Join Seán Duggan for an in-depth discussion in this video Apps for shooting in Raw, part of Mobile Photography Weekly.
- Hey everybody, Sean here. And this week we're going to take a look at raw capture on both Android devices and IOS devices. So raw files are the raw information that the camera sensor captures when you take a picture. Normally what happens is that raw information is handed off an processed into a JPEG file and then saved to your camera roll or your album. So the advantage of actually being able to shoot in raw is that you are being able to save all of that raw information which gives you a lot more flexibility in terms of processing the file, especially if the image is lacking in some way.
Maybe it's severely underexposed and needs to kind of be salvaged or rescued a little bit, maybe it's overexposed, whatever. Being able to work with a raw file is going to give you a lot more options than working from a JPEG file. So we're going to start off by taking a look at a couple of raw camera apps, or camera apps that allow you to shoot in raw on the Android platform. And you've been able to capture raw files on Android for awhile now, depending on what type of Android phone you have. It wasn't available on all Android phones.
But the first camera app I want to look at here is the native camera app in this Samsung Galaxy S7. And I'm just going to tap on that to go into that. And to make sure I'm shooting in raw, or have the ability to shoot in raw, I'm going to come to the mode menu. And I'm going to activate the Pro mode. And then once I'm in Pro mode I'll come up to the settings, this little gear up here. And then once I'm in settings I can scroll down here and there's the option there to save as a raw file.
So I'll just turn that on. Now depending on the camera app you're using, some camera apps will just shoot the raw file.. A lot of them, however, will shoot a raw plus JPEG pair, so you have both the raw and the JPEG. And right here it tells us that in this particular system here, that a special viewer app is going to be required to actually view the pictures that are saved as raw files. I'll just go back to the camera here. And now that I have this set up here, I can just take a picture and it's going to be capturing a raw plus a JPEG file.
Let's go out to the home screen here. Another app that I like on the Android side that allows me to capture in raw is called Camera FV5. And the thing that I like about this app is that it just offers a lot of great controls similar to what you might find on a DSLR camera in terms of being able to manually control and influence the exposure. And to set this up to capture in raw, I'm going to come up to the settings menu.
And then down here to the image photo encoding settings. And you can see right here, it says Enable DNG raw capture. So DNG stands for digital negative and it is an open-source raw format developed by Adobe several years ago. And these days it pretty much is the defacto standard for raw capture on smartphones. All right, then I'm going to come back out of here and then I could just take that shot. So let's move on to the iPhone side of the equation here.
And take a look at the options we have for raw processing on IOS. Now the irony of IOS 10 is that this is the first IOS operating system that does support raw capture. But there's really nothing inherent in the camera app or the photos app in IOS that allows you to work with raw files. You cannot capture raw files using the native camera app on IOS. And you cannot process raw files using the photos app.
The underlying architecture of IOS 10 is what allows other developers to create apps that allow you to capture in raw. Now the app that I like to use most often to capture in raw on my iPhone is Lightroom mobile. So let's go into Lightroom mobile here. And the cool thing about Lightroom mobile is that it syncs up with my Lightroom catalog back at my home computer. So I can capture a shot here and then make changes to it here on my phone, and those changes are then going to be reflected back to the version of the images on my home computer.
So let me just exit out of here so you can see what this would look like if I was just in the normal part of the app here. I would get into the camera part of it just by tapping the camera button down there. And then up at the top here is a button where you can change the format between JPEG or DNG. I'm just going to leave that set to DNG there. And I have the ability to adjust the exposure a little bit if I want to. And just go ahead and take that shot. And again, if I choose to modify it here in Lightroom mobile those changes are going to sync with my image catalog back home.
All right, let's go and look at one other app here for this. This is called Pro Camera. So in Pro Camera I can change the image format that I'm shooting in just by tapping the menu here in the lower right. And here you can see there's a little file format icon. Right now it's set to TIF. I can set this to JPEG or, of course, raw. So very, very easy to change. And another cool thing about Pro Camera is that it allows me to shoot in raw plus JPEG.
So I can either choose to work with the raw file or, if I don't need to, I can use the JPEG. So whether or not you choose to shoot in raw for your own mobile photography really just depends on the type of images you're shooting and how much editing and processing control you need over those files. I certainly wouldn't recommend raw for all of your mobile photography shots simply because the raw image size is so much larger. Or, rather, the file size is so much larger than a JPEG. But for some situations where you need to have that extra bit of control or where it's a tricky lighting situation, it definitely is going to be advantageous to be able to capture a raw file on your smartphone.
And you're going to be able to process that and get a lot more out of the image.