Apple’s Apple 12 iPhone promises some serious photography capabilities on both the predecessor and on the standard iPhone 12. And with that upgrade begins Apple ProRAW’s debut.
This new imaging format is designed to tap into the upgraded triple rear camera array on both the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, which also features a LiDAR sensor to gather more image information.
Smartphones have been able to shoot in RAW format for a while now, but this custom Apple format could start a new way to shoot data rich in data while also tapping into powerful processing Apple image. Here̵7;s what you need to know about Apple ProRAW.
What is ProRAW?
When you snap a RAW image on either a smartphone or DSLR, it captures a completely uncompressed image. These files are usually larger than the standard JPEG images that many DSLRs and phones capture by default.
These uncompressed images are larger in file size thanks to capturing more image data, meaning there is more scope to edit them after you capture them. Professional photographers tend to shoot in RAW format so that they can manipulate images using photo editing software such as Photoshop and then process them into images that are suitable for viewing. in a digital or physical format.
However, shooting in RAW means that all computational photography smartphones that apply to camera shots do not apply to the captured image. This means to get features like advanced HDR image processing, you need to shoot in a processed image format, such as JPEG, and thus lose the ability to deeply manipulate images in editing software.
Basically, RAW or JPEG formats require some sort of compromise on either the convenience or depth of editing. But Apple’s ProRAW format aims to eliminate those compromises.
ProRAW, in short, will get RAW images but will apply some image processing above. This includes integrating frames from multiple cameras captured by the iPhone 12 Pro’s cameras, using Apple’s Deep Fusion and Smart HDR tech, or applying noise reduction. But it will still leave some room for editing things like color, exposure and contrast at the same depth that can have RAW format.
Think of it this way: making a finished image from RAW is like cooking food from scratch, with the preparation of all the ingredients. JPEG images on the other hand are the cooked food. So using this analogy, ProRAW is like cooking food, only you have all the ingredients measured and ready to use. Effectively, ProRAW provides base processing on an image for people who can easily edit the final photos.
What are the advantages of ProRAW?
You can think of ProRAW as an aid in your photo editing. Sorting things like white balance and using Smart HDR 3 to select details and texture in RAW shots, provides a better foundation image for people then formed in editing.
Doing so will avoid the sometimes daunting process of editing RAW photos from scratch, which is probably why Apple has not offered to shoot RAW on its iPhones until now. Without any processing, RAW images can look pretty flat and frustrating and can be a challenge for people with no photo manipulation experience to tweak to their liking.
So ProRAW will take care of the difficult parts of getting an image in shape for more refined editing, and leave the finer and artistic adjustments to manual editing. Calling this ProRAW can be a mistake because it is more than a tool for people who have not used or manipulated RAW images.
That being said, for professional photographers or experienced photography enthusiasts having a shot at an iPhone 12 Pro instead of a DSLR, ProRAW can speed up the time it takes to produce a finished photo from a shot at RAW.
Is ProRAW the future of photography?
Smartphone development is so good that even mid-range phones can get amazing photos. But they still cannot compete with DSLR cameras in terms of the accuracy and quality of the photos. And ProRAW will not change that.
But it can be seen as a smooth development of smartphone photography where people are given the tools to get into deeper image manipulation but also supported by powerful computation photography.
We’ve even tried the iPhone 12 Pro on ProRAW, but it’s definitely an interesting feature we’d like to try. And if it proves to be a powerful tool for getting better smartphone camera shots, we can expect other smartphone makers like Samsung, Sony, and OnePlus to make their own take on ProRAW .
With ProRAW, the iPhone 12 can raise the smartphone photography bar. That means that upcoming phones like the Samsung Galaxy S21 really need to turn up their camera game by 2021.