After some users expressed concerns that the OnePlus 8 Pro’s Photochrom camera filter could pose privacy issues, OnePlus announced that it will temporarily disable the filter while it figures out a way to address the situation.
The latest announcement from OnePlus was posted on Weibo following last week’s discovery that in somewhat specific circumstances, because of the way the OP8 Pro’s Photochrom color filter processes infrared light, it could be used to see through the outer later of certain electronics, or possibly even thin layers of clothing.
That said, after exploring the issue more in depth last week, I found that anyone worried about people using the OP8 Pro to spy or take creepy shots of others shouldn’t be all that concerned. Even in the best-case scenario, while the OP8 Pro’s Photochrom can reveal some additional details hidden behind thin clothing, the overall effect isn’t significantly different than what can be achieved with a bright camera flash, and in many typical everyday situations, the OP8 Pro’s color filter doesn’t reveal anything at all.
On the flip side, when taking pictures of electronics with tinted or smoky plastic, the OP8's color filter does allow users to see through exterior cases and housings, potentially revealing the components inside. But that generally only applies to gadgets, not people.
Still, temporarily disabling the filter while OnePlus investigates the situation more thoroughly is the prudent move. OnePlus says it hopes to re-enable the color filter sometime in the future after any privacy concerns have been addressed. The one wrinkle is that because the announcement was made on Weibo, it’s unclear how devices sold in other regions like the U.S. may be affected.
Gizmodo has reached out to OnePlus’ U.S. team for more information, we will update the story if we hear back.