Apple’s new ProRAW image format will capture 12-bit Raw DNG files

Apple has released the iOS 14.3 developer beta which, amongst other improvements, includes the new ProRAW photo feature Apple showed off at its virtual iPhone event last month.

Until now, not much was known about the ProRAW workflow and what type of file the latest iPhone 12 Pro devices would output. We now know, thanks to the iOS 14.3 developer beta, that a ProRaw file will be a 12-bit Raw image captured as a digital negative (DNG) file. The file will offer up to 14 stops of dynamic range, according to a report from PetaPixel, and offers the usual post-production adjustments we’ve come to expect from Raw files: white balance, exposure, black point, tone mapping and more.

Turning on ProRAW in iOS on the new iPhone 12 Pro devices is done by toggling it on in the Settings app. As with HDR and Live Photos, images captured as a ProRAW file will have a ‘RAW’ badge displayed alongside it to distinguish it from other images. It’s worth noting though that the image shown in the Photos app is simply a JPEG conversion of the Raw photo, akin to how Raw photos you view on your camera’s displays is actually a JPEG preview. You will only see the Raw image when it’s imported into a compatible post-production app for editing.

Speaking of editing, the DNG file should be compatible with any app that accepts DNG files, but it might take some time for all apps to integrate specific profiles for getting the most from the ProRAW format. The DNG files stored to the iOS Camera Roll can either be edited directly on your mobile device and exported as a JPEG from there or be saved and exported to your computer for editing in apps like Lightroom, Affinity Photo, Capture One and others.

Co-founder and designer for pro camera app Halide, Sebastiaan de With, points out that ProRAW works on the wide, telephoto and ultrawide camera modules and is also compatible with Night Mode shots (no luck with Portrait mode shots or Live Photos). He’s also discovered ProRAW images come in at roughly 24–28MB, which is quite large considering that’s the size of most DSLR and mirrorless Raw files.

No API is available at this time for ProRAW capture, so even if it does become available in the future, it might take some time to see ProRAW capture enabled in third-party apps.

Apple’s new ProRAW format is limited to its new iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max devices, so unless you’re planning on upgrading to the new flagship iOS devices, you won’t be seeing this new capture mode. For those of you who already have a compatible iPhone, there’s no information on when iOS 14.3 will be publicly available, so you’ll still need a little more patience.

Apple has released the iOS 14.3 developer beta which, amongst other improvements, includes the new ProRAW photo feature Apple showed off at its virtual iPhone event last month.
Until now, not much was known about the ProRAW workflow and what type of file the latest iPhone 12 Pro devices would output. We now know, thanks to the iOS 14.3 developer beta, that a ProRaw file will be a 12-bit Raw image captured as a digital negative (DNG) file. The file will offer up to 14 stops of dynamic range, according to a report from PetaPixel, and offers the usual post-production adjustments we’ve come to expect from Raw files: white balance, exposure, black point, tone mapping and more.

Turning on ProRAW in iOS on the new iPhone 12 Pro devices is done by toggling it on in the Settings app. As with HDR and Live Photos, images captured as a ProRAW file will have a ‘RAW’ badge displayed alongside it to distinguish it from other images. It’s worth noting though that the image shown in the Photos app is simply a JPEG conversion of the Raw photo, akin to how Raw photos you view on your camera’s displays is actually a JPEG preview. You will only see the Raw image when it’s imported into a compatible post-production app for editing.

Scoop: Looks like the pulled iOS 14.3 beta has Apple ProRAW support. It’s a 12-bit Linear DNG with files coming in at about 25 MB. Thanks @MattF_NorCal! pic.twitter.com/hG6GHz9SVe
— Halide (@halidecamera) November 12, 2020

Speaking of editing, the DNG file should be compatible with any app that accepts DNG files, but it might take some time for all apps to integrate specific profiles for getting the most from the ProRAW format. The DNG files stored to the iOS Camera Roll can either be edited directly on your mobile device and exported as a JPEG from there or be saved and exported to your computer for editing in apps like Lightroom, Affinity Photo, Capture One and others.

ProRAW works on the wide (1x) and telephoto (2x) lenses. No API yet, but out of the box noise reduction is a bit aggressive. Note that @halidecamera RAWs have no noise reduction, so you can see that ProRAW loses some details in the leaf here. Halide RAW/ProRAW, 1x and 2x. pic.twitter.com/I7QZfTssAe
— Sebastiaan de With (@sdw) November 13, 2020

Co-founder and designer for pro camera app Halide, Sebastiaan de With, points out that ProRAW works on the wide, telephoto and ultrawide camera modules and is also compatible with Night Mode shots (no luck with Portrait mode shots or Live Photos). He’s also discovered ProRAW images come in at roughly 24–28MB, which is quite large considering that’s the size of most DSLR and mirrorless Raw files.
No API is available at this time for ProRAW capture, so even if it does become available in the future, it might take some time to see ProRAW capture enabled in third-party apps.

Dreams do come true: ProRAW brings RAW to the ultra-wide lens, too. That includes ultra-wide Night Mode shots! They’re not very… RAW. Very processsed (clearly lens corrected and noise reduced).ProRAW shots, unedited, and a quick edit: pic.twitter.com/Sh0dusibuK
— Sebastiaan de With (@sdw) November 13, 2020

Apple’s new ProRAW format is limited to its new iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max devices, so unless you’re planning on upgrading to the new flagship iOS devices, you won’t be seeing this new capture mode. For those of you who already have a compatible iPhone, there’s no information on when iOS 14.3 will be publicly available, so you’ll still need a little more patience.Read MoreArticles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

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