmidt.
contact me via: @FloSchmi26, LinkedIn, Xing
Stephanie Chamberlain
Translator: Stephanie Chamberlain - Translator - 299 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2020
I've been fascinated with technology ever since I got my very first Android smartphone, which was quite a while ago. The power packed into such a small footprint still amazes me. Learning to program made my understanding of technology deeper, and at the same time, it expanded my interest to the area of desktop computers and laptops. All this led me to enjoy reading and watching reviews of new devices, and that's how I stumbled upon Notebookcheck. I immediately found their reviews to be very comprehensive, and luckily, I've even had the chance of translating them since 2019. When it comes to the huge field of technology, I'm currently also interested in specializing in Java programming.
contact me via: LinkedIn
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Tilt Shift: We tested the OnePlus 9 Pro's new photo mode
Florian Schmitt, 2021-04- 1 (Update: 2021-04- 1)