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OnePlus will temporarily disable ‘X-ray’ camera filter that sees through plastic and clothes

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OnePlus will temporarily disable a camera filter on the OnePlus 8 Pro after users discovered they could use it to see through certain plastics and clothes. Although the company has stressed that the “Photochrom” filter cannot see through thick materials, it apologized for “creating privacy concerns and causing troubles for OnePlus users and other netizens,” Abacus News reports. OnePlus announced the move in a statement on its Weibo page.

The OnePlus 8 Pro was released back in April, but it wasn’t until last week that people started paying serious attention to what its camera was capable of. On Twitter, Ben Geskin demonstrated how the filter can be used to see through the Apple TV’s black plastic housing, while Unbox Therapy observed that it could even see through an (admittedly thin) black T-shirt.

The filter seems to work by capturing infrared light that’s otherwise invisible to the naked eye. There are many professional uses for cameras that can see infrared light, like letting firefighters see through smoke, but it’s less common to see it on a consumer device like a smartphone.

When the OnePlus 8 Pro was first announced, the Photochrom mode appeared to be little more than an artistic color filter. While it produces some interesting results when photographing trees and plants, we thought it was an unnecessary inclusion overall in our review. “It is silly, low-resolution, and not much better than applying a heavy-handed effect in post. I don’t know why it’s there, and likely neither will you,” was our assessment.

OnePlus’s Chinese-language Weibo post notes that the filter will be temporarily disabled by an update within a week, according to Abacus News’ English translation, but it’s unclear exactly what the company plans to change before bringing it back. OnePlus did not immediately respond to a request for comment.